State restructuring :Beyond impasse and inflexibility
Nepal can draw upon the knowledge and practices of restructuring and peace processes from various parts of post-conflict African continent that will, no doubt, lead us to overview the substance of post-conflict social transformation and nation building process.
Angola, Burundi, Ethiopia, Nigeria and others have come out of the bitter experience of the past and headed towards the restructuring, at least within its ethno-political and nationalist ground.
As regards the political process, we can study the African specialty where the peace making strategies composed of addressing roots of conflict and ensuring inclusive approach to state restructuring were banked on.
National reconciliation, reintegration, socio-economic opportunities for ex-combatants and victims were to be categorized under peace building programs. It can be instrumental to Nepalese polity too.
For economic recovery and reintegration purpose, national development process and rehabilitation of critical infrastructure is core to the post-conflict national economy of any country. With the revelation of current facts in its Nepalese specialty, we have the figures, according to Nepal Living Standard Survey (government sponsored survey under Central Bureau of Statistics, not yet updated), that obviously uncover the scenario of poverty and unemployment penetrating the agro-based rural population chronically with its roots spreading significantly among Dalits and various ethnic groups. The agriculture sector has evolved as the stumbling block to economic restructuring and reforming.
Land reform has been very much a cornerstone in agro economy in post-conflict Africa with people becoming the cognoscenti locally and nationally. With making a slogan, “Put small farmers first and put farming first to empower them”, experts in Africa call on world leaders to apply its six interlinked imperatives in policy and practice: safeguard natural resources; share knowledge; build local access and capacity; protect harvest; enable access to market; prioritize research imperatives.
Social progress, mainly, encompasses rebuilding of social capital, basic social services, relevant institution and guarantying social security. Social capital was firstly used to study social cohesion and personal investment in the community and refers to connections within and between social networks. Social capital is desideratum in post-conflict societies, since it is vigorously damaged with destabilization of social system during the conflict period. If it is made to revitalize, disillusionment with the state and society will be removed by depersonalizing the conflict. The onus is on the state to revitalize and resurrect old sick institution and discover new ones.
As for human security and post-conflict reconstruction, both human and state securities are two distinctive terms and practices as being applied in ruined states, but the terms are not dichotomy.
The practice and philosophy of state security lays exclusive stress on the survival of the state and territorial sovereignty, whereas human security emphasises survival of the people and socio-economic development that intends to protect human well-being. Nepal’s post conflict state security vis-à-vis entanglement with neighboring countries should be reviewed.
Human security comprises of various human related security- political, economic, food, health, environmental and community level. Despite many differences on the emergence and resolution of conflicts in Nepal and Africa, some commonalities pertinent to threat to human security- job and income insecurity evolving with limited access to socio-economic opportunities, labor market instability, unemployment, evolution of no publicly financed social protection programs or other forms of social safety net can not be less emphasized and overlooked. Unless and until these factors of human security remain insurmountable and are not made instrumental in strengthening the on going peace process, abuse of authority with a ritual practice of impunity will always be rampant.
The common points of conflict management and resolution can be summarized with the development of : long term political stability and economic development; democratic governance with its country specialty that can ensure economic growth and wide distribution of benefits; social justice; proportionate representative of minorities, ethnic group, marginalized, disadvantaged, woman, indigenous to state and non- state body .; review and change in the structure and mechanism of multilateral institution providing ‘external assistance’.
Last but not least, the progress in the conflict management and state restructuring can be measured and experienced with some Human Security Performance Indices that should be assessed by all in order to achieve wider national interest.