Post-Conflict Azerbaijan and Development for Peace: The Role of NGOs

Post-Conflict Azerbaijan and Development for Peace: The Role of NGOs

Ramil Iskandarli (Legal Analysis and Research PU, Azerbaijan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8911-3.ch008
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Abstract

The recent military confrontation including Armenia and Azerbaijan, which raged unabated for six weeks, has caused casualties, damages, and displacement of the local population. The fighting pushed hundreds of thousands to flee their homes for safety, of which some remain displaced and will not be able to return to their homes in the long term. The hostilities have brought damage to livelihoods, houses, and public infrastructure. Moreover, many areas have been left with mines and other unexploded ordnances, bringing significant risks for the civilian population. Despite the ceasefire agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan on 10 November 2020, the humanitarian situation remains of concern. The President of Azerbaijan paid more attention to the rebuilding and reconstruction of Karabakh rather than to continue endless discussions on the status of Karabakh. Ilham Aliyev said that, during the second Karabakh war, Armenia committed war crimes. We are facing a great challenge and a great task related to the demining and reconstruction of liberated territories.
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Introduction

The recent military confrontation including Armenia and Azerbaijan, which raged unabated for six weeks, has caused casualties, damages, and displacement of the local population. The fighting pushed hundreds of thousands to flee their homes for safety, of which some remain displaced and will not be able to return to their homes in the long term. The hostilities have brought damage to livelihoods, houses, and public infrastructure. Moreover, many areas have been left with mines and other unexploded ordnances, bringing significant risks for the civilian population.

Despite the ceasefire agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan on 10 November 2020, the humanitarian situation remains of concern.

Working with NGOs and CSOs is, therefore, a good option in post-conflict contexts, but may not always be possible in the very early phases after the outbreak of peace. However, both the terms 'NGO' and 'CSO' are very broad and include a range of different types of organizations. The main division is between local organizations specific to the post-conflict country itself, and larger international NGOs.

A post-conflict context can be conceptualized as a transitional period bounded by past war and future peace, a period that introduces several new challenges. Whether a war was civil or international in scope, concluded through a peace agreement or by a military victory, for states, a war's conclusion is a time to consolidate political gains. In his book, Andrew Cunningham argues that, for international actors, these transitional periods also necessitate adaptation. Some actors must take on new roles, such as the United Nations shifting from peace mediation to peacekeeping. New actors may also enter onto the scene after the fighting ends, such as development agencies. Humanitarian organizations have a particularly difficult time adapting to transitional periods (Cunningham, 2017).

However, some scholars give more emphasis on the role of the private sector in post-conflict societies' development along with the civil society role. Thus, Naousie Mack Sweeney, a scholar from Cambridge UK, in her book, Private sector development in Post-conflict societies, says that “the alleviation of poverty through the development of a healthy and independent private sector. This aim is of vital importance in post-conflict situations because economic factors play such a central role in both starting and maintaining conflicts. In the short term, there must be some immediately tangible benefits of peace – a 'peace dividend. In the medium and long term, these benefits must continue; promoting stability and reconciliation between factions, and discouraging a return to violence” (Sweeney, 2020).

The purpose of this paper is to describe the role of NGOs in peace development in post-conflict societies, including Azerbaijan. In most post-conflict countries nongovernmental organizations are everywhere. In the NGO Game Patrice McMahon using her years of fieldwork and interviews, McMahon argues that when international actors try to rebuild and reconstruct post-conflict countries, they often rely on and look to NGOs. Although policymakers and scholars tend to accept and even celebrate NGO involvement in post-conflict and transitioning countries, they rarely examine why NGOs have become so popular, what NGOs do, or how they affect everyday life (McMahon, 2017).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Great Return (The Great Return Program): The government of Azerbaijan with the help of the international community has started drafting a Framework Plan for the Return of IDPs to the occupied regions after the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict.

Trilateral Statement: On November 10, 2020, a Russia-brokered ceasefire agreement halted a 44-day-long Armenia-Azerbaijan war over the Karabakh territory of Azerbaijan, confirming a decisive Azerbaijani military victory.

Corruption Free Cities: Preventing corruption at the local level is an important instrument to help sub-national governments to improve public service delivery, foster transparency, increase confidence towards the government and stimulate public participation in the decision-making process.

Peace Enforcement: Peace enforcement refers to the use of military assets to enforce a peace against the will of the parties to a conflict when, for instance, a ceasefire has failed.

Treaty of Kars: The Treaty of Kars was signed by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (the Turkish national government) and the Soviet Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan, the SSR of Armenia, and the SSR of Georgia, with the participation of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), on 13 October 1921. The treaty established the common borders between Turkey and the three Transcaucasian republics.

Southern Gas Corridor (SGC): The Southern Gas Corridor is an initiative of the European Commission for a natural gas supply route from Caspian and Middle Eastern regions to Europe. The goal of the Southern Gas Corridor is to reduce Europe's dependency on Russian gas and add diverse sources of energy supply.

Post-Conflict Development: A comprehensive set of measures that seek to: address the needs of countries emerging from conflict, including the needs of affected populations; participation of civil society in preventing the escalation of disputes.

Public Council: A consultative body, established by the central or local executive authority bodies and local self-government bodies for realization of the purposes considered in the Law on Public Participation in Azerbaijan.

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