There is a close causal relationship between poverty, violent conflict and global insecurity
Poorer countries are more likely to experience violent conflict especially when poverty is combined with factors such as inequality, weak governance, poor economic opportunities and competition over scarce resources. Equally, violent conflict results in huge human, production and capital investment losses and conflict-affected countries tend to have high levels of poverty and the poorest human development indicators.
Poor people themselves identify security as a key priority and place a high premium on stability of income, predictability in daily life and psychological security. It is not only situations of open inter-state or civil war that impact negatively on poor people’s lives, but also everyday forms of violence such as abuses by security forces, paramilitaries and gangs, lack of access to justice, exclusion, discrimination and attacks on personal or community identity.
The causes and consequences of conflict and insecurity also cross borders and are linked to the proliferation of arms and weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, international organised crime, and large scale population movements that can destabilise whole regions and impact on faraway places.
Modern warfare and violence is increasingly complex and requires more sophisticated analysis and strategies of engagement.
We can identify a number of key global changes and trends over the last two decades:
These trends coupled with the recognition that international and local interventions have often failed to tackle the underlying structural causes of violent conflict point to the importance of high quality social and political analysis of the causes and consequences of violent conflict, as well as in the design and implementation of local and international policies, programmes and interventions intended to prevent conflict, manage crises and build sustainable peace. Strategies of engagement need to be longer-term and use more comprehensive components to foster good governance, sustainable development, social justice and inclusion and transform underlying structural inequalities. There are a number of specific areas that need to be given more priority:
After over two decades of civil war between North and South Sudan there was some urgency on the part of the development partners to re-engage with the country and kick-start post-conflict recovery through a package of interventions designed to underpin the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
In a report for DFID's Equity and Rights Team, Lyndsay McLean Hilker and Erika Fraser argue that the structural exclusion and lack of opportunities faced by young people in many developing countries can block or prolong their transition to adulthood and lead to frustration and disillusionment, which, under certain circumstances, can result in their engagement in violence.