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The role of New Zealand Official Development Assistance in the Building of Sustainable Peace

Peace-building Economic development Humanitarian assistance Foreign aid Pacific Area New Zealand
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New Zealand's Official Development Assistance (NZODA) programme claims to support the construction of peaceful societies in aid recipient countries. This thesis evaluates this proposition by assessing the NZODA programme in relation to peacebuilding criteria. One theoretical framework that analyses the nature of peace implemented by international aid agencies separates peacebuilding into two different types: liberal peace and hybrid peace. This framework argues that the form of peace constructed can be determined by assessing aid agencies in relation to the following variables: method, actors, threat and geography.In this thesis two distinct eras of the NZODA programme are assessed in relation to peacebuilding. Firstly, NZAid (NZODA from 2001 to 2008) and secondly IDG (NZODA from 2009 to present), are assessed in relation to the Building Peace Gradation to determine which form of peace NZAid wished to promote, and what form of peace IDG is currently pursuing. The findings suggest there has been a distinct shift in New Zealand's development and foreign aid programme over the last 12 years. My conclusion is that NZAid was orientated towards hybrid peace while IDG is inclined towards liberal peace. The peacebuilding literature argues hybrid peace holds greater legitimacy in the local context as it builds upon pre-existing structures, utilises local actors and local methods of implementation, and works to counteract locally perceived threats. Consequently, hybrid peace is arguably more emancipatory, just, durable, sustainable, and leads to the eventual exit by the external aid agency. The peacebuilding literature maintains liberal peace is less legitimate as it introduces foreign structures, utilises external actors, introduces external threats and implements programmes through foreign top-down methods. Consequently, liberal peace tends to be more unjust, weak, unsustainable and the foreign agency is unlikely to exit during its implementation. This research concludes that IDG's current orientation towards liberal peacebuilding has been driven by a government with a neoliberal approach to aid effectiveness.

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