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Can development prevent conflict? Integrated area-based development in the Western Balkans – theory, practice and policy recommendations

Vrbensky, Rastislav (2008) Can development prevent conflict? Integrated area-based development in the Western Balkans – theory, practice and policy recommendations. Working paper series (WP 02/2008). Centre for the Study of Global Governance, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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The increasingly active role of international organisations in conflict prevention, peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction in recent years has been complemented by a continuous shift from humanitarian assistance and relief towards a more holistic and sustainable response to complex emergencies. Concentrating on a sub-national level, this paper analyses the potential and practical results of the area-based development approach (ABD) in contributing to conflict prevention and in linking reconstruction and development. Firstly, it analyses its theoretical and methodological underpinnings in light of current academic discourse on conflict and reconstruction. Secondly, it assesses the practical contribution of two ABD programmes in the South and Southwest Serbia to conflict prevention and development. Based on the results of the theoretical and empirical part, the paper sets out to summarize and discuss the key strengths and limitations of the approach. It argues that although ABD is often very effective in responding to complex conflict characteristics on sub-national levels, under its current conceptualization and implementation practices, it suffers from a limited ability to respond to a full complexity of issues related to conflict and development on multiple levels. In other words, the contradiction in the terms ‘integrated’ and ‘area-based’ needs to be addressed both conceptually and in practical applications. In the final part, the paper formulates recommendations for the improvement of the approach in this respect.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2008 Rastislav Vrbensky
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
J Political Science > JC Political theory
D History General and Old World > DR Balkan Peninsula
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2009 16:14
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 23:12

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