There is very little evidence on the impact of stabilisation service delivery initiatives on producing a peace dividend, or providing the basis for longer-term sustainable reform.
Nevertheless, the most commonly cited potential benefits of service delivery in post-conflict environments are that visible delivery enhances state legitimacy, strengthens the social contract and hence, promotes state building. Delivery of services can also address underlying causes of conflict, i.e. social exclusion, and services such as health can be used as entry points for wider peace-building processes. Health interventions can also play a key role by:
- Offering tangible benefits
- Constituting a super-ordinate goal
- Evoking altruism
- Contributing to civic identity
- Contributing to human security
In stabilisation contexts, a particular challenge is how, given that the state often lacks the capacity to ensure reliable services, provision by external actors and donors can enhance state legitimacy and not weaken it. In such a case, ensuring that the state’s role in service delivery is clearly communicated is key. The long-term commitment of donors is also important.
Furthermore, given that the legitimacy of the state depends on much more than the delivery of services, it is often argued that stabilisation requires a multi-pronged and multi-layered approach.