Why ending violence is a development imperative


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Each year, about half a million people are killed by intentional homicide.  That means one life is lost to violence per minute worldwide.

Latin America and Caribbean is among the hardest hit by chronic violence.  Today, the region still sees an average rate of 24 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants—more than twice the World Health Organization (WHO)’s threshold for endemic violence.

If violence is an epidemic, youth are—by far—the largest risk group.  In Latin America, the homicide rate for males aged 15-24 reaches 92 per 100,000, almost four times the regional average. Young people aged 25-29 years, predominately males, are also the main perpetrators of crime and violence, according to an upcoming World Bank report. 

Endemic violence also translates into less productivity, poorer health outcomes and high security costs. The cumulative cost of violence is staggering—up to 10% of GDP in some countries—with negative long-term consequences on human, social, economic, and sustainable development.

Ending violence is not only a must for law and justice, but also a development imperative. 

The good news is that violence can be prevented. For example, cities like Medellin in Colombia and Diadema in Brazil have dramatically reduced homicide rate over the last few decades, thanks to tailored solutions backed by robust data analysis and a “whole-of-society” approach.  

In this video, we will discuss why violence is an important development issue, how countries and cities can effectively fight violence and crime, and what the World Bank and its partners are doing to ensure security and opportunity for all—especially youth and the urban poor. 




Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez

Former Regional Director, Africa, Sustainable Development Practice Group

Markus Kostner

Former Global Lead | Social, Urban, Rural, and Resilience Global Practice

Join the Conversation

Patricio V Marquez
September 06, 2016

Ede--You are right on the mark by indicating that tailored solutions backed by robust data analysis and a “whole-of-society” approach is require to effectively deal with violence. At the WBG, this requires effective cross-GP partnerships as well to advance the agenda--for example between the Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice and the Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice.
The attached from a public health perspective may be relevant for the discussion:
Is Violence a Public Health Problem?: http://blogs.worldbank.org/health/violence-public-health-problem
“The zero hour” for mental health:http://blogs.worldbank.org/health/zero-hour-mental-health

Sam Ursu
September 07, 2016

Just as a note, around the 0:54 mark it should be "most violent" instead of "most violence". Otherwise, a very informative video, thank you!

May 23, 2019

Dear Sam -- Many thanks for your positive feedback and for pointing that out! The video has been updated accordingly.

Anton Baare
September 09, 2016

Safety as a public good: systematic collection and use of data on violence
Ede, Markus
Great that we are having this conversation. As you already indicate, a big part of what we can contribute is offering clients practical ways of providing safety as a public good in urban as well as rural spaces. Good violence data is key for such enhanced area-based solutions. The Violent Incidence Monitoring Systems (VIMS) developed by our EAP teams are a recent addition to our globally relevant tools. The guidance is available on: