What drives countries into conflict? One of the most important findings about civil war is that economic factors such as growth and structure of income are significant triggers.
The prospect of peace may not fit with the goals of those whose interests lie in prolonging violent conflict. Many organisations spring up during war that are useful only in the context of continuing violence; it is not easy to transfer the energy of such organisations so that they develop a stake in maintaining peace.
Given the exceptional weakness of many post-conflict governments, there is often a crucial role for international involvement across a spectrum of economic, political and military assistance.
Participants in our round-table discussion debate what this assistance might actually look like, as well as the role of the Department for International Development and its proposal in the new white paper Building Our Common Future, that up to 50 per cent of new bilateral funding be made available to fragile states.