Insecurity disrupts development, but peace doesn’t drive it

By Lisa Denney, Research officer at the Overseas Development Institute, writing on the Broker Online:

“The inclusion of a peace and justice goal in the High Level Panel’s post-2015 report is a welcome acknowledgement of the negative impact of insecurity on development. But this is just the first act in a much longer international community drama about what gets included, and how, in the post-2015 framework. As a result, there is still room for backtracking in taking the agenda forward. 

It is therefore timely to think carefully about the relationships between security, peace and development and to ensure that what gets built into the post-2015 framework stands the best chance of contributing to the eradication of extreme poverty. Some connections are well-documented – Paul Collier estimates that the average cost of a civil war is USD64 billion, and NGOs calculate that armed conflict cost Africa USD284 billion from 1990–2005, almost the same amount of aid received in that time. Fragile countries are among those most off-track in meeting their MDG commitments, and the Voices of the Poor study highlights that security is one of the great priorities of poor people themselves.

However, good or bad things do not always go together. Correlations between insecurity and underdevelopment are much stronger than correlations between peace and development. That is, where there is conflict there is often underdevelopment; it may seem easy to infer from this that peace therefore facilitates development, but this claim goes a step too far.”

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