Introduction: Economic Recovery Strategies: Activities

In each of the economic recovery sub-sections, activities are discussed at some length. While the meaning of economic recovery is debated by scholars and practitioners, given the emerging consensus surrounding what it constitutes, this portal focuses on five prominent areas of economic recovery that are critically linked to peacebuilding, as well as the activities that comprise them, which are discussed in greater length in consecutive portal sections.

Community reintegration of displaced persons
  • Information gathering;
  • Repatriation;
  • Livelihoods; and
  • Land, property, and resources.

Employment and peacebuilding
  • Job creation, entrepreneurship, and microfinance;
  • Macroeconomic policies to support employment growth;
  • Vocational training and education; and
  • Empowerment.

Public finance and economic governance
  • Economic governance (accountability, participation, predictability, transparency, and corruption);
  • Public sector resource mobilization (taxes, tariffs, natural resources revenue, purchasing power parity, SOEs, and aid);
  • Public sector resource mobilization;
  • Central banks and monetary policy;
  • Public expenditure management, budget design, and public investment;
  • Fiscal decentralization; and
  • Capacity development and institutional reform.

Natural resources and peacebuilding
  • Peace agreements;
  • Ownership of resources;
    • Government natural resource revenue mobilization; and
    • Revenue sharing agreements and community benefits.
  • Strategies and resources for peace.
    • Management and governance;
    • Capacity development;
    • Trade policy and diversification;
    • Regulatory instruments and initiatives; and
    • Returnee mechanisms.

Private sector development and peacebuilding
  • Local private sector development;
  • Microfinance;
  • Privatization;
  • Conflict-sensitive business practices and corporate social responsibility;
  • Community rights, benefits, and revenue sharing; and
  • International trade.

Cross-cutting principles

There are a number of cross-cutting principles, which sometimes manifest as specific activities that underscore all aspects of economic recovery. These cross-cutting principles are outlined below and expanded upon in the consecutive sections.

Capacity development

The building of the capacity of people and local institutions is identified by the Bureau of Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR) as "perhaps the key enabling factor in economic recovery."1 The BCPR suggests a focus, in particular, on strengthening local financial institutions, which have usually collapsed or been incapacitated by conflict. "Capacity development," a term often used synonymously with capacity building, is defined by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as "the process by which individuals, groups and organizations, institutions and countries develop, enhance and organize their systems, resources and knowledge; all reflected in their abilities, individually and collectively, to perform functions, solve problems and achieve objectives."2 In practice, for example, the United Nations Development Group views capacity building of local institutions as the overall goal of the United Nations country teams (UNCTs): "The overall goal for the UNCT at country level is to support national counterparts [to] develop their capacities to lead, manage, achieve and account for their national development priorities. This is especially so for those related to the MDGs [Millennium Development Goals] and internationally agreed development goals, as well as human rights obligations in ratified UN conventions and treaties."3

Issues affecting the capacity of states and their people are discussed throughout the economic recovery section of this portal. For example, "brain drain" and the lack of skilled workers is addressed in the section on employment, and the difficulties in restoring government function with limited capacity to mobilize revenue for social investments and recovery is discussed in the public finance and economic governance section. addition, a broader view of capacity building is provided in the community reintegration of displaced persons section.

Social cohesion, social capital, and social networks

The creation of community cohesion and (re)establishment of social capital following conflict are key components of economic recovery and the establishment of a lasting peace. They are also one of the most challenging hurdles, as tensions and distrust may remain high. Social networks can help to facilitate the growth of social capital by uniting various groups, including displaced persons, remainees, and former combatants, and providing financial support when formal employment opportunities are low.
Go to Community Reintegration, Reconciliation, and Employment


The concept of self-reliance is typically used in reference to the successful reintegration of displaced persons. It also has utility in the broader economic recovery spectrum. Self-reliance is essentially the ability of a person to meet basic needs in a sustainable and dignified manner, which in the long term reduces that persons vulnerability and dependence on external assistance.4

Conflict sensitivity

The literature on post-conflict economic recovery is clear that any strategy must be rooted in analyses of the individual context and conflict environment. A conflict-sensitive approach "implies understanding the social and ethnic dynamics that may have contributed to or resulted from the conflict to ensure they are not exacerbated by infrastructure programmes."5

Community development approach

The community development approach is increasingly being used as a holistic strategy for rebuilding communities, which is a necessary foundation for economic recovery. A community development approach seeks to empower refugees, internally displaced persons, former combatants, and their communities to determine their own futures through involvement in the recovery process.6

Go to Debates: Participation and Community Reintegration

1. BCPR, Post-Conflict Economic Recovery: Enabling Local Ingenuity, 79.
2. Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development, "Glossary of Statistical Terms: Capacity Development."
3. United Nations Development Group (UNDG), Enhancing the UNs Contribution to National Capacity Development: A UNDG Position Statement (New York: UNDG, October 2006), 4.
4. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Handbook for Self-reliance (Geneva: UNHCR, August 2005), 7.
5. BCPR, Post-Conflict Economic Recovery: Enabling Local Ingenuity, 59.
6. World Bank Post-Conflict Fund, "Workshop on Closing the Gap on Community Reintegration Activities: Learning from Inter-agency Collaboration" (Geneva, Switzerland, June 23-24, 2003), 2.

The news, reports, and analyses herein are selected due to there relevance to issues of peacebuilding, or their significance to policymakers and practitioners. The content prepared by HPCR International is meant to summarize main points of the current debates and does not necessarily reflect the views of HPCR International or the Program of Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research. In addition, HPCR International and contributing partners are not responsible for the content of external publications and internet sites linked to this portal.