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To promote peace and development, let’s talk about government spending on security and criminal justice

Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez's picture
Governments spend a lot of money to contain violence. In 2015, some $1.7 trillion was spent on defense by governments worldwide . While the primary responsibility for the provision of security and justice services lies with governments, those functions may carry a heavy fiscal burden as they often make up significant portions of national budgets. Yet little work has been undertaken on the composition of security sector budgets, or on the processes by which they are planned and managed.

In an effort to address this issue, the World Bank Group and the United Nations embarked on a three-year partnership that led to the publication of a new report titled Securing Development: Public Finance and the Security Sector. It is a sourcebook providing guidance to governments and development practitioners on how to use a tool called “Public Expenditure Review (PER)” adapted to examine the financing of security and criminal justice institutions.
 
Over the last 10 years, some 20 PERs have been done covering security and criminal justice. These range from conflict-affected countries like Afghanistan and Central African Republic to countries with high rates of crime and violence, including El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru. 
 
Securing Development aims to help policymakers and development practitioners navigate a critically important but very sensitive area of public policy. The book tells you what to look for, how to find it, and present data in such a way that is helpful for governments for key decisions around security policy. It also creates a bridge in linking this critical policy area to development projects, such as those on demobilization and disarmament in conflict settings, or slum upgrading and municipal financing in more stable countries.
 
To learn more about the Securing Development sourcebook, watch a discussion between the World Bank’s Senior Director Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez (@Ede_WBG) and Bernard Harborne, an author of the report.

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