World Bank


Book Details

WDR 2011 : Conflict, Security, and Development
Author :  World Bank
Publisher : The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank
Pub. Date :  2011
ISBN : 978-0-8213-8439-8
DOI :  10.1596/978-0-8213-8439-8

Boxes, Figures, Tables

Collapse All | Expand All | Toggle All

<<  Prev Chapter Next Chapter  >>

Chapter 1 - Repeated Violence Threatens Development

Interstate and civil wars have declined since peaking in the early 1990s

Wars between states are now relatively rare (compared with the large wars of the 20th century). Major civil wars, after peaking in the early 1990s, have since declined (see box 1.1 ). The annual number of battle deaths from civil war fell from more than 160,000 a year in the 1980s to less than 50,000 a year in the 2000s. 1 Homicide rates in most regions have also been declining, except in Latin America and the Caribbean and possibly Sub-Saharan Africa. 2
1 These numbers include best estimates of battle deaths from Uppsala/PRIO Armed Conflict Dataset (Lacina and Gleditsch 2005; Harbom and Wallensteen 2010).

2 For details on regional trends in homicide, see the background paper on homicides prepared for this Report by Fearon 2010b and the 2008 Global Burden of armed Violence report (Geneva Declaration 2008). Homicide rates decreased for nearly every region of the world, except Latin America and the Caribbean; however, insufficient data are available on current and past homicide rates in Sub-Saharan Africa to establish a regional trend.


Key Message Repeated Violence Threatens Development

This chapter presents the development challenge of political and criminal violence. The effects can be devastating. Violence kills and displaces people, destroys human and physical capital, stunts growth, and all too often spills across borders. More than 1.5 billion people live in countries affected by fragility, violence, or conflict. A child living in a conflict-affected or fragile developing country is twice as likely to be undernourished as a child living in another developing country and nearly three times as likely to be out of school. No low-income fragile or conflict-affected state has yet achieved a single Millennium Development Goal (MDG). There is hope, however. Countries that have managed to reduce violence have also produced some of the fastest development gains.

The last two decades have also seen progress in developing global and regional standards to check the violent or coercive exercise of power. In Africa, the Lomé Declaration in 2000, which established standards and a regional response mechanism to unconstitutional changes in government, has been associated with a reduction in coups d’état from 15 in the 1990s to 5 from 2000 to mid-2010. 3 And, despite an increase in coups in the last five years, continental action to restore constitutionality has been consistently strong. In 1991, the Organization of American States adopted provisions supporting democratic and constitutional changes of government and laying out action in the event of a coup; a decision reinforced in the Democratic Charter of 2001. 4 The number of coups in Latin America fell from 30 between 1970 and 1989 to 3 since 1990. 5 New norms and associated sanctions to protect human rights have also made it possible to prosecute leaders for using extreme violence and coercion against their citizens: since 1990, 67 former heads of state have been prosecuted for serious human rights violations or economic crimes during their tenures. 6
3 WDR team calculations based on Powell and Thyne 2011.

5 The number of coup attempts also decreased, from 22 in the 1990s to 12 from 2000 through 2009. The average success rate of a coup attempt in the 1990s was 40 percent, compared to 29 percent in the period 2000–09 (see Powell and Thyne 2011).

Countries emerging from severe violence have made striking development gains, often with strong assistance from the international community. Conflict-affected states often begin their recovery from lower development levels than is “natural,” given their human and physical capital. This makes rapid strides in development possible, as shown in the following examples: 7
7 WDR team calculation based on World Bank 2010n.

  • Ethiopia more than quadrupled access to improved water, from 13 percent of the population in 1990 to 66 percent in 2009–10.

  • Mozambique more than tripled its primary school completion rate in just eight years, from 14 percent in 1999 to 46 percent in 2007.

  • Rwanda cut the prevalence of undernourishment from 53 percent of the population in 1997 to 34 percent in 2007.

Box 1.1 Interstate and civil war—1900 to the present

Interstate war has declined dramatically since the two world wars of the first half of the 20th century. Major civil conflicts (those with more than 1,000 battle deaths a year) increased during the postcolonial and Cold War era, peaking in the late 1980s and early 1990s (figure a ). Since 1991–92, when there were 21 active major civil wars, the number has steadily fallen to less than 10 each year since 2002. 8
Throughout this Report, countries affected by fragility, violence, and conflict include (1) countries affected by high levels of criminal violence—countries with homicide rates greater than 10 per 100,000 population, (2) conflict-affected countries—countries with major civil conflict (battle deaths greater than 1,000 per annum as defined in the Uppsala/PRIO Armed Conflict Database (Harbom and Wallensteen 2010; Lacina and Gleditsch 2005) from 2006 to 2009, (3) countries with UN or regionally mandated peacebuilding or peacekeeping, non-border missions, (4) fragile countries—low-income countries with institutional levels (World Bank’s CPIA less than 3.2) in 2006–09 (see World Bank 2010e). “Low income fragile and conflict-affected countries” are low-income countries that meet any of the last three criteria (homicide data are not consistently available for many low-income countries). Following World Bank definitions, “developing countries” includes both low- and middle-income countries.
 Figure A Civil wars peaked in the early 1990s and then declined. Major civil wars increased from 1960 through the late 1980s and have decreased since the early-1990s.

Source: Uppsala/PRIO Armed Conflict dataset (Harbom and Wallensteen 2010; Lacina and Gleditsch 2005).
The declines are all the more remarkable given the rising number of sovereign states—from around 50 in 1900 to more than 170 in 2008. Despite a tripling in the number of states and a doubling of population in the last 60 years, the percentage of countries involved in major conflicts (interstate or civil) has not increased, and there has been a decline since 1992.
In addition, civil wars have become less violent. Battle deaths have dropped from an average of 164,000 a year in the 1980s and 92,000 a year in the 1990s to 42,000 a year in the 2000s (figure b ). This is consistent with recent evidence of declines in the number of wars, human rights abuses, and fatalities in war—and in the indirect deaths associated with wars. 9
 Figure B Deaths from civil wars are also on the decline. As the number of civil wars declined, the total annual deaths from these conflicts (battle deaths) fell from more than 200,000 in 1988 to less than 50,000 in 2008.

