Peacebuilding: Problems and Prospects


Efforts to build or rebuild institutions of the State from the outside have often run into three types of contradictions: the means available are inconsistent with the ends, the resources at hand are inadequate to the task, and the implicit model of a State may simply be inappropriate to the circumstances on the ground. Resolving these contradictions requires clarity in three areas: (i) the strategic aims of the action; (ii) the necessary institutional coordination to put all actors — especially security and development actors — on the same page; and (iii) a realistic basis for evaluating the success or failure of the action.

Professor Simon Chesterman

Vice Dean and Professor of Law, National University of Singapore; Global Professor and Director of the New York University School of Law Singapore Programme.


This work draws upon material discussed at greater length in Simon Chesterman, You, The People: The United Nations, Transitional Administration, and State-Building (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) and Simon Chesterman, Michael Ignatieff, and Ramesh Thakur (eds), Making States Work: State Failure and the Crisis of Governance (Tokyo: United Nations University Press, 2005). Many of the examples cited draw upon confidential interviews conducted in Dili, Kabul, New York, Phnom Penh, Pristina, and Sarajevo.


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