Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 3

post-conflict Related Abstracts

3 A Comparative Study of Environmental, Social and Economic Cross-Border Cooperation in Post-Conflict Environments: The Israel-Jordan Border

Authors: Tamar Arieli

Abstract:

Cross-border cooperation has long been hailed as a means for stabilizing and normalizing relations between former enemies. Cooperation in problem-solving and realizing of local interests in post-conflict environments can indeed serve as a basis for developing dialogue and meaningful relations between neighbors across borders. Hence the potential for formerly sealed borders to serve as a basis for generating local and national perceptions of interdependence and as a buffer against the resume of conflict. Central questions which arise for policy-makers and third parties are how to facilitate cross-border cooperation and which areas of cooperation best serve to normalize post-conflict border regions. The Israel-Jordan border functions as a post-conflict border, in that it is a peaceful border since the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty yet cross-border relations are defined but the highly securitized nature of the border region and the ongoing Arab-Israel regional conflict. This case study is based on long term qualitative research carried out in the border regions of both Israel and Jordan, which mapped and analyzed cross-border in a wide range of activities – social interactions sponsored by peace-facilitating NGOs, government sponsored agricultural cooperation, municipal initiated emergency planning in cross-border continuous urban settings, private cross-border business ventures and various environmental cooperative initiatives. These cooperative initiatives are evaluated through multiple interviews carried out with initiators and partners in cross-border cooperation as well as analysis of documentation, funding and media. These cooperative interactions are compared based on levels of cross-border local and official awareness and involvement as well as sustainability over time. This research identifies environmental cooperation as the most sustainable area of cross- border cooperation and as most conducive to generating perceptions of regional interdependence. This is a variation to the ‘New Middle East’ vision of business-based cooperation leading to conflict amelioration and regional stability. Environmental cooperation serving the public good rather than personal profit enjoys social legitimization even in the face of widespread anti-normalization sentiments common in the post-conflict environment. This insight is examined in light of philosophical and social aspects of the natural environment and its social perceptions. This research has theoretical implications for better understanding dynamics of cooperation and conflict, as well as practical ramifications for practitioners in border region policy and management.

Keywords: Security, cooperation, Borders, post-conflict

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2 Rebuilding Health Post-Conflict: Case Studies from Afghanistan, Cambodia, and Mozambique

Authors: Spencer Rutherford, Shadi Saleh

Abstract:

War and conflict negatively impact all facets of a health system; services cease to function, resources become depleted, and any semblance of governance is lost. Following cessation of conflict, the rebuilding process includes a wide array of international and local actors. During this period, stakeholders must contend with various trade-offs, including balancing sustainable outcomes with immediate health needs, introducing health reform measures while also increasing local capacity, and reconciling external assistance with local legitimacy. Compounding these factors are additional challenges, including coordination amongst stakeholders, the re-occurrence of conflict, and ulterior motives from donors and governments, to name a few. Therefore, the present paper evaluated health system development in three post-conflict countries over a 12-year timeline. Specifically, health policies, health inputs (such infrastructure and human resources), and measures of governance, from the post-conflict periods of Afghanistan, Cambodia, and Mozambique, were assessed against health outputs and other measures. All post-conflict countries experienced similar challenges when rebuilding the health sector, including; division and competition between donors, NGOs, and local institutions; urban and rural health inequalities; and the re-occurrence of conflict. However, countries also employed unique and effective mechanisms for reconstructing their health systems, including; government engagement of the NGO and private sector; integration of competing factions into the same workforce; and collaborative planning for health policy. Based on these findings, best-practice development strategies were determined and compiled into a 12-year framework. Briefly, during the initial stage of the post-conflict period, primary stakeholders should work quickly to draft a national health strategy in collaboration with the government, and focus on managing and coordinating NGOs through performance-based partnership agreements. With this scaffolding in place, the development community can then prioritize the reconstruction of primary health care centers, increasing and retaining health workers, and horizontal integration of immunization services. The final stages should then concentrate on transferring ownership of the health system national institutions, implementing sustainable financing mechanisms, and phasing-out NGO services. Overall, these findings contribute post-conflict health system development by evaluating the process holistically and along a timeline and can be of further use by healthcare managers, policy-makers, and other health professionals.

Keywords: State-building, Afghanistan, Cambodia, post-conflict, Mozambique, health system development, health system reconstruction

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1 Teaching Critical Thinking in Post-Conflict Countries: The University of Liberia

Authors: Kamille Beye

Abstract:

Critical thinking is a topic that has been disputed in the field of education for decades, but many resulting debates have centered around strengthening critical thinking capabilities in the societies, workforces, and educational centers of the global north. In contrast, this paper provides an analysis of the teaching of critical thinking in Liberia, which has been ravaged by years of war and a recent Ebola outbreak. These crises have decimated the Liberian education sector, leading to a loss of teaching capacities that are essential to providing critical thinking education. Until recently, critical thinking had no seat at the table when the future needs of the country were discussed by the government and non-governmental agencies. Now, the University of Liberia has a bold goal to become one of the top twenty universities in West Africa in the next seven years, which has led to a focus on teaching critical thinking skills to improve learning. This paper argues that critical thinking is essential to strengthening not only the Liberian education system, but for promoting peace amongst community members, and yet it suggests that commitments to the teaching of critical thinking in Liberia have hitherto been overly superficial. Based on an initial scoping study, this paper will examine the potential impacts of teaching critical thinking skills to undergraduate students in the William V. S. Tubman School of Education at the University of Liberia on continued peacebuilding and reconstruction efforts of the country. The research contends that if critical thinking skills are taught, practiced and continually utilized, teachers and students will have the ability to engage with information and negotiate challenges to solutions in ways that are beneficial to the communities in which they live. The research will use a variety of methods, that include the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory. This research will demonstrate that critical thinking skills are not only needed for entering the workforce, but necessary for negotiating and expressing the needs and desires of local communities in a peaceful way.

Keywords: Higher Education, Critical thinking, Peacebuilding, post-conflict, Liberia

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