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Security, justice key to combat growing violence: World Bank Report

Apr 11, 2011

The World Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security, and Development launched by the World Bank examines the changing nature of violence in the 21st century, and underlines the negative impact of repeated cycles of violence on a country or region’s development prospects. The report instead emphasizes on access to jobs, security and justice as key to combat these cycles.

World Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security, and Development

world-bank-report.jpgPublished by: World Bank

A new World Bank report, challenging a view long embraced by global institutions, says high economic growth alone cannot reduce the poverty and unemployment that breed conflict and violence.

The World Bank's World Development Report released late on Sunday shows instead that access to jobs, security and justice, not higher gross domestic product, are key to breaking repeated cycles of political and criminal violence.

"High unemployment and inequality can combine with weakness in government capacity or problems of corruption, accountability and human rights abuses, to create risks of conflict and violence," said Sarah Cliffe, one of the lead authors of the report.

Such thinking resonates in the unrest engulfing countries across the Middle East and North Africa from Tunisia to Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Syria, Bahrain and fighting in Libya where the government is struggling to survive.

Growth rates in Tunisia and Egypt averaged 5% or higher annually, enough to reduce poverty, but it failed to benefit the masses and address repression, corruption and high unemployment, which led to protests that toppled their rulers.

The World Bank report found that in countries which moved beyond conflict and violence, governments focused on early reforms in security, justice and jobs. Where one of these elements was missing, transitions usually faltered, it said.

"If we are to break the cycles of violence and lessen the stresses that drive them, countries must develop more legitimate, accountable and capable national institutions that provide for citizen security, justice and jobs," World Bank President Robert Zoellick said.

The report said that in countries making the transition from conflict, the government cannot resolve issues alone but should form coalitions with civil society -- national and local political, business, consumer and other groups -- to build support.

In addition, leaders need to deliver two to three "quick wins" that generate confidence among the population, looking at examples in countries such as Haiti, South Africa, Northern Ireland, Rwanda, Cambodia, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Colombia and Liberia that have had their share of conflict and violence.

The report focused on five practical moves that different countries used to link quick confidence-building measures to longer-term transformations. These included working with community groups in the areas of policing, employment and service delivery; creating jobs through large-scale public works; building security and justice programs; involving women in the design and implementation of projects; and tackling corruption.

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Source : Reuters
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