Note: Civil wars are classified by scale and type in the Uppsala/PRIO Armed Conflict database (Harbom and Wallensteen 2010; Lacina and Gleditsch 2005). The minimum threshold for monitoring is a minor civil war with 25 or more battle deaths a year. Low, high, and best estimates of annual battle deaths per conflict are in Lacina and Gleditsch (2005, updated in 2009). Throughout this Report, best estimates are used, except when they are not available, in which case averages of the low and high estimates are used. Source: Uppsala/PRIO Armed Conflict dataset (Harbom and Wallenstein 2010; Lacina and Gleditsch 2005); Gleditsch and others 2002; Sundberg 2008; Gleditsch and Ward 1999; Human Security Report Project, forthcoming.

 Figure 1.1 Gangs and trafficking are global concerns. Following September 11, 2001, there was an exponential rise in media coverage of terrorism. Meanwhile, media coverage of gangs and trafficking has also been increasing. Recently, the coverage of gangs and trafficking approached that of civil war.

Note: Data in the figure were compiled by using all available news sources from the Factiva search engine from January 2000 to December 2009 and using the following four search terms: “terrorism,” “trafficking,” “gangs,” and “civil war” in multiple languages. Only articles where the search terms appeared in the headline and lead paragraph were counted. Source: Factiva.

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina, between 1995 and 2007, increased measles immunizations from 53 to 96 percent for children aged 12–23 months, and reduced infant mortality from 16 to 12.6 per 1,000 live births. Telephone lines per 100 people increased fourfold, from 7 to 28.

But global apprehension remains. Media references to terrorism peaked after 9/11 and then gradually declined, but references to gangs and trafficking steadily increased over the last decade (figure 1.1 ). The Middle East and North Africa has experienced a series of dramatic social protests and political turbulence, escalating into outright conflict in some countries. Violence in Afghanistan and Pakistan is consuming the attention of global policy makers. As this report goes to print, a new nation is emerging in Southern Sudan, with all the opportunities and risks involved in that endeavor. Drug-based violence appears to be on the increase in Central America, threatening both local and national governance. Global terrorism remains a serious threat. And new and unpredictable risks are likely to emerge from a combination of demographic pressure, climate change, and resource scarcity.

Modern violence comes in various forms and repeated cycles

The tendency to see violence as interstate warfare and major civil war obscures the variety and prevalence of organized violence—and underestimates its impact on people’s lives. The organized violence that disrupts governance and compromises development also includes local violence involving militias or between ethnic groups, gang violence, local resource-related violence and violence linked to trafficking (particularly drug trafficking), and violence associated with global ideological struggles (table 1.1 ). This violence is often recurrent, with many countries now experiencing repeated cycles of civil conflict and criminal violence.

Table 1.1 Country case examples of multiple forms of violence
Country Local intergroup conflict “Conventional” political conflict (contests for state power or for autonomy or independence) Widespread gang-related violence Organized crime or trafficking with accompanying violence Local conflicts with transnational ideological connections
Afghanistan Multiple incidents involving militias including Amanullah Khan and Abdul Rashid Dostum (2002–08) Taliban, other actors (2002-present) Warlordism (2002-present) Opium production and trafficking Al-Qaeda links with Taliban
Pakistan Intratribal conflict (2004–09) Pakistani Taliban (2007-present); Balochistan separatists (2004-present) Drug production and trafficking Cross-border ideological militant links
Mali Rebel infighting (1994); ethnic violence in Gao, Kayes, and Kindal regions (1998–99) Rebel groups in Northern Mali (1990-present) Transnational trafficking of illicit goods, principally drugs and weapons Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
Papua New Guinea Ethnic and tribal conflicts in the Highlands (2001-present) Secessionist movement (Bougainville Revolutionary Army, 1989–2001) Urban crime and gang violence Human trafficking; source and transit point for illicit timber trade
El Salvador Rebel groups (1979–92) La Mara Salva Trucha, La 18, La Mao Mao, and La Máquina Drug trafficking
Kenya Clan and ethnic group violence (2005–08) Election violence Widespread gang activity (1980s-present) Drug trafficking hub, particularly for heroin
Tajikistan Democratic and Islamist opposition groups (1992–96); Movement for Peace in Tajikistan (1998) Major transit country for Afghan narcotics; human trafficking Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
Philippines Local clan conflicts Muslim separatist groups in Mindanao (Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Moro National Liberation Front) Kidnap for ransom; human trafficking; methamphetamine source for East and Southeast Asia Al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah links with Abu Sayyaf (Mindanao)
Northern Ireland (United Kingdom) Local tensions over religion and economic disparities underlie much of the escalated violence Irish Republican Army (IRA) (1971–98) Splinter groups of IRA and Protestant paramilitaries Drug trafficking (amphetamines)

Violence is often interlinked

As table 1.1 suggests, many types of violence have direct links to each other, as illustrated in the following examples:

  • Countries rich in oil and other minerals that can be illegally trafficked are much more likely to have a civil war, 10 and a longer one, with rebels financing their activity through the sale of lootable resources, such as diamonds in Sierra Leone and coltan (the mineral columbite-tantalite) in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 11
    11 Ross 2003.

    Illegal trafficking has been a source of finance for armed groups in Afghanistan, Mindanao, and Northern Ireland. 12

  • In countries as diverse as Côte d’Ivoire, Jamaica, Kenya, and the Solomon Islands, militant groups or criminal gangs have been mobilized during past political contests and elections. 13

  • In Melanesia, the ritualized community conflicts of previous generations have escalated into urban gang violence associated with particular ethnic groups. 14
    14 Constraints tended to operate in ritualized warfare in Melanesia that, for example, served to limit the number of people killed or restrict the parties against whom violence could be used. The International Committee of the Red Cross compares these “traditional” constraints on the use of violence to those pertaining in modern international humanitarian law. See Dinnen, Porter, and Sage 2010.

