Relief and Reconstruction: The Politics of Humanitarian and Development Assistance

Simon Chesterman

in You, The People: The United Nations, Transitional Administration, and State-Building

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780199263486
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191600999 | DOI:
Relief and Reconstruction: The Politics of Humanitarian and Development Assistance

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If a peace settlement mediated in part through a transitional administration is to work, it is necessary that disparate parties ‘buy into’ the peace process. This, like ‘ownership’, is generally meant metaphorically, but it should also be understood literally: unless the new regime is seen to encourage economic activity and provide basic public goods, any such settlement is likely to be short‐lived. This chapter deals with the role of external actors in providing emergency humanitarian and medium‐term development assistance to a population living under a transitional administration. Such assistance is notoriously supply—rather than demand—driven, with the result that it is more responsive to the politics of donors than that of recipients. Together with the perverse economic effects that a sudden influx of foreign capital and personnel may have, these factors can undermine the short‐term political stability and the medium‐term economic viability of the territory in question.

Keywords: development; humanitarian assistance; ownership; reconstruction; relief

Chapter.  8491 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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