Reintegration: A progress report
1. The Executive Committee, at its forty-ninth session (October 1998), addressed a number of issues in relation to reintegration and reconstruction (see A/AC.96/911 para. 23 (n) and (o)). The High Commissioner was asked to keep the Executive Committee informed of progress achieved in engaging other humanitarian and development agencies, including non-governmental organizations, as well as international financial institutions, on this subject.
2. An important development, in this regard, was the launching of an initial dialogue with a representative group of the relevant actors at a Roundtable convened by The Brookings Institution, in Washington D. C. on 15 January 1999. The Roundtable was co-sponsored by UNHCR and the World Bank.
3. The Roundtable was chaired by Ambassador Michael H. Armacost, President of the Brookings Institution. Present were participants from some 30 Governments, and international and non-governmental organizations. The significance of the occasion was highlighted by the fact that there was such a wide spectrum of humanitarian and development actors seated around the table: representatives of the United Nations, international funding institutions, bilateral donors, recipient countries and non-governmental organizations.
4. The purpose of the Roundtable was to explore how the international community, in support of national actors, could better ensure a more successful transition from conflict to sustainable development and peace in societies emerging from conflict. The many unmet needs of post-conflict societies and the failed transitions from conflict to real peace and development, attested to the inadequacy of the current approaches. The dialogue was premised on the fact that there were currently a number of institutional and funding "gaps" which were impeding a smooth transition. These points were spelt out in an introductory note by James Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank, and the High Commissioner, entitled The Transition to Peace in War-Torn Societies: Some Personal Observations (available at the back of the conference room).
5. The Roundtable began with introductory presentations by the President of the World Bank, the High Commissioner, the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, the Netherlands Minister for Development Cooperation, the Mozambican Minister for Foreign Affairs, and the Director of OXFAM. The introductory presentations were followed by an open and frank dialogue involving all the participants. Given the complexity and importance of the issue raised, it was decided that the next stage in the dialogue would be the establishment of a small, but representative Action Group which would explore further, under the leadership of the President of the Brookings Institution, two related issues:
- A review of how the institutional arrangements for ensuring a better transition from humanitarian assistance to long-term development in post-conflict societies might be further enhanced. This review might look at a number of specific conflict situations to identify the various types of gaps, planning/operational modalities, the division of labour among the various actors etc. For this exercise, a variety of existing fora within the United Nations or the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) could be tapped; and
- How to ensure more predictable, timely resources for bridging the gap in the transition from humanitarian assistance to long-term development in post conflict situations. This would involve reviews, in consultation with the Development Assistance Committee (DAC ) Task Force on Conflict, Peace and Development Cooperation, of national funding processes and their limitations, as well as a review of existing/possible multilateral resourcing mechanisms, for example, multi-year funding, country-based trust funds, funding consortia, co-financing, dedicated budget lines, a jointly managed global contingency trust fund etc.
6. The Roundtable would review the results of the Action Group's work in 2-3 months time. These conclusions are to provide the basis for a broader-based subsequent meeting which would carry to conclusion the work of the Roundtable and the Action Group.
7. The Standing Committee will be kept apprised of the progress of the dialogue initiated by this