  • In Central America, combatants on both sides of political conflicts between the state and rebel movements have migrated into organized crime. 15

In other cases, violence may be linked through underlying institutional weaknesses. Yemen now faces four separate conflicts: the Houthi rebellion in the North, the presence of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, grievances in the south, and the popular protests for change that have swept through the Arab world. There is little direct evidence of links between these conflicts, other than through the weakness of national institutions to address them. 16 Similarly, in Nepal, following a decade-long insurrection (1996–2006) a Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed between the Maoist rebels and the government. But violence between political rivals, quasi-political extortion, and criminal gang activity have increased markedly since the civil war. 17
17 Thapa 2010.

The modern landscape of violence also includes terrorist attacks by movements that claim ideological motives and recruit internationally. Terrorism—commonly, though not universally, defined as the use of force by nonstate actors against civilians 18 —stretches back at least to the Middle Ages. In modern times, the tactics and organizations have mutated. The dominant forms and groups from the 1960s to the early 1990s were leftist or nationalist groups based in OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries (the Baader-Meinhof Group, Red Brigades, the IRA, the Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), and groups associated with the Israeli-Palestinian struggle). In contrast, the 1990s saw a surge in right-wing nationalism and anti-government libertarian terrorism in the West, 19 until the center of gravity shifted with 9/11 and the later attacks in, among other places, Jakarta, London, Madrid, and Mumbai. This Report does not enter the debate on what terrorism is or is not. Instead, the concern with terrorism is about the elements of movements that pose particular threats to governance and development, along with their ability to recruit and to operate across national boundaries and the diverse motivations of those who join (chapter 2 ). While the preoccupation with terrorism is high in Western countries, some perspective on the global phenomenon is necessary—fatalities have been overwhelmingly concentrated on nonwestern targets in every year except 2001 (figure 1.2 ).
18 The UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change defined terrorism as “any action, in addition to actions already specified by the existing conventions on aspects of terrorism, that is intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or noncombatants, when the purpose of such an act, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or to compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act” (UN 2004a,52). Earlier debates focused on whether definitions should be based only on nonstate actors; the High-level Panel pointed out that issues of state use of force against civilians are covered in the international laws of war, international criminal law, and international humanitarian law. See also Geneva Conventions 1949; UN 1998.

19 Most notably, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing of the alfred p. Murrah Federal Building by terrorists affiliated with the U.S. Militia Movement, in which 168 people died: the most destructive attack on U.S. soil prior to September 11, 2001. See 2001.

 Figure 1.2 Victims of terrorism. Over the last decade, 86 percent of nearly 50,000 fatalities from terrorism occurred in attacks aimed at non-Western targets. The attacks of September 11, 2001, are the exception rather than the rule, and the phenomenon of terrorism has long affected all regions of the world.

Note: From 1998 to 2009, 41,753 fatalities occurred in attacks on nonwestern targets, of a global total of 48,828. These statistics are based on the nationality of the principal target of each attack; “Western” targets are defined as all targets from OECD countries, targets in all other countries are defined as “non-Western.” So attacks on non-Western targets may occasionally include Western fatalities, and vice versa. Source: National Counter Terrorism Center 2010; Global Terrorism Database 2010; WDR team calculations. The Global Terrorism Database (GTD) contains data from 1998 to 2008 and the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) from 2004 to 2009. Pie charts from 1999 to 2003 are thus based on GTD data; from 2005 to 2007 on average shares from the two datasets; and for 2009 on NCTC data.

Organized crime and trafficking are an important part of current violent threats

Trafficking of drugs, people, and commodities has been an international concern for decades. Criminal networks take advantage of communications, transport, and financial services—and overwhelm enforcement mechanisms that are either rooted in national jurisdictions or hampered by low cooperation and weak capacity. Drugs connect some of the wealthiest and poorest areas of the world in mutual violence, showing that many solutions to violence require a global perspective. The annual value of the global trade in cocaine and heroin today is estimated at US$153 billion (heroin US$65 billion and cocaine US$88 billion). Europe and North America consume 53 percent of the heroin and 67 percent of the cocaine; however, the high retail prices in these markets mean that economic share of consumption in Europe and North America is even higher: cocaine consumption in the two regions accounted for an estimated US$72 billion of the US$88 billion in global trade. 22 Drugs provide the money that enables organized criminals to corrupt and manipulate even the most powerful societies—to the ultimate detriment of the urban poor, who provide most of the criminals’ foot-soldiers and who find themselves trapped in environments traumatized by criminal violence. 23

Box 1.2 Instability, political violence, and drug trafficking in West Africa

West Africa is one of the poorest and least stable regions in the world. All but 3 of its 16 countries are on the United Nations (UN) list of “least developed countries.” Since independence, countries in the region have experienced at least 58 coups and attempted coups and many civil wars—and rebel groups remain active.
Where conflict has ended, recovery and the creation of resilient institutions take time; and the weakness of governance in post-conflict environments attracts transnational criminal networks. International drug traffickers began in 2004 to use the region as a base for shipping cocaine from South America to Europe.
In 2008 an estimated 25 tons of cocaine passed through West Africa, with a transit value of about US$1 billion by the time it reached West Africa, and an ultimate value of some US$6.8 billion at its destinations in Western Europe. 20 Drug traffickers use some of the profits to bribe government officials. As the UNODC (UN Office on Drugs and Crime) notes in its Transnational Organized Crime Threat Assessment for West Africa, “Law enforcement officials can be offered more than they could earn in a lifetime simply to look the other way.” 21
UNODC 2010a, 235–36.
 Figure Trafficking and violence during conflicts in West Africa, 1990–2009. West Africa has experienced political, communal, and criminal violence since 1990. During conflicts, diamonds, timber, and oil were trafficked. Recently the region has become a transit route for cocaine trafficked from South America to Europe.

