Do No Harm: How Aid Can Support Peace–Or War

Tuesday 24 January 2023

Anderson, Mary B. Boulder, USA: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2022.

The book Do No Harm: How Aid can Support Peace- or War? is written by Mary Anderson. It is about the complicated relationship between war and peace, and also some principles for foreign intervention in peace projects. The author uses examples including civil wars in Lebanon, Burundi, Afghanistan and Somalia to investigate the reasons why war broke out. In these sections, she discusses the relationship between democracy and peace to argue that democratic countries are unlikely to conquer other democratic countries. The author also comments on how peacemaking projects relating to interstate wars differ from those relating to civil wars. The book also analyzes the negative impacts of aid in post-war construction, as improper distribution of aid may lead to conflicts. The second section of the book argues that aid organizations should operating according to the principle ‘Do not harm’, which should improve communication with local people and agencies, decrease the use of ineffective methods and change decision-making processes in order to promote long-term effectiveness. The author uses the example of Private Voluntary Organization as a successful example of a peace-making project, by comparing it to other traditional non-governmental organization.

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