More than 1.5 billion people live in countries affected by violent conflict. The World Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security, and Development examines the changing nature of violence in the 21st century, and underlines the negative impact of repeated cycles of violence on a country or region’s development prospects. Preventing violence and building peaceful states that respond to the aspirations of their citizens requires strong leadership and concerted national and international efforts. The Report is based on new research, case studies and extensive consultations with leaders and development practitioners throughout the world.
Part I: The Challenge
Chapter 1, Repeated violence threatens development, explores the challenge: repeated cycles of organized criminal violence and civil conflict that threaten development locally and regionally and are responsible for much of the global deficit in meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
Chapter 2, Vulnerability to violence, reviews the combination of internal and external stresses and institutional factors that lead to violence. It argues that capable, accountable, and legitimate institutions are the common “missing factor” explaining why some societies are more resilient to violence than others. Without attention to institutional transformation, countries are susceptible to a vicious cycle of repeated violence.
Part II: Lessons from National and International Responses
Chapter 3, From violence to resilience: Restoring confidence and transforming institutions, presents the WDR framework, or “virtuous cycle.” It compiles research and case study experience to show how countries have successfully moved away from fragility and violence: by mobilizing coalitions in support of citizen security, justice, and jobs to restore confidence in the short term and by transforming national institutions over time. This is a repeated process that seizes multiple transition moments and builds cumulative progress. It takes a generation.
Chapter 4, Restoring confidence: Moving away from the brink, reviews lessons from national experience in restoring confidence by mobilizing ‘inclusive-enough’ coalitions of stakeholders and by delivering results. Collaborative coalitions often combine government and nongovernmental leadership to build national support for change and signal an irreversible break with the past. Restoring confidence in situations of low trust means delivering some fast results, since government announcements of change will not be credible without tangible action.
Chapter 5, Transforming institutions to deliver security, justice, and jobs, reviews national experience in prioritizing foundational reforms that provide citizen security, justice, and jobs—and stem the illegal financing of armed groups. In moving forward institutional transformation in complex conflict settings, case studies emphasize that perfection should not be the enemy of progress—pragmatic, “best-fit” approaches should be used to address immediate challenges.
Chapter 6, International support to building confidence and transforming institutions, turns to lessons from international support to national processes. While registering some notable successes, it argues that international interventions are often fragmented, slow to enter, quick to exit, reliant on international technical assistance, and delivered through parallel systems. The chapter considers why international action has been slow to change. International actors have to respond to their own domestic pressures to avoid risk and deliver fast results. Different parts of the international system—middle-income versus OECD actors, for example—face different domestic pressures, undermining cohesive support.
Chapter 7, International action to mitigate external stresses, provides lessons from international action to combat external security, economic, and resource stresses that increase conflict risk. The stresses range from trafficking in drugs and natural resources to food insecurity and other economic shocks. The chapter also addresses lessons from regional and cross-border initiatives to manage these threats.
Part III: Practical Options and Recommendation
Chapter 8, Practical country directions and options, provides practical options for national and international reformers to take advantage of multiple transition opportunities, restore confidence, and transform institutions in countries facing a range of institutional challenges, stresses, and forms of violence.
Chapter 9, New directions for international support, identifies four tracks for international action. First, to invest in prevention through citizen security, justice and jobs. Second, internal agency reforms to provide faster assistance for confidence-building and longer term institutional engagement. Third, acting at the regional level on external stresses. Fourth, marshalling the knowledge and resources of low, middle, and high-income countries.