Note: The map above depicts West African political violence 1990–2009 overlaid trafficking and seizure data. Violence data for Sierra Leone and Liberia are for 1990–2010, while violence data for all other states are for 1997–2009. Source: Conflict data are from Raleigh and others 2010 ACLED database (Armed Conflict Location and Event Database), seizure and trafficking data are from UNODC 2010a; WDR team calculations.

Drug trafficking organizations thus have resources that can dwarf those of the governments attempting to combat them. 24 The value-added of cocaine traveling the length of Central America is equivalent to 5 percent of the region’s GDP—and more than 100 times the US$65 million the United States allocates under the Mérida Initiative to assist interdiction efforts by Mexico and Central American nations. 25 Conservative estimates suggest there are 70,000 gang members in Central America, outnumbering military personnel there. 26 In many countries, drug cartels exert a heavy influence over provincial governance and, occasionally, national governance (box 1.2 ).
24 See Demombynes 2010.

26 Estimate of number of gang members from Comisión de Jefes y Jefas de policía de Centroamérica y El Caribe in World Bank 2010c. In terms of military forces, Nicaragua and Honduras have armies of about 12,000 soldiers each, El Salvador has 13,000 soldiers, and Guatemala has 27,000 (see Rodgers, Muggah, and Stevenson 2009).

Organized crime networks engage in a wide variety of illicit activities, including trafficking drugs, people, and small arms and light weapons; financial crimes; and money laundering. These illicit activities require the absence of rule of law and, therefore, often thrive in countries affected by other forms of violence. According to various studies, organized crime generates annual revenues ranging from US$120 billion to as high as US$330 billion, 27 with drug trafficking the most profitable. Other estimates suggest that the world’s shadow economy, including organized crime, could be as high as 10 percent of GDP globally. 28
27 UNODC 2010a. This figure only accounts for illicit flows of criminal activities, namely drug, arms, trafficking people, smuggling, counterfeit currency and goods, and racketeering. Including corruption and fraudulent commercial activities, the value of illicit flows increase to as high as US$1.1 trillion annually. See also Baker 2005.

Countries affected by political violence that have weak institutions are also susceptible to trafficking. Since 2003, drug trafficking organizations have taken advantage of institutional weaknesses in West Africa to establish their operations there, resulting in a fourfold increase in cocaine seizures heading to Europe since 2003. Box 1.2 shows how trafficking and violence coexist in the region. 29 Armed groups in Central Africa secure their funding from mining and smuggling precious minerals such as gold. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, an estimated 40 tons of gold, worth US$1.24 billion, are smuggled out every year. 30 The link between criminal trafficking and violence is not unique to Africa. For example, Myanmar is still a major source of opium, accounting for 10 percent of global production, and continues to be a major trade hub to East and Southeast Asia. Illegal logging remains a major challenge in Myanmar; although trade in timber from Myanmar fell by 70 percent from 2005 to 2008, illegal trade into countries in the region continues. Myanmar also serves as a major conduit of wildlife trade coming from Africa and South Asia. 31

Today’s violence occurs in repeated cycles

There has been a tendency in the development community to assume that the progression from violence to sustained security is fairly linear—and that repeated violence is the exception. But recurring civil wars have become a dominant form of armed conflict in the world today. Every civil war that began since 2003 was a resumption of a previous civil war. 32 Of all conflicts initiated in the 1960s, 57 percent were the first conflict in their country (many countries having been newly created after the colonial era). 33 First conflicts fell significantly in each subsequent decade, to the point where 90 percent of conflicts initiated in the 21st century were in countries that had already had a civil war (table 1.2 ). Fighting has also continued after several recent political settlements, as in Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. As the previous section showed, successful peace agreements can be followed by high levels of criminal violence.
32 See Uppsala/PRIO Armed Conflict Database (Harbom and Wallensteen 2010; Lacina and Gleditsch 2005). For discussions of the trends in civil war onset and termination see Hewitt, Wilkenfeld, and Gurr 2010; Sambanis 2004; Elbadawi, Hegre, and Milante 2008; Collier and others 2003.

33 The statistics in table 1.2 are based on the incidence of civil war after World War II, thus countries with previous conflicts in the 1960s are those that had conflicts between 1945 and 1959, and those with conflicts in the 1970s had conflict between 1945 and 1969, and so on.

Several Central American countries that ended civil wars are now experiencing more violent deaths from criminal activity than during their civil wars. Since 1999, homicide rates have increased in El Salvador (+101 percent), Guatemala (+91 percent), and Honduras (+63 percent) as criminal networks linked to drug trafficking have become more active (figure 1.3 ). All these countries suffered civil wars or political instability in the 1980s and 1990s. While El Salvador and Guatemala signed peace accords in the 1990s that avoided a return to civil war, both now face levels of violent organized crime equally disruptive to development.

Table 1.2 Countries often relapse into conflict
Repeated violence is common in the world today, suggesting that few countries are ever truly “post-conflict.” The rate of onset in countries with a previous conflict has been increasing since the 1960s, and every civil war that began since 2003 was in a country that had had a previous civil war.
Decade Onsets in countries with no previous conflict (%) Onsets in countries with a previous conflict (%) Number of onsets
1960s 57 43 35
1970s 43 57 44
1980s 38 62 39
1990s 33 67 81
2000s 10 90 39

Source: Walter 2010; WDR team calculations.
Note: Previous conflict includes any major conflict since 1945.

 Figure 1.3 Criminal violence in Central America is on the rise despite political peace. Homicides have increased in every country in Central America since 1999: in El Salvador from 30 to 61 homicides per 100,000 people and in Guatemala from 24 to 46 per 100,000.

Note: Base year for homicide rate is 1999 = 0. Source: WDR team calculations based on UNODC 2007; UNODC and the World Bank 2007; and national sources.

