This report provides an overview of the literature on the relationship between peacebuilding and economic recovery and growth in fragile and conflict affected states, with particular emphasis on the Asia-Pacific context. The majority of the conflicts occurring in the Asia-Pacific region take place at the sub-national level. There is evidence to suggest that while many of the affected countries receive development assistance from key donors, this assistance tends to occur at the national level rather than targeting conflict-affected areas directly. Peacebuilding approaches tend to focus on reforms in the security sector and on political reform and governance initiatives rather than focusing on economic recovery and growth.
The literature reflects a range of divergent viewpoints on the relationship between peacebuilding and economic growth, both generally, and in the Asia-Pacific context. Key findings are:
- Economic growth can divert attention away from the grievances that caused conflict (Portland Trust, 2007).
- Aid has no immediate impact on growth in post-conflict and fragile settings but it does contribute to growth in the post-conflict decade (Hoeffler et al, 2010).
- Programmes promoting economic recovery and growth should not be implemented in countries still experiencing violence (OECD, 2010; Hoeffler et al, 2010).
- Both short-term and long-term strategies for economic recovery and growth can have stabilising effects (de Vries and Specker, 2009).
- Focusing on economic recovery and growth during peacebuilding does not necessarily contribute to peace and stability, as growth can exacerbate tensions between groups in fragile and conflict-affected settings (Parks et al, 2010; Burke, 2013a).
- Economic incentives should not be seen as an alternative to political processes (Goodhand, 2010).
- Economic recovery is difficult to operationalize in fragile settings (de Vries and Specker, 2009).