1.5 bn globally affected by violence: World Bank

Last Updated: Monday, April 11, 2011 - 09:59

Washington: About 1.5 billion people,
more than a fifth of the world`s population, live in countries
hit by repeated cycles of violence, pushing their poverty
rates up by more than 20 percentage points compared with other
nations, says a World Bank report released on Monday.

Fixing the economic, political, and security problems
that disrupt development and trap fragile states in cycles of
violence requires strengthening national institutions and
improving governance in ways that prioritize citizen security,
justice, and jobs, says the `World Development Report 2011:
Conflict, Security and Development`.

The report examines how conflict and violence affect
economic development and the lessons to be learned from
countries` successes and failures in overcoming those
challenges.

The World Bank has called for development
organisations to place a new emphasis on improving police
protection to halt the violence gripping dozens of poor
nations.

"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 B Zoellick said following the release of the
report.

"Children living in fragile states are twice as likely
to be undernourished and three times as likely to be out of
school. And the effects of violence in one area can spread to
neighboring states and to other parts of the world, hurting
development prospects of others and impeding economic
prospects for entire regions," he said
In countries affected by repeated cycles of political
and criminal violence, poverty rates are 20 percentage points
higher than in other countries, the report said.

Noting that military and development disciplines too
often worked on separate paths, Zoellick called for bringing
security and development together to break the cycles of
fragility and violence affecting more than one billion people.

The report shows how 21st century organised violence
appears to be spurred by a range of domestic and international
stresses, such as youth unemployment, income shocks, tensions
among ethnic, religious or social groups, and trafficking
networks.

In citizen surveys done for the report, unemployment
was overwhelmingly the most important factor cited for
recruitment into gangs and rebel movements, the World Bank
said in a statement.

"Risks of violence are greater when high stresses
combine with weak capacity or lack of legitimacy in key
national institutions, as shown by the recent turbulence in
the Middle East and North Africa," it said.

The report notes that capable, legitimate institutions
are crucial because they are able to mediate the stresses that
otherwise lead to repeated waves of violence and instability:
more than 90 per cent of civil wars in the 2000s occurred in
countries that already had a civil war in the previous 30
years.

"Elsewhere, gains made through peace processes are
often undermined by high levels of organized crime. And
countries where violence takes root fall far behind in
development, with poverty rates more than 20 percentage points
higher, on average, in countries where violence is protracted
than in other countries," it said.

PTI



First Published: Monday, April 11, 2011 - 09:59

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