The developmental consequences of violence are severe

The costs of violence for citizens, communities, countries, and the world are enormous, both in terms of human suffering and social and economic consequences. The costs are both direct (loss of life, disability, and destruction) and indirect (prevention, instability, and displacement). While some of these losses can be directly measured and quantified in economic terms, others are not easily measured (trauma, loss of social capital and trust, prevention cost, and forgone investment and trade). 34
34 See Skaperdas and others 2009 and Geneva Declaration 2008 for a deeper exploration of these costs and of the methods for measuring them. See also Human Security Report Project, forthcoming, for a discussion of measuring direct and indirect deaths associated with civil wars and other conflict.

Human costs of violence

Most fundamentally, violence compromises human security and dignity—and for this reason, freedom from violence and fear is a basic human right. The 2008 Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, endorsed by more than 90 states, argues that “living free from the threat of armed violence is a basic human need.” 35 To better understand the impact of violence on lives and livelihoods, the WDR team asked the Norwegian research institute Fafo to conduct surveys in seven countries and territories, involving a mix of nationally representative samples as well as subregions affected by violence. 36 In the past three years, up to 26 percent of respondents report that their immediate family’s home had been looted, up to 32 percent had been displaced, and up to 19 percent had a family member who had been tortured (figure 1.4 ).
36 Country representative samples were used for Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, and Colombia. The surveys were undertaken in regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mali. Independent representative samples were used in Gaza and the West Bank. the original country sample included Haiti; however, the survey could not be undertaken following the earthquake of January 2010.

The most vulnerable groups in society are frequently most affected by violence. Tied to their homes or places of work, the vulnerable have little of the protection that money or well-placed contacts afford. Poor child nutrition for those displaced or unable to earn incomes due to violence has lasting effects, impairing physical and cognitive functioning. Violence destroys school infrastructure, displaces teachers, and interrupts schooling, often for an entire generation of poor children. War, looting, and crime destroy the household assets of the poor, and fear of violent attacks prevents them from tilling their fields or traveling to schools, clinics, workplaces, and markets. For poor people in poor countries, extended families are often their only insurance, and deaths in the family often leave them alone and unprotected. 37
37 See Justino and Verwimp 2008; Blattman, forthcoming. See also papers published through the Households in Conflict Network ( for broader analysis of micro-level conflict effects on households and individuals.

 Figure 1.4 Violence creates suffering for families in myriad ways: Responses to survey on experiences of violence on immediate family member in last three years. People in conflict-affected countries experience displacement, loss of contact, imprisonment, and humiliation, which affect entire families, disrupting life and destroying social capital. In Gaza, a third of respondents reported that someone in their immediate family had been displaced in the last three years. In the West Bank, a third had experienced someone being imprisoned. In Sierra Leone, 35 percent of the respondents reported that they lost contact with a member of their immediate family in the last three years.

Note: Surveys were undertaken in early 2010 for seven countries, territories, or subnational areas. The samples were selected from multiple regions to cover countries varying geographically, at different stages of development and facing or recovering from differing types of violence. Country representative samples were used for Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, and Colombia. The surveys were undertaken in selected regions of Democratic Republic of Congo and Mali. Independent representative samples were used in Gaza and the West Bank. Source: Bøås, Tiltnes, and Flatø 2010.

Development impacts of violence

Poverty reduction in countries affected by major violence is on average nearly a percentage point slower per year than in countries not affected by violence. 38 After a few years of major violence, the contrast can be quite stark: countries affected by violence throughout the 1980s lagged in poverty reduction by 8 percentage points, and those that had experienced major violence throughout the 1980s and 1990s lagged by 16 percentage points. On average, a country experiencing major violence over the entire period (1981–2005) had a poverty rate 21 percentage points higher than a country that saw no violence (figure 1.5 ). The disruptive effect of violence on development and the widening gap between countries affected by violence and those not affected are deeply troubling.
38 These results are based on country year fixed effect Generalized Least Squares regressions for a panel of developing countries from 1981 to 2005, based on poverty data from Chen, Ravallion, and Sangraula 2008 (available on POVCALNET ( and the WDR database. Countries with three years of major violence (major civil war or violent deaths above 10 per 100,000, equivalent to a major civil war) lagged behind other countries by 2.7 percentage points on poverty headcount. Those with minor civil war (or equivalent homicides) lagged behind countries without violence by 1.29 percentage points. These results were statistically significant at the p < 0.10 level and robust to period effects and time trends.

The direct impact of violence falls primarily on young males, the majority of fighting forces, but women and children often suffer disproportionately from indirect effects (see table 1.3 ). 39 Men make up 96 percent of the detainee population and 90 percent of the missing, 40 women and children comprise close to 80 percent of refugees and those internally displaced. 41 And violence begets violence: children who witness abuses have a higher tendency to perpetrate violence later in life. 42

Sexual and gender-based violence remains a major problem, particularly in fragile and conflict-affected countries. 43 Most contemporary armed conflicts are “low-intensity” civil wars fought by small, poorly trained, and lightly armed forces that avoid major military engagements—but that frequently target civilians with great brutality. 44 A global review of 50 countries finds significant increases in gender-based violence following a major war. 45 In some cases, it occurs due to a breakdown of social and moral order and to increased impunity, but the threat and perpetration of sexual and physical violence against women and children can also be a systematic weapon of war—to dominate, to terrorize, to humiliate. Mass rapes have occurred in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liberia, Peru, and Uganda. 46 In Rwanda’s 1994 genocide alone, an estimated 250,000 rapes took place. 47 Although those suffering rape and sexual abuse are overwhelmingly young women, 49 men can also be subject to sexual victimization and violence, or be forced to perpetrate sexual violence against others, even their family members. 50
43 UN 2000, 2011.

44 Human Security Centre 2005.

 Figure 1.5 Widening gap in poverty between countries affected by violence and those not experiencing violence. Poverty is on the decline for much of the world, but countries affected by violence are lagging behind. For every three years that a country is affected by major violence (battle deaths or excess deaths from homicides equivalent to a major war), poverty reduction lags behind by 2.7 percentage points. For some countries affected by violence, poverty has actually increased.

