The Asia Foundation

The Asia Foundation
Addressing the Critical Issues Facing Asia - 60 Years
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The Contested Corners of Asia: Subnational Conflict and International Development Assistance (Executive Summary)

Thomas Parks, Nat Colletta, Ben Oppenheim

Subnational conflict is the most widespread, deadly and enduring, form of conflict in Asia. Over the past 20 years, there have been 26 subnational conflicts in South and Southeast Asia, affecting half of the countries in this region. These conflicts are among the world's longest running armed struggles, often lasting for multiple generations, and more than 40 years on average. Within Asia, subnational conflicts have been the most common form of armed conflict since 1955. The interactions between conflict, politics, and aid in subnational conflict areas are a critical blind spot for aid programs.

This study was conducted to help improve how development agencies address subnational conflicts. The study draws on new primary field research from locations and sources that are often inaccessible to researchers and aid practitioners. The research included two levels of data accumulation and analysis. First, the study undertook a regional analysis of conflict, development, and aid in 26 subnational conflict areas in Asia, largely drawing on secondary data. Second, the research team conducted in-depth case studies in three major subnational conflict areas: Aceh (Indonesia), Mindanao (Philippines), and the southernmost provinces of Thailand, drawing upon original field research and survey data.

 

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