Countries coming out of conflict are in atypical need of both financial resources and policy advice.Their societies are often extremely fragile and so it is important that the response of the international development community should be as appropriate as possible in respect of their special context and characteristics.

Post war governments are often characterized by large budget deficits, lack of financial resources and expertise in restoring the economic and political stability.

According to the recent economic theories, during the first stages of war, the state has to play a crucial role in rehabilitate the ‘state’ apparatus, the security and judicial systems and essential public services (i.e. public health and education), restore physical infrastructure, productive assets and implement post-war rehabilitation programmes, reintegrate ex combatants and returnees, clear mines, and repay outstanding loans to international creditors that have been used to finance the war.

Any intervention at this stage should aim at recreating the conditions that will allow the private sector and institutions of civil society to reinvest in commercial and productive activities. To this end the assistance is focused on macroeconomic stabilization measures, rebuilding viable financial institutions and appropriate legal frameworks and on rehabilitation urgent transportation and communication infrastructure.

These actions are justified by the belief that the assistance for economic growth will benefit the poor and victims of war through spillover effects of broadly based growth but also by the needs of the post-conflict countries for external financial resources as the internal resources have been depleted.

However to be sustainable, this process needs to take into account the principles of economic development among which the most relevant are the ones of sustainability and responsibility.This entails to put emphasis not only on financial or environmental issues but to promote a more integrated approach which considers social, economic as well as environmental issues without forgetting to respect rules of law, norms of transparency and accountability and international codes of conducts and standards which more and more evoke for a social responsible behaviour from all societal actors.