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International Community

Prevention is better than post-conflict catch-up

Nicholas van Praag's picture
   An end to conflict conformism

Violence is the antithesis of development.  It tears down what’s been built up.  It destroys lives, shortens horizons, and inflicts huge psychological and physical pain.

Once violence ends, it takes a generation, on average, to get back to square oneand that’s only when strife does not reignite or morph into other forms of man-on-man beastliness, as often happens. 

No wonder so many people at the Millennium Development Goals summit in New York this week are taking a hard look at how to improve the often nasty, brutish and short lives of people living in states wracked by violence. 

At a side event organized by the WDR and the International Dialogue on Peace Building, and co-hosted by Timor Leste and the UK, Andrew Mitchell, Britain’s aid chief, reminded us that no fragile state or conflict-affected country has yet achieved a single MDG. Most lag 40 to 60 percent behind other low and middle-income countries in MDG attainment.

If you were born without a birth attendant or lack access to clean water or never went to primary school or go to bed hungry, the chances are pretty high (between 65 and 75 percent, depending on the indicator) that you come from a country mired in or emerging from violence.

With more than 1.5 billion people living in conflict-affected countries, the challenge is daunting.  There’s no chance of coming close to attaining the MDGs at the global level unless we move from bumper-sticker aspiration to policy action in fragile states.

Speaking Out About Conflict—Part 2

Natalia Cieslik's picture

During a recent WDR 2011 consultations event we interviewed leaders from conflict-affected countries about overcoming conflict, building institutions, confidence building, and the role of the international community.

Watch and listen to what Habiba Sarabi, Governor of Bamyan Province in Afghanistan, Emilia Pires, Finance Minister in Timor Leste, Oscar Santamaria, Former Peace Negotiator and Minister of Justice and Foreign Affairs in El Salvador, and Juan Carlos Pinzon, Former Vice-Minister of Defense in Colombia, have to say.

Speaking out about conflict—Part 1

Natalia Cieslik's picture

During a recent WDR 2011 consultations event we interviewed leaders from conflict-affected countries about overcoming conflict, building institutions, confidence building, and the role of the international community.

Watch and listen to what Betty Bigombe, Chief Peace-Negotiator in Uganda, Biong Deng, Minister of Presidential Affairs in South Sudan, Pierre Buyoya, Former President of Burundi, and Tornolah Varpilah, Minister of Health in Liberia, have to say.

Betty Bigombe, Chief Mediator in Northern Uganda Peace Process:


Biong Deng, Minister for Presidential Affairs and Member of the SPLM National Liberation Council, Government of Southern Sudan
:


Pierre Buyoya, Former President and Senator for Life, Burundi
:

 
Tornorlah Varpilah, Deputy Minister of Health, Liberia: