Also this week, world leaders are in France – site of the 1918 Armistice signing – for the Paris Peace Forum. They are marking the occasion, but also working to address the international tensions that cause unrest in our day and age, and the initiatives aimed at preventing them: cooperation to fight climate change, resource scarcity, globalization and technological disruptions; institutions to channel power rivalries and administer global public goods; justice to assuage grievances and frustration, regulation to address inequalities and abuses of power; and peacebuilding and security.
I participated in the Forum yesterday with other colleagues from the World Bank and highlighted the plight of one group for whom conflict and fragility make worse an already tenuous situation: the world’s poor.
This inequality hurts us all. Delaying early marriage in the developing world by just a few years would add more than $500 billion to annual global economic output by 2030.
But this is more than a problem of lost income. For women and girls in poor countries, it cuts life short before it can flourish.
This month, 450,000 children under the age of five will die. This year, 151 million children will have their education and employment opportunities limited due to stunting. If current trends continue, 150 million more girls will be married by 2030.
Clearly, we need to accelerate progress so that no woman or child is left behind.
But every year, in countries across the world, too many dreams are cut short: more than 5 million mothers and children die from preventable causes.
In this age of rapidly advancing technology, where there is a growing demand for complex cognitive skills and problem-solving, this crisis should be a wake-up call.