Source: WDR team calculations based on Chen, Ravallion, and Sangraula 2008 poverty data (available at POVCALNET, HTTP://

Table 1.3 The gender-disaggregated impacts of violent conflict
Direct impacts Indirect impacts

  • Higher rates of morbidity and mortality from battle deaths

  • Higher likelihood to be detained or missing

  • Sexual and gender-based violence: sex-selective massacres; forcibly conscripted or recruited; subjected to torture, rape, and mutilation; forced to commit sexual violence upon others

  • Higher rates of disability from injury

  • Risk of ex-combatants’ involvement in criminal or illegal activities and difficulties in finding livelihoods

  • Increased prevalence of other forms of violence—particularly domestic violence


  • Higher likelihood to be internally displaced persons and refugees

  • Sexual and gender-based violence: being subjected to rape, trafficking, and prostitution; forced pregnancies and marriages

  • Reproductive health problems

  • Women’s reproductive and care-giving roles under stress

  • Changed labor market participation from death of family members and “added worker effect”

  • Higher incidence of domestic violence

  • Possibility for greater political participation

  • Women’s increased economic participation due to changing gender roles during conflict


  • Depression, trauma, and emotional distress

  • Asset and income loss

  • Tendency toward increased migration

  • Disrupted patterns of marriage and fertility

  • Loss of family and social networks, including insurance mechanisms

  • Interrupted education

  • Eroded well-being, particularly poor health and disability from poverty and malnutrition

Source: Anderlini 2010a; multiple sources described in endnote. 48

A major human consequence of violence is the displacement of people from their homes. At the end of 2009 some 42 million people around the world had been forced to leave or flee their homes due to conflict, violence, and human rights violations—15 million refugees outside their country of nationality and habitual residence, and 27 million internally displaced persons (IDPs). And developing countries are also hosts to the vast majority of refugees, putting additional strains on their local and national capacities. In 2009 developing countries hosted 10.2 million refugees, or nearly 70 percent of the global total. The rising numbers of IDP populations, which include substantial new displacements in 2009 and 2010 in countries such as Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sudan, undermine recovery from violence and interrupt human development. 51

The suffering of displaced populations is often protracted. Camps in Chad, Jordan, Lebanon, and Sudan have become homes for many IDPs, not just for months or years, but often for decades. Most forced displacements in the 2000s were caused by internal armed conflicts rather than international conflicts. Population movements into urban centers have increased the potential for crime, social tension, communal violence, and political instability. 52 Meanwhile, the large-scale repatriation movements of the past have diminished, with return figures dropping since 2004. 53

For all these reasons, areas affected by violence pose a major challenge to meeting MDGs. The arrested social development in countries affected by violence is evident in the poor showing in human development indicators (figure 1.6 ). Development in these countries is lagging on nearly every indicator associated with the MDGs. The development deficit is concentrated in fragile and conflict-affected and recovering states, 54 which account for 77 percent of school-age children not enrolled in primary school, 61 percent of the poverty, and 70 percent of infant mortality. 55
54 “Recovering countries” are those affected by fragility, conflict, or violence in the previous 10 years.

55 Similar effects are found in Bowman and others 2008.

 Figure 1.6a Violence is the main constraint to meeting the MDGs. a. Incidence ratio of undernourishment, poverty and other ills for fragile, recovering, and non-fragile developing countries (non-FCS). A child in a fragile or conflict-affected state is twice as likely to be undernourished as a child in another developing country—and nearly three times as likely to be out of primary school.

Note: Figure 1.6 a shows the incidence of each of the ills associated with unmet MDGs for fragile, conflict-affected, and recovering countries in relation to the incidence for all other developing countries. The ratio is weighted by the affected population, so each bar can be read as the odds-ratio of a person being affected relative to a person in a non-fragile or conflict-affected state: for example, children of primary school age are three times as likely to be out of school in fragile and conflict-affected states as those in other developing countries. Source: World Bank 2010n; WDR team calculations based on Gates and others 2010.

 Figure b. Countries affected by violence account for: Fragile and conflict-affected states and those recovering from conflict and fragility, account for 47 percent of the population considered here, but they account for 70 percent of infant deaths, 65 percent of people without access to safe water, and 77 of percent of children missing from primary school.

Note: Current fragile and conflict-affected states account for 33 percent of the population of the countries considered here. States recovering from fragility and conflict account for an additional 14 percent of the population. So, if the MDG deficit were borne evenly, these countries would account for 47 percent of each of the ills described. The red to orange people-figures represent the percentage of the deficit for each MDG in fragile, conflict-affected, and recovering countries. The blue figures represent the persons afflicted in other developing countries. Excluded here are Brazil, China, India, and Russian Federation, all significantly ahead of or on par with other developing countries on the MDGs (see panel a). Due to their size, including them in the calculations would skew any discussion involving the global population. Source: World Bank 2010n; WDR team calculations based on Gates and others 2010.

People in fragile and conflict-affected states are more likely to be impoverished, to miss out on schooling, and to lack access to basic health services. Children born in a fragile or conflict-affected state are twice as likely to be undernourished and nearly twice as likely to lack access to improved water; those of primary-school age are three times as likely not to be enrolled in school; and they are nearly twice as likely to die before their fifth birthday. As the world takes stock of progress on the MDGs, it is apparent that the gap between violence-prone countries and other developing countries is widening. 56 No low-income, fragile state has achieved a single MDG, and few are expected to meet targets by 2015. 57 Because most fragile and conflict-affected states have made slower progress in the last 10 years, the gap is widening. For example, over the last two decades, infant mortality has been falling in nearly all countries, 58 but the reduction in infant mortality in fragile and conflict-affected countries has lagged behind (figure 1.7 ). Of the countries with infant mortality greater than 100 per 1,000 in 1990, those not affected by conflict have reduced infant mortality by 31 percent—while fragile and conflict-affected states reduced it by only 19 percent. If these fragile and conflict-affected states had made the same rate of progress on infant mortality as other developing countries, almost a million more children in these countries each year would survive their first year of life.
57 In 2010, after 10 years, fragile and conflict-affected states had closed only 20 percent of the gap in reaching the MDGs, while low-income countries not affected by violence had closed 40–70 percent of their MDG gap (see World Bank 2010e). Current data compiled for the MDG Summit in 2010 show that no low-income fragile or conflict-affected state has met the targets for a single MDG. Some countries are close and have made dramatic gains in recent years and it is possible that they could meet targets. For more information, see World Bank 2010n; UNSTAT 2010; UN 2007.

