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Good Intentions: Pledges of Aid for Postconflict Recovery

Shepard Forman and Stewart Patrick, editors
ISBN: 978-1-55587-854-2
ISBN: 978-1-55587-879-5
2000/432 pages/LC: 99-38718
Center on International Cooperation Studies in Multilateralism

"For anyone seriously interested in postconflict recovery and social reconstruction, this is an important book.... [It is] one of the few comparative studies that examines the realities, as opposed to the hoped-for outcomes, of such assistance."—Mark Duffield, Development and Change

"Beginning with an impressive introduction, this important assessment of postconflict recovery aid programs ... touches on the most relevant issues.... insightful study."—Choice


This comparative study assesses the causes—and consequences—of failures to fulfill pledges of aid to postconflict societies.

In each of six case studies, the coauthors (drawn from both donor states and recipient countries), evaluate multilateral efforts to support sustainable recovery and peacebuilding in societies emerging from protracted violence. They first establish the timing, composition, and objectives of aid pledged by the donor community. They then analyze the conditions that donors placed on their assistance, the mechanisms they created to coordinate it, and donor performance in delivering it. Next, they evaluate the recipient's ability to absorb external assistance and the impact that this aid has had for reconstruction and peacebuilding goals. Finally, they assess the causes, consequences, and lessons of any gaps between pledges and disbursements. What explains shortfalls in aid disbursement? And what do these recent experiences suggest for improving the multilateral design, mobilization, and coordination of assistance to postconflict societies?

Good intentions notwithstanding, inadequate preparation, poor coordination, and lack of perseverance can threaten the recovery of vulnerable polities whose collapse would endanger regional peace and security.


Shepard Forman is founder and director of the Center on International Cooperation (CIC) at New York University. Previously, he was director of the Ford Foundation's International Affairs programs (1991-1996) and Human Rights and Governance programs (1981-1991). His most recent publication is Diagnosing America: Anthropology and Public Engagement. Stewart Patrick is on the Policy Planning staff at the US State Department and author of Multilateralism and U.S. Foreign Policy: Ambivalent Engagement.


  • Introduction—the Editors.
  • The Donor Community and the Challenge of Postconflict Recovery—S. Patrick.
  • Cambodia—S. Peou with K. Yamada.
  • El Salvador—H. Rosa and M. Foley.
  • Mozambique—N. Ball and S. Barnes.
  • The Palestinian Territories—R. Brynen, H. Awartani, and C. Woodcraft.
  • South Africa—M. Bratton and C. Landsberg.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina—Z. Hurtic, A. Šapcanin and S.L. Woodward.
  • Beyond Good Intentions: External Assistance and Peace Building—J.K. Boyce.