Field-based studies from a variety of disciplines, together with the experiences of practitioners who have worked in a range of post-conflict countries, consistently support the proposition that sustaining peace after civil war requires careful attention to rebuilding local capacities. This includes the ability of fledgling governments to perform core state functions, such as delivering public services, providing security, and administering justice, and the capacity of local communities to rebuild social cohesion and reconcile formerly warring groups at the grassroots. It is also widely understood that post-conflict peacebuilding activities must be based on local priorities and operate through locally familiar modes of public engagement if the desired effects are to be achieved.
However, the other main precondition for the prevention of conflict-recurrence—the timely provision of international technical, diplomatic, and financial assistance—leads in the opposite direction: the imposition of externally determined priorities and reliance on foreign experts, all at the expense of cultivating local talent and strengthening local institutions.
How to overcome this tension is the puzzle at the heart of Susanna P. Campbell’s engaging and deeply researched book Global Governance and Local Peace. It focuses on the case of Burundi, a
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