58 Progress in basic health services has advanced even in war zones; see the Human Security Report Project, forthcoming, for a description of global trends.

Subnational violence can have severe socioeconomic consequences in middle-income countries. In countries with stronger economies and institutions, impacts tend to be relatively localized, but they still hold back key segments of human development and reduce the flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) into affected areas. 59 In the Indonesian province of Aceh, the economic cost of the conflict was estimated at US$10.7 billion, more than 60 percent of it through the damage and destruction of agriculture, livestock, enterprises, and fisheries. And during conflict, Aceh’s infant mortality and poverty were 50 percent higher than the national average. 60

 Figure 1.7 The widening gap in infant mortality rates between countries affected by violence and others. Of countries where more than 1 in 10 infants died in the first year of life in 1990, those affected by violence are lagging behind in reducing infant mortality. The gap between these two sets of countries has doubled since 1990.

Note: Due to limited data, the most recent available data in the preceding five-year period were used for the point estimates. The sample consists of all countries with infant mortality higher than 100 per 1,000 live births. Low-income countries that were never fragile or conflict-affected from 1990 to 2008 are in the “non-fragile” cohort, and countries affected by conflict or fragile throughout the period are in the “fragile and/or conflict-affected” cohort. Source: World Bank 2010n; WDR team calculations.

The effects of violence are long-lasting. For countries that have gone through civil war, recovering to original growth paths takes an average of 14 years of peace. 61 Until 1990, Burkina Faso and Burundi had similar incomes and growth paths. With the onset of civil war in Burundi, real incomes declined to 1970 levels. 62 With no major conflicts, Burkina Faso now has an income more than two-and-a-half times that of Burundi (figure 1.8 ). This effect was confirmed locally in the Moving Out of Poverty study, which found that conflict-affected villages that feared renewed violence for two to three years out of the past decade stalled economically, while non-conflict-affected communities experienced only two to four weeks of apprehension over renewed violence and did not experience economic slowdown. 63
62 Note that civil war coding in the Armed Conflict Database does not include all political violence. As evidenced by the experience of Burundi, while the onset of political violence resulted in battle deaths coded as civil war in Burundi in 1991, there was one-sided violence in the 1960s through 1980s in Burundi. See the Uppsala/PRIO Armed Conflict Database (Harbom and Wallensteen 2010; Lacina and Gleditsch 2005).

 Figure 1.8 Effects of violence on growth are dramatic and long-lasting. Until the early 1990s, per capita incomes and growth in Burkina Faso and Burundi were similar. Following massive violence in Burundi, their growth paths diverged. In real terms, Burundi has lost nearly two decades of income growth, with incomes set back to 1970 levels.

Source: World Bank 2010n; Gleditsch and others 2002; Gates and others 2010; Uppsala/PRIO Armed Conflict dataset (Harbom and Wallensteen 2010; Lacina and Gleditsch 2005); WDR team calculations.

One reason for the persistence of low growth in conflict-affected countries may be the difficulty of reassuring investors, both domestic and foreign. A civil war reduces a country’s average rating on the International Country Risk Guide by about 7.7 points (on a 100-point scale); the effect is similar for criminal violence. 64 For the first three years after conflict subsides, countries have a rating 3.5 points below similar non-conflict countries. Although there is often a postviolence surge of economic activity, it is unlikely to be investment-based activity that reflects renewed investor confidence. Trade can take many years to recover as a result of investor perceptions of risk. It can drop between 12 and 25 percent in the first year of a civil war, and for the most severe civil wars (those with a cumulative death toll greater than 50,000) the loss of trade is around 40 percent. 65 And the interruption in trade can persist even 25 years after the onset of conflict. While effects are smaller for less severe conflicts, it still takes on average 20 years for trade to recover to pre-conflict levels.

Violence also has a lasting effect on human rights. The Physical Rights Integrity Index, 66 a measure of respect for human rights, drops on average by 3.6 points over the course of a major civil war (on a scale of 0–8, with a score of 0 indicating no government respect for human rights). That human rights abuses increase sharply during episodes of violence is to be expected. Less expected, however, is that after a conflict ends, the average society takes more than 10 years to return to the level of human rights observance before the conflict. 67 The unraveling of trust citizens have in one another and in the state due to violence is discussed in chapter 2 . 68
66 For more details on the Index see Cingranelli and Richards 1999.

In addition to the human suffering, organized violence poses social and economic costs that can dwarf the impact of other events of concern to development practitioners, such as economic shocks and natural disasters. While all the costs cannot be quantified, conservative estimates of the economic costs of lost production range from 2 to 3 percent of GDP both for civil war and for very high levels of violent crime (box 1.3 ). 69 This does not include the destruction or loss of assets, which can also be considerable. For example, the material costs of crime in Latin America and the Caribbean are estimated to be nearly twice those of the United States, as a percentage of GDP. 70 Other indirect costs may not always be reflected by measures of productivity, as when military spending increases and commensurately reduces investments in development and human capital. Military spending typically increases by 2.2 percent during civil war and remains 1.7 percent higher than prewar levels after conflict. 71 As noted at the beginning of this chapter, these estimates do not include the human costs of conflict, including deaths, injury, trauma, and stress.
69 For an overview of costs of conflict and violence, see Skaperdas and others 2009. Specific estimates of the economic costs associated with conflict are found in Hoeffler, von Billerbeck, and Ijaz 2010; Imai and Weinstein 2000; Collier and Hoeffler 1998; Stewart, Huang, and Wang 2001; Cerra and Saxena 2008; Collier, Chauvet, and Hegre 2007. An overview for the estimates of the cost of crime is found in Skaperdas and others 2009, with specific estimates in Riascos and Vargas 2004; UNDP 2006.

