8.9 Trade-offs
8.9.1 Rapid and effective delivery of essential services vs. legitimacy for nascent government institutions. International actors may be the only ones capable of providing essential services to the population in the early stages of recovery. But having international actors provide critical services can sacrifice legitimacy for nascent government institutions, even though they lack the capacity to provide those services. Carefully balance urgency to deliver with the need to build local capacity.
8.9.2 Hiring host nation actors to assist international organizations vs. staffing domestic institutions. International organizations often attract some of the most educated and experienced host nation actors. While this temporarily boosts the economic well-being of those individuals and helps international organizations achieve their goals, it can also deprive domestic institutions and organizations of domestic talent that is badly needed.
8.9.3 Rapid service delivery and resource procurement vs. empowerment of spoilers or criminal elements. International humanitarian organizations and military forces spend vast sums of money on projects that can have a substantial political and economic impact. In the quest to provide rapid delivery of services, internationals or domestic government bodies may need to use or purchase resources from spoilers, which can inadvertently empower them and undermine the legitimacy of the state.
8.9.4 Responsible fiscal management vs. the need to provide immediate services. Under pressure to provide services, nascent governments may spend significant amounts of money that require robust oversight to ensure that the funds are properly spent. Fiscal management reform, however, can take years to build, and capacity will likely be weak. The government will have to carefully maneuver between the need for short-term results and the reform of public expenditure management.475
8.9.5 Early elections vs. maturation of politics and processes. Elections are necessary to provide representative governance and bestow legitimacy on a new government. Running the country for too long with government appointees can reduce domestic and international legitimacy for governance institutions. However, rushing to hold elections before the necessary conditions exist can undermine the political process and create barriers to future political development. Carefully balance the pressures to hold elections with the patience needed to do the job right.
8.9.6 Political appointments vs. meritocracy. Appointing warlords and other power brokers who played a role in violent conflict, but who may have no qualifications, is often a necessary step to facilitate an end to hostilities. Meritocratic appointments, conversely, offer opportunities to bring in qualified individuals to govern effectively based on talent and technical skills. One way to manage this trade-off is to limit the time period for political appointments during a transition phase after violent conflict ends and increase meritocratic appointments gradually.476
8.10 Gaps and Challenges
8.10.1 Making peace pay and civil service reform. The failure to adequately resource personnel budgets and pay service providers regularly and on time are recurring challenges in S&R environments. This shortfall has a direct impact on the legitimacy of the host nation government, corruption, and security, as warlords and other spoilers step into the vacuum. Reinstituting a government payroll with adequate donor assistance and oversight in the initial stages and a major reform and rebuilding effort to create an effective civil service are required.477
8.10.2 Subnational governance. Decentralizing governance by strengthening and empowering subnational institutions can have destabilizing effects, particularly when insecurity or threats to the central government persist and emanate from specific regions. The potential for spoilers to control local governments raises concerns for continued conflict. Address this challenge through greater accountability and oversight of subnational governance institutions, incremental steps toward decentralization, and choosing decentralization options based on local conditions.478
8.10.3 Security sector governance. Security sector reform tends to be focused on the vetting, training, and funding of the security forces, with less attention on the need for effective governance over the security sector. This has led to the misuse or theft of equipment and funds, corruption in the forces, and collusion of security forces with spoilers and opponents to the peace process. The need to focus on developing accountable and capable civilian government authorities, nurturing specific civil society involvement in oversight, and providing judicial checks on abuse could not be more necessary.479
8.10.4 Oversight and accountability. Government leaders and personnel may divert public funds for private use, accept bribes from spoilers in exchange for lucrative contracts, and engage in other forms of corruption. The absence of mechanisms for oversight and accountability poses serious governance problems for societies emerging from conflict. Oversight mechanisms should be implemented early and may include controllers and auditors within executive institutions and parliamentary or civil society commissions that work externally.480
8.10.5 Human capital for basic governance functions. Many war-torn societies face high levels of illiteracy and lack professional skills for governance due to inadequate education and training programs during prolonged conflict. In the face of this challenge, international donors provide direct technical assistance in the form of international personnel or turn to private contractors, NGOs, or informal providers on the local level. The costs for technical assistance absorb high percentages of central budgets, capacity for self-government remains weak, and ineffective administration for governance results. Investments in training and education across many professions should be a central priority.481
8.10.6 Democracy in societies emerging from conflict. The establishment of democracy after violent conflict has proven to be immensely challenging. Bad actors emerge under the cloak of democratic elections; traditional or informal sources of power assert control and challenge those legitimately elected to lead; and the demands and complexity of democratic systems overwhelm decimated states. The extraordinary difficulties may be overcome with time and resources and development of the foundation for sustainable democratic self-government.482
8.10.7 Transition from international to host nation actors. Immediately after large-scale violence ends, international actors may have to perform the bulk of governance functions because capacity among local actors will be weak. The inability to transition these functions effectively from international to host nation control impedes capacity development of leadership and staff and results in dependencies that are difficult to reverse.483 As soon as possible, these responsibilities should be transitioned to local actors, with appropriate safeguards, in order to promote capacity and ownership and to ensure legitimacy over the long term. Managing this transition has proven to be extremely challenging.
8.10.8 Identity and issue politics. Identity politics will likely be both divisive and prevalent in societies emerging from conflict and will challenge those who seek political moderation and accommodation. Issue politics—those built around concerns such as economic progress, health care, education, and human rights—offer a more lasting remedy to prevent renewed conflict. They avoid creating divisions along ethnic, religious, or other forms of identity that likely precipitated the conflict. Building political processes to recognize this reality and sustain peace will involve managing the trade-offs between the two forms of politics. Dealing effectively with issue and identity politics is also a gap in current knowledge and a challenge in practice.