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UNDP Global

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Restore or Reform: UN Support to Core Government Functions in the Aftermath of Conflict

Nov 23, 2015

This report, developed by the United Nations Working Group on Public Administration in Post-Conflict, aims to capture the experience of the United Nations system’s work on public administration in the early years of post-conflict environments and to provide recommendations for more predictable, efficient and timely United Nations support in this area.


The findings and recommendations focus on the immediate aftermath of conflict, defined as the first two years after the conflict has ended. The seven case study countries commissioned for the report are Afghanistan, Burundi, Guinea-Bissau, Kosovo, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste. The report is not to be seen as the conclusion of a comprehensive research initiative but rather as the first step in a process of re-directing the United Nations’ work on post-conflict public administration, in collaboration with recipient
countries and other development partners.


The review highlights a number of important lessons, in particular:

  • the centrality of the political settlement to peace and statebuilding, notably inclusion and national ownership
  • that governance deficiencies need to be understood as political in origin as much as technical
  • that the translation of forms of administration from one context into another rarely leads to corresponding function, and thus it is important to work towards a good fit and not just best practice
  • successful public administration reform requires strong domestic leadership and objectives that are modest, focused and incremental