Measuring Progress in International State Building and Reconstruction
August 20, 2008
Defining success has proven to be one of the toughest jobs in post conflict situations.
As the international community has grown more ambitious in its interventions, recurring weaknesses appear. The first section of the paper will review some of the challenges and responses. Among the shortcomings discussed are the failures to: establish baselines or set clear directions; understand the context or available resources; produce timely, independent and recurring reviews; and, change directions or plans throughout the operation. If we are unable to say where we started, where we are going, or how the journey is progressing, it is hard to claim success or failure. These chronic weaknesses undermine public support in the countries that we seek to help and with our taxpayers at home.
The second section will discuss some models that have been developed and that could show the way for measuring progress. The new approaches and experiences were tested in Iraq and Afghanistan, and reinforce the challenge of impact on policy and operations.
The final section offers some guiding principles to make the measurement of progress more effective and influential – so that international interventions might improve.
Three articles that address the issues in this paper are attached for further background and hyperlinks are also provided in the text. The author has been directly involved in most of the cases and examples that are discussed.