“…if you look at the experience of low-income, fragile states over the last 25 years, the lack of progress in health and education is pretty stunning… No single low income fragile state has achieved or will achieve any of the Millennium Development Goals. And believe me, this is not for lack of trying, it is not for lack of investment in health and education, it is for a lack of success in transforming institutions.”
Keynes said that “In the long-run we are all dead.” But for people living in fragile states affected by violence, the short run can be deadly too.
The challenge is to balance swift action with long-term stability and security. The two must be carefully paced and sequenced if we are to make progress, both sooner and later.
Not by bricks alone.
Look at Haiti. Whoever emerges from the presidential elections will be under huge pressure to get a lot done fast, from controlling the cholera epidemic and rebuilding homes to getting intimidating gangs off the streets and creating jobs.
We've been there many times before in fragile places the world over - whether they are emerging from the devastation of violent conflict, exacerbated in Haiti by the earthquake, or about to plunge into it. Neither national leaders nor the international community have been effective enough in responding to the pressures that lead to conflict or reignite its embers.
Speedy action to meet immediate needs is a good start but it is not enough on its own to solve what is perhaps our greatest development challenge -- giving a stake in the future to the 1.5 billion people who are forced to look on as the middle income countries power ahead, with many lower middle income states on their heels.
We are pleased this week to unveil our newly revamped WDR 2011 website. Designed to be more user friendly and to make the World Development Report 2011 accessible to a wider audience, we hope the new website will be a boon to anyone interested in finding out more about conflict and development.
We are especially excited to introduce our Data Visualizer comprising our Conflict Database. Previously, information about conflict was dispersed. The WDR team has brought it together in a single database covering civil war, homicides, terrorism, and trafficking, as well as socio-economic, demographic and political data – more than 300 variables in one place available online through the Bank’s open data initiative.
Among our other new features are Faces of Conflict, a series of video interviews with experts and people affected by conflict. We will be collecting footage through the WDR Flip Challenge in which 10 Flip cameras have been distributed to World Bank staff around the world to document their experiences with conflict and community efforts to reduce it. We will be putting up videos as we receive them, so be sure to check back for updates.
Our new interactive map allows users to acquaint themselves with the consultations around the world guiding the WDR and its thinking. Flags in the map indicate meeting locations with summaries of the consultation sessions with national and regional organizations, policymakers, experts and civil society just a click away.
38-year-old farmer Omar has been picking eggplant and hot-peppers since dawn in the hot sun. He says he makes enough to support his wife and six children, but that he’d hoped to do something different with his high school degree:
“What spoiled it for me is 1989,” he says, referring to the Mauritanian-Senegalese border conflict which sent tens of thousands of black Mauritanians like Omar fleeing into neighboring Senegal.
Photo: James Martone. Elders in the village of Fass in southern Mauritania say they will never forget the violent events of their country’s 1989-1991 conflict with neighboring Senegal.
Omar says that when he finally came back to Rosso in 1993, the area was destroyed and neither he nor his brothers could find jobs.
“We tried many different things, but we ended up in agriculture.”
In April 1989, a dispute between Senegal and Mauritania over grazing rights erupted into violence. In both nations, people thought to be linked to the other side were forced into exile. Violence in ethnically mixed Mauritania led about 70,000 black Mauritanians to flee to Senegal. When the conflict ended in 1991, many of those, like Omar, slowly trickled back.
Soulaymanou never left.
The black Mauritanian from the southern city of Rosso says he stayed in his hometown during the conflict 20 years ago, despite Arab lynch mobs and police attacks on blacks. He stopped going to high school, bought a gun and holed himself up with his family in their small house for three months.
Editor’s Note: On Thursday, Sept. 16, the World Bank previewed renowned model and maternal health advocate Christy Turlington Burns' debut documentary, No Woman, No Cry, a powerful portrayal of at-risk pregnant women in Tanzania, Bangladesh, Guatemala and the United States. In this guest post, Anushay Hossain focuses on the progress that has been made in Bangladesh and what more must be done.
|Screening of "No Woman, No Cry" at the World Bank on Sept. 16th|
Bangladesh stood out as the “development star” this month, when countries met at the United Nations in New York to reaffirm their commitments to the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. The 2015 deadline is looming on the goals, which include ending poverty, achieving gender equality, and improving world health.
