World Bank targets conflict in war against poverty
Conflict and violence are holding back global economic growth and
trapping 1.5 billion people in dire poverty, the World Bank said,
calling for an international effort to break the cycle.
In countries affected by repeated cycles of political and criminal
violence, poverty rates are 20 percentage points higher than in other
countries, the World Bank said in a report. "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," said
World Bank president Robert Zoellick. The 2011 World Development Report
examines how conflict and violence affect economic development and the
lessons to be learned from countries' successes and failures in
overcoming those challenges.
People living in fragile states are twice as likely to be
undernourished and 50 percent more likely to be impoverished. And their
children are three times as likely to be out of school, the economists
And 42 million people, about the entire population of Canada, are
displaced from their homes due to conflict, violence or human rights
"As we are now seeing again in the Middle East and North Africa,
violence in the 21st century differs from 20th-century patterns of
interstate conflict and methods of addressing them," he wrote in the
"Stove-piped" government agencies are ill-suited to cope, the report
found. Instead integrated international action is needed on multiple
The report offers a five-point roadmap for action, saying
establishing institutional legitimacy was key to stability.
The bank also called for investment in citizen security, justice and
jobs; reform of institutions to make them more responsive; and the
adoption of a "layered" approach involving multiple levels in addressing
The fifth point stresses the need for an overarching awareness that
the global landscape is changing away from the old model dominated by
the rich countries.
The launch of the report "is most timely in view of what's happened
in the Middle East and North Africa in the past two months," said Justin
Lin, the World Bank's chief economist, at the briefing.
"Conflict, security are not conventional topics for the World Bank
and other international development institutions," he said.
"However, conflict and security are closely related to development."
The report, 18 months in the making, drew on resources including the
United Nations, experts, national reformers and nongovernmental
"This past decade has seen the increasing penetration of instability
in global life in terrorism, an expanding drug trade, impact on
commodity prices, and the rising numbers of internationally mobile
refugees," the authors said.
"Breaking cycles of repeated violence is thus a shared challenge
demanding urgent action."