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Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at UN Security Council Debate on Peacebuilding

Natalia Cieslik's picture

 

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Managing Director of the World Bank, spoke during a day-long debate on post-conflict peacebuilding at the UN Security Council.  Referring to research for the upcoming World Development Report on ‘Conflict, Security, and Development’ she said that no fragile state had yet achieved a single Millennium Development Goal.  She added while violent conflict was one of the most profound development challenges, focusing on peacebuilding alone was insufficient. True development in conflict-affected countries was only possible through recognizing the importance of country context, working in true partnership, and be fully accountable.

To read her full speech click here.

Addressing violent conflict, one innovation at a time

Nicholas van Praag's picture

The best thing about my job is the amazing people I meetand last week was better than most.  I was in Cape Town for a meeting of social entrepreneurs and peace-builders.  They were gathered under the banner of the World Bank Institute’s Innovation Fair to surface new ways of addressing conflict and delivering services to poor people in fragile states.

Cell phones are ubiquitous in many developing countries (with 70% penetration in Africa) and the internet offers those with access the chance to turbo-charge the change process.  So it was no surprise that new communications technologies were a leitmotiv that ran through many of the projects showcased in Cape Town.

But I guess my key take-away from the meeting is that innovation is not about technology.  Rather, it is the way the revolution in communications is bringing people together into new kinds of communities.  As one participant said, "innovation is most likely when kindred spirits unite." 

Here’s my pick of innovative projects that struck me as relevant to some of the ideas we are exploring in the World Development Report.

Moving beyond conflict

Natalia Cieslik's picture

Right now in Cape Town, the Development Marketplace is holding the first of a new generation of DM activitiesan Innovation Fair on Moving Beyond Conflict tied to the WDR 2011 and drawing on a pool of innovative solutions discovered during an on-line competition last month.  It registered 2,000 users, producing 223 projects from 40 countriesmany of them focusing on the use of new technologies for preventing or overcoming conflict.

You can follow the action and join the event virtually through this website: http://innovationfair.ning.com/

  Moving beyond conflictonline and offline.

Rethinking conflict in cities

Nigel Roberts's picture
     CinC's working assumption is that conflict in cities cannot be completely eradicated.

Recently I visited Cambridge, England, for an Advisory Council Meeting of the Conflict in Cities and the Contested State (CinC) Program.  They are looking at everyday life and possibilities for transformation in cities around the world affected by violence. Working on the WDR 2011, I found their approach very interesting and helpful.

I asked Professor Mick Dumper, one of the program’s Co-Investigators, to write a short note for us on the team’s work:

"Jerusalem, Belfast, Nicosia and Mostarall very different cities with different histories and problems but also all cities that are riven with religious, ethnic and national conflicts.  How does one both recognise their differences but also seek to draw out some underlying common patterns in the urban nature of their conflict?  And what priorities can be identified that will help policy-makers, donors, politicians and community activists formulate pre-emptive or responsive actions to help ameliorate the suffering and distress experienced by their residents?  Attempting to answer these questions is one of the tasks of a five-year British research program entitled ‘Conflict in Cities and the Contested State’.

The rape of Congo

James Martone's picture

War is officially over in eastern Congo, but the violence continues.  23 year old Amani can tell you.  She was raped last year in the forests of North-Kivu by men she refers to as “rebels,” and has since given birth to a baby girl.  Then there’s 15 year old Neema who was held and repeatedly raped for a week last July outside Goma by an “older man” after being lured to his house by a classmate.  She too will give birth soon. “I want him to be imprisoned for life,” said Neema of her rapist.  “He destroyed my life and I don’t study anymore.”

     Cameraman Justin Purefoy filming displaced Congolese in Eastern Congo. Pictures © James Martone.

I met Amani and Neema at the Heal Africa Hospital and other sites in Eastern Congo as part of a WDR 2011 research mission in February.  The team was looking into the causes and consequences of this conflict that has been going on for over 15 years and killed an estimated 3.5 million people.  I was there with cameraman Justin Purefoy to film people affected by the conflict and document their stories.  The effect of massive sexual violence and overall lack of security were two of the issues we were exploring on video. The films and interviews will be published as part of the Bank’s upcoming 2011 World Development Report.

Remember the basics

Nicholas van Praag's picture

Earlier I wrote about ‘connect technologies’ like Twitter and YouTube, and how they are changing the way the world perceives and acts on conflict. Examples are the so-called Twitter Revolution in Moldova and, more recently, the use of YouTube to get the story out of post-electoral Iran.

The potential of these technologies is not in doubt. The challenge is to harness them to make a difference. This is of particular interest to the WDR team because we are looking at communication in relation to the causes and dynamics of conflict, as well as expectations and legitimacy of institutions after violence.

The peace campaigners and political activists I met at of the London meeting of the Alliance for Youth Movements have built their success on new media but they have never lost sight of these tested principles of political advocacy:

    The best storyteller wins.  Photo © Donatella L. Lorch.

Tell your story: If you want to break through the noise in our cacophonic world, you need to find ways to grab your audience’s attention and make them ‘feel’ your cause. Once a human face, voice and a compelling narrative are in place, people are more likely to engage and take action. Remember, the best storyteller wins

Focus on the long-term. Measure your progress against clear benchmarks. Beware of an over-simplistic drive for the endgame and recognize that the activist’s job is seldom done, even when you think you’ve got there.

Think laterally. The best route is rarely a straight line between two points. Esra’a Al Shafei, who runs the digital network MideastYouth.com, spoke about her fight for the rights of Ba’hais and Kurds as a way of addressing, tangentially, other entrenched forms of injustice in the Middle East and North Africa—including discrimination against women.

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