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v8n1_09 - Where Theres a Will Theres a Way Untangling...

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The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way? Untangling Ownership and Political Will in Post-Conflict Stability and Reconstruction Operations by Derick W. Brinkerhoff H ow best to assist fragile and post-conflict states to improve conditions for their citizens and to establish the policies, institutions, and governance procedures that will lead to socio-economic development has constituted an enduring set of questions for international assistance agencies. These questions have taken on renewed urgency in todays world where concerns about transnational terrorism, intrastate conflict, and state failure have led to an intersection among the policy, research, and programmatic agendas of the international development, humanitarian, security, and diplomatic communities. The World Banks list of fragile states grew from seventeen to twenty-six during the years 2003 to 2006, confirming that the problem of addressing the needs of low-income countries affected by poor governance, persistent poverty, and weak economic growth is becoming ever more difficult and complex. 1 While definitions of fragile states vary, all concur that state fragility is directly related to capacity deficits. Fragile states have governments that are incapable of assuring basic security for their citizens, fail to provide basic services and economic opportunities, and are unable to garner sufficient legitimacy to maintain citizens confidence and trust. When these capacity deficits are large enough, states move toward failure, collapse, crisis, and conflict. In post-conflict countries, the recovery process—often supported by international donor assistance—involves rebuilding capacity and filling deficits, though backsliding is an ever-present risk. As Collier et al. note, countries that have experienced violent conflict face a 40 percent risk of renewed violence within five years. 2 Post-conflict capacity building, however, does not take place solely as a function of outside intervention and assistance. Capacity development is fundamentally an endogenous process that engages not just the abilities and skills, but the motivation, support, and aspirations of people within a country. 3 The labels assigned to the latter Derick W. Brinkerhoff is Senior Fellow in International Public Management with Research Triangle Institute (RTI International), and he has a faculty associate appointment at George Washington Universitys School of Public Policy and Public Administration. His current fieldwork and research interests focus on democracy and governance in fragile and post-conflict states, decentralization, and capacity building. 111
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BRINKERHOFF The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations are ownership and/or political will. Todays consensus states that successful development and post-conflict reconstruction assistance is country-led and country- owned.
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