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UNRISD SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT NEWS. 1995 Spring-Summer; (12):16.A 3-day seminar on rebuilding war-torn societies was conducted jointly by the UN Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) and the Program for Strategic and International Studies (PSIS) of the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva. The seminar was attended by about 80 representatives from international aid agencies, donor governments, nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions, and war-torn societies. The discussions focused on the issues of humanitarian aid, peace-keeping operations, demilitarization, elections, economic aid, and creation of the psychological and social conditions necessary for sustainable human survival. One common theme that was noted by a number of participants was the potential incongruity of focusing only on emergency and crisis situations, which can distort development issues. Emergency aid problems were identified as ineffectiveness in operations, domination by donors of the rebuilding process, and undermining of local capacities either directly or indirectly. There was general agreement that a simultaneous process was needed for balancing emergency relief with consolidation of peace and rebuilding the community. Efforts must be made to integrate local and international parties and to coordinate activities of emergency relief workers, development specialists, military personnel, and political figures in a coherent framework. The seminar was part of the UNRISD/PSIS War-Torn Societies Project, which aims to help personnel involved in reconstruction of post-conflict societies and to provide a better understanding of the complex challenges. The project will be developing a worldwide database and communications network.