Africa

While international efforts to reach a political agreement on a provisional government in Afghanistan continue, the situation on the ground presents a series of challenges to the aid community. The most immediate of these is to ensure that assistance reaches those most in need, even as the military campaign continues.

The ongoing military action in Afghanistan is deepening what was already a severe humanitarian crisis. Further displacement of civilians will have a profound impact upon the ability of the country and its people to recover. The movement of civilian populations in search of security, as a result of conflict, or food, as a result of drought, has characterized the long conflict in Afghanistan.

Undoubtedly, Afghanistan represents one of the most complex and difficult environments in which humanitarian agencies could operate. Working amidst ongoing military operations, continuous insecurity, and the massive displacement of populations, humanitarian agencies also have to cope with a rising demand for their services and a radically different political and social environment.

This report summarizes the principal results of a series of conversations with Afghans in Kabul and Peshawar in March and April 2002. In Kabul, the HPCR conducted a series of interviews as well as group discussions with community leaders. In Peshawar, the Program hosted a twoday roundtable discussion with 15 leaders of Afghan nongovernmental organizations.

This report is the outcome of a series of discussions with Afghans in Mash’had and Zahedan, Iran, in April 2002. The participants in these discussions were mainly members of Afghan community-based groups, known for their charitable activities for Afghan refugees in both cities.

For two weeks in April and May 2002, the Conflict Prevention Initiative (CPI) of the Harvard Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research (HPCR) hosted the first ever international e-conference on “Securing Communities for Reconstruction in Afghanistan,” attracting over 90 participants.

From 20th June through the 5th of July 2002, the Conflict Prevention Initiative of the Harvard Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research (CPI HPCR) in cooperation with the Center for Peace and Security Studies at the University of Gadjah Mada (CSPS) carried out a series of activities under the theme: “Building sustainable peace and fostering development in Papua”.

The purpose of this brief is to summarize a series of observations on the current status of legal reform in Afghanistan gathered during a research mission undertaken by the Harvard Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research (HPCR) in November 2002, identify a key set of challenges to the reform process, and suggest strategies for addressing these challenges.

This essay reviews recent research on the relationships between economies and violent conflict. The type of economic policies that governments choose plays a significant role in determining the likelihood of conflict. Policies that induce conflict may result from deliberate decisions to weaken state institutions so that leaders can more easily enrich themselves.

The purpose of this report is to present the results of a youth roundtable on constitutional and legal reform, hosted February 5-6, 2003, by the Harvard Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research (HPCR) and co-organized by the Afghanistan Youth Center (AYC).

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