Bangladesh’s achievements may be surprising to many, as it is one of the world’s poorest and most densely populated countries. But as Women’s eNews puts it, a “precocious, gender-sensitive civil society movement stirring in Bangladesh since the 1970s” is largely responsible for the progress the country has been making towards the MDGs. In particular, Bangladesh is doing a great job in poverty reduction, increasing girls’ enrollment in schools (though high dropout rates remain) and satisfying the 33 percent quota of women in Parliament.
All admirable accomplishments, considering Bangladesh is still recovering from 2007′s military coup. But the country is far from meeting the fifth UN development goal, which calls for a two-thirds reduction in maternal mortality rates by 2015.
Maternal deaths declined by almost 40 percent in Bangladesh from 1990 to 2006, but the UN reports that the progress has halted. An estimated 15,000 Bangladeshi women die every year from complications in childbirth.
|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 one—and 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.
Like you, we sometimes spend our lunch-breaks catching up on old TED videos – especially when one of our Advisory Council members is involved!
Check out Paul Collier’s [email protected] talk in which he explains the problems with current post-conflict aid plans, and suggests three ideas for a better approach.
Collier is Professor of Economics and Director for the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University. His work focuses on the causes and consequences of civil war, the effects of aid, and the problems of democracy in low-income and natural-resource-rich societies. He addition to serving as Associate Professor at the Université d'Auvergne, and Fellow of the Center for Policy and Economic Research in London, Collier is also a member of the WDR 2011 Advisory Council.
"New Media and Conflict" is our ongoing series which explores the affect of new communication technologies on issues of conflict and development.
Last Tuesday (Sept. 7), the Grand Hyatt Washington was abuzz with the Gov 2.0 Summit, which brought together innovators from government and the private sector to highlight technology and ideas that can be applied to “the nation’s great challenges.”
One session we found particularly interesting was "Making States Work Better" featuring Ory Okolloh, founder of the groundbreaking “activist mapping” platform Ushahidi, and Clare Lockhart, founder of the Institute for State Effectiveness, co-author of Fixing Failed States, and author of two input papers for the 2011 World Development Report.
Reflecting on their post-conflict experiences in Afghanistan and Kenya, respectively, Lockhart and Okolloh stressed the importance of building institutions that provide effective and accountable security, justice and economic prospects.
In this exclusive interview with Senior Social Development Specialist Elena Correa, we discuss the results and lessons-learned from the project on Protection of Land and Patrimony of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Colombia. To read the background paper on the workshop click here.
Alec Wescott contributed to this post.
|© Charlotte Kesl / World Bank|
Q. Since its inception in 2002, your focus has developed from “land protection” to “land titling” and “land restitution”. What is the difference between the two strategies, and what prompted the change?
A. Land rights protection was the starting point for the project because of the large number of population displaced. However, land right protection is not enough to diminish the risk of impoverishment of IDPs as was established as the main objective of the project. According to the circumstances and the evolution of the project, land titling was incorporated to formalize these land rights of IDPs who do not have legal titles.
Land restitution was included in the project as a result of the enactment of the Justice and Peace Law in 2005. Land restitution is the ultimate goal in the protection of land that has been lost due to displacement. The project had gathered information since its start in 2003 that could be built on to achieve land restitution. This is a good example of new emerging legislation and how the project adapted itself to the opportunities provided by this law.
The most visible sign of Mozambique’s long history of conflict is the war memorial opposite Maputo’s main railway station. It is designed in the fascist-deco style beloved of European dictators in the 1930s. Built in 1936, it was a belated commemoration to the Portuguese and Mozambican soldiers who died in the Great War—in clashes with forces from what was then German East Africa.
There is no such reminder of the hundreds of thousands who died in the more recent wars of liberation, which lasted from 1961 to 1974, or the 14 years of civil war that followed. After so much suffering most people want to forget these years rather than erect public monuments to their memory.
Unlike the on-again off-again nature of so many conflicts today, the peace agreement reached in 1992 by the two main groups, FRELIMO and RENAMO, marked the end of hostilities. ‘It had become a war of the protagonists, not of the people’, says Dr. Americo Jose Ubisse, Secretary General of the Mozambican Red Cross. When the guns fell silent, one million people had died and some 5 million were displaced.
During the intervening years Mozambique has made strides in turning around its fortunes, consistently posting growth rates of 8 percent in recent years—closer to Asian levels than to other African countries.
This performance has made Mozambique a kind of post-conflict poster child. So when I visited Maputo last month, the vibrant but run-down capital, I wanted to find out how Mozambique had seized these impressive results from the jaws of state failure and whether all is as rosy as the growth rate suggests.