Conflict and Peacebuilding

Conflict is a major development issue: poverty and injustice can feed the anger which leads to conflict, and this conflict can then deepen poverty and increase injustice. Violent conflict entails the loss of civilian life, social and economic disruption, displacement, and destruction of the environment and of infrastructure. There are on-going effects even after a conflict ends: a legacy of democracy and human rights abuses, landmines, surplus small arms, amputees, orphans, children who have missed out on education and communities who have been left mentally scarred by witnessing or taking part in atrocities.

Conflict is also a major factor for providers of humanitarian relief, as it not only creates the situations that see individuals in need of emergency humanitarian assistance, but also restricts access to those in need, and prevents communities from using traditional coping mechanisms. Conflict destabilises government and political systems that would usually provide services for the population, adding to distrust and fear between communities and contributing to the physical, psychological or emotional harm of the population.

Many of the world’s poor people live in countries affected by conflict. Violent conflict destroys hard-won relief and development gains, prevents progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and hinders economic growth. Of the 34 poor countries farthest from reaching the Millennium Development Goals, 22 are in or are emerging from violent conflict.
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