Reviving war-damaged settlements : towards an international charter for reconstruction after war
This study is concerned with the issue of reviving settlements after war. It focuses on the formulation of reconstruction policies and programmes. The aim is not to propose ready made solutions but rather to identify a set of 'practical' and 'effective' reconstruction recommendations, that could in the future constitute a morally based international reconstruction philosophy. The problem we are addressing is that: Often, the task of rebuilding war-devastated settlements is seen entirely as a 'series of short-term quick fix projects'; carried out by central governments; and often imposed from above to serve 'hidden political agendas', with the ultimate result of the disaster of war being followed by the 'disaster of reconstruction '. The hub of this research is based on field investigations and literature studies and, is presented to support the following hypothesis: Settlement reconstruction should be an integral part of the nation-wide post-war development strategy, and within that reconstruction policies should foster the incremental learning process by the affected local communities. This dissertation sets out to understand the nature of armed conflicts and the complexity of reconstruction after war. It attempts to catalogue and discuss the different tasks involved in the process of reconstruction by establishing, from the available (cross-cultural) literature, a conceptual framework of some of the main planning and implementation issues and dilemmas. It then examines in detail the three cases of Iraq, Yemen and Belfast. Finally, it focuses on the concept of community participation In reconstruction which has widely been claimed to be the answer to many reconstruction problems. And concludes by: (1) drawing up a set of 'policy and practice' recommendations, that would enable 'careful' decision-makers, professionals and community leaders to ensure that the 'disaster of war' will not be followed by a 'catastrophe of reconstruction', and (2) 1aying the basis for an internationally respectable 'Charter for Reconstruction after War', that would help to involve governments and international bodies in the development and application of sound reconstruction policies, with the ultimate result of them being responsive to the needs of people. Both are translations of the insights gained from this research into practical solutions.