chapter  2
20 Pages

What is post- conflict reconstruction?

If we are to ascertain what the impact of the corporate sector on post-conflict reconstruction is, it is first necessary to ascertain exactly what post-conflict reconstruction is all about and what host governments and the international community believe they are trying to achieve in such circumstances. The literature on this topic has grown dramatically over the past two decades, reflecting the escalation in intrastate, rather than interstate, conflicts. In the period 1995-1997 for example, it was estimated that there were 48 conflicts underway around the world, of which none were between states.1 So marked has the shift towards intra state conflict become, that some authors have declared the ‘old’ type of interstate warfare to be obsolete. Michael Mandelbaum, for example, argues that ‘the rising costs of war, and the diminishing expectations of victory’s benefits, have transformed its status’.2 In his view, even powerful states no longer regard war between themselves as a realistic policy option. Others counsel caution and urge that the day of the interstate war is not yet over. Lawrence Freedman, for instance, reminds us that while it is difficult to envisage major war in the short term, the ‘big players have not ruled out fighting each other again’.3