On September 21, the World Bank launched the report Main Messages and Emerging Policy Directions, a report that is a part of a broader study entitled Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict that will be released in January 2018. The document, produced in partnership with the United Nations, highlights the importance of inclusive approaches to prevent conflicts and sustain peace.
According to the report, by 2030, more than half of world´s poor people may be living in countries affected by high levels of violence. Since 2010, the number of conflicts and battle-related deaths has increased alongside with the number of non-state armed groups.
The document is based on the understanding that the pathways that lead states towards peace or violence are not linear and can create vicious or virtuous cycles. Moreover, they also depend on structural factors, institutions and actors. Horizontal inequalities and perception of exclusion are presented on the report as recurrent sources for grievances that can lead to violence. The options available to prevent violence are restrained to some factors such as emerging risks in the area, high risks, escalation of violence and recurrence of violence.
Pathways for Peace emphasizes the importance of addressing grievances to end violence by taking action on the main areas where conflicts can escalate to violence. It is possible if local governments commit themselves to improve some basic needs such as:
- the access to justice and security
- the access to power, land and natural resources
The researchers analyzed 20 case studies in which governments identified the conflicts and managed to act promptly, preventing the escalation of violence. To reach peace, the countries addressed grievances through redistributive policies, empowering local mechanisms to conflict management, creating inclusive national peace and development plans and promoting norms against violence. Mobilizing coalitions with actors at the local, national, regional, and international levels also had positive impact, including civil society actors and excluded groups.
The document also sheds light on the challenges that preventive diplomacy faces regarding the increasing number of non-state armed groups and the importance of cross-cutting approaches that bring together security, development, and political/diplomatic tools over the long term. According to the report, prevention must “target patterns of polarization and institutional failure that fuel the risk of conflict”, must be inclusive and sustained over the time.
The full report can be accessed here: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/28337/211162mm.pdf?sequence=2&isAllowed=y
By Lais Carregosa (UFRJ)