Relevance and Potential of Employment-Intensive Works Programmes in the Reintegration of Demobilized Combatants

The rise in the number and scale of armed conflicts in recent years has increased the demands on the United Nations and international development agencies for assistance in humanitarian relief and peacekeeping efforts. The major challenge facing conflict-affected countries lies in peace-building through sustainable development which goes beyond emergency relief and peacekeeping. This involves re-integrating a large number of demobilized combatants, displaced population and refugees into normal civilian life, reviving the economy and generating new bases for secure employment and incomes for the affected population, and rebuilding social and political structures.
The employment-intensive works programmes constitute a potent strategy for addressing the multiple demands in a post-conflict environment: direct and large scale job creation, thus providing income benefits to refugees, displaced populations and demobilized combatants within a very short period of time helping stimulate market demand for other goods and services; rehabilitation and construction of physical infrastructure which are essential in reviving social and economic activities and improving living conditions, especially in rural areas; direct creation of physical assets which enhance productive capacities and employment generation in the long term; development of private sector and small contractors; and local and national capacity building for ensuring sustainability.