Nation-building matters to intractable conflict because of the theory that a strong state is necessary in order to provide security, that the building of an integrated national community is important in the building of a state, and that there may be social and economic prerequisites or co-requisites to the building of an integrated national community.
Different versions of nation-building benefit different groups. Some appear to benefit more the outside countries, and/or the international governmental and nongovernmental organizations which are involved.
Some benefit elites in the nation being built or rebuilt.
Some spread benefits widely in the society; some do not. Nation-building that will be likely to contribute to stable peace nation will need to emphasize the democratic participation of people within the nation to demand rights.
It will need to build the society, economy, and polity which will meet the basic needs of the people, so that they are not driven by poverty, inequality, unemployment, on the one hand, or by a desire to compete for resources and power either internally or in the international system.
This does means not only producing the formal institutions of democracy, but the underlying culture which recognizes respect for the identities and needs of others both within and outside.
It means development of human rights– political, civil, economic and social, and the rule of law.
But it also means development of sewer systems, and roads, and jobs.
Perhaps most important, it means the development of education.
Nation-building must allow the participation of civil society, and develop democratic state institutions that promote welfare.