Needs vs expediency: Poverty reduction and social development in post-conflict countries

Conflict depletes all forms of human and social capital, as well as supporting institutions. The scale of the human damage can overwhelm public action, as there are many competing priorities and resources are often insufficient.

What then should be the priorities for ‘post-conflict’ policy? Should it give, for example, higher priority to health or to livelihoods in allocating the resources available (financial, human, and institutional)? Should social protection be the main focus of effort and, if so, what form should it take? If trying to do everything amounts to doing nothing, then what should be the priorities over time, that guide the sequence of actions?

This paper explores the issues—the opportunities but also the possible tensions—including those around the need to strengthen and sustain peace itself.