70 Skaperdas and others 2009 survey the recent literature on costs of crime. Material costs of crime, including injuries, property damage, and theft, were estimated as 3.6 percent of GDP for the Latin American and Caribbean countries and 2.1 percent of GDP for the United States.

Spillover effects of violence

The development consequences of violence, like its origins, spill across borders, with implications for neighbors, for the region, and globally. Violence in one country can create a “bad neighborhood.” For example, the manifestations of conflict in Liberia under President Charles Taylor during the late 1990s (people trained in violence, proliferation of small arms, and illicit trade in timber and diamonds) hurt Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. 72 Bad neighborhoods affect economic prospects: estimates suggest that countries lose 0.7 percent of their annual GDP for each neighbor involved in civil war. 73 And a doubling of terrorist incidents in a country is estimated to reduce bilateral trade with each trading partner by some 4 percent. 74 As terrorism taps into illicit global markets, violent extremists can finance their activities through smuggling, evading taxes, trafficking drugs and counterfeit money, and trading foreign currency on illegal exchanges in Europe. 75
73 Bayer and Rupert 2004, while Baker and others 2002 found that the effect of conflict is equivalent to a 33 percent tariff barrier. For an updated discussion of the methodology for determining growth effects of conflict and theory and new analysis based on primary and secondary neighbors, see De Groot 2010; Murdoch and Sandler 2002; Bayer and Rupert 2004. The effects of conflict on trade are reviewed in Glick and Taylor 2005.

74 The study investigated bilateral trade flows in more than 200 countries from 1960–93 (see Nitsch and Schumacher 2004).

Piracy also reduces regional trade and economic activity, as, for example, Somali pirates operating in the Gulf of Aden. 76 To counter piracy in the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean, more than 27 countries deployed naval forces in anti-piracy missions, with a range of costs estimated at US$1.3–2.0 billion annually. 77 At a global level, efforts aimed at containing and deterring maritime piracy are estimated to range between US$1.7 and US$4.5 billion in 2010. 78 All told, maritime piracy is estimated to have direct economic costs of between US$5.7 billion and US$11.2 billion, once ransoms, insurance, and rerouting of ships are included. 79
76 See Gilpin 2009.

77 For methodology, see Bowden 2010; for cost to the U.S. Navy, see U.S. Government Accountability Office 2010a. For additional information, see European Affairs 2010 and Hanson 2010.

78 This figure includes ranges for the costs of deterrent security equipment, cost of naval forces, cost of piracy prosecutions, and operating cost of anti-piracy organizations (see Bowden 2010).

79 Included in this figure are the costs of ransoms, insurance premium, rerouting, deterrent security equipment, naval forces, piracy prosecutions, and anti-piracy organizations (see Bowden 2010; Chalk 2008).

Box 1.3 Violent crime and insecurity exact high economic costs

Indirect costs—associated with stress and trauma, time off work due to violent incidents, and lower productivity from injury or mental illness—far overshadow direct costs. In Brazil in 2004, the direct medical costs of all interpersonal violence were estimated at US$235 million and the indirect medical costs at US$9.2 billion. Comparable figures, respectively, for Jamaica are US$29.5 million and US$385 million, and for Thailand US$40.3 million and US$432 million. Emerging findings from Kenya estimate total costs of violence at 1.2 percent of GDP. In the United Kingdom, the direct costs of domestic violence are estimated at £5.7 billion annually.
When other indirect costs are added, such as those for policing, health care, private security, and reduced investment, the figures are even more staggering. In Guatemala, criminal violence cost an estimated US$2.4 billion, or 7.3 percent of GDP, in 2005—more than twice the damage caused by Hurricane Stan the same year, and more than twice the budget for the ministries of agriculture, health, and education for 2006. In El Salvador, criminal violence in 2003 cost about US$1.7 billion, or 11.5 percent of GDP. The Mexican government estimates that crime and violence cost the country 1 percent of GDP from lost sales, jobs, and investment in 2007 alone. Estimates suggest that if Haiti and Jamaica reduced their crime levels to those of Costa Rica, they could increase annual GDP growth by 5.4 percentage points. These costs are comparable to estimates of the cost of civil war. Based on growth base lines for cross-country panel date in the last 50 years, researchers estimate the costs of civil wars to range from 1.6 percentage to 2.3 percentage of GDP per year of violence. For the average country affected by violence, these effects, compounded over time, can cost the equivalent of up to 30 years of missing GDP growth.
Insecurity takes a significant toll on the private sector, in direct costs of criminal acts (theft, arson, or other victimization) and in investments in security systems. Cross-country surveys found that these costs represented 1–3 percent of sales in Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda, and 6 percent in Kenya. In nearly all cases, the bulk of these costs were for security technology and services. These estimates are conservative: other studies estimate the costs of crime to range from 3.1 percent to 7.8 percent of GDP.
Source: Collier and Hoeffler 2004; Butchart and others 2008; Walby 2004; Geneva Declaration 2008; UNDP 2005c, 2006; UNODC and World Bank 2007; Skaperdas and others 2009; Willman and Makisaka 2010; Farrell and Clark 2004; Altbeker 2005; Alda and Cuesta 2010; Kenya Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation 2007; World Bank 2010d.

The spillover effects of violence are not just economic. As described above, nearly 75 percent of the world’s refugees are hosted by neighboring countries. 80 Refugees from Liberia and Togo have sought shelter in Ghana for extended periods, straining the state’s ability to deliver services and opening tensions with the local population. 81 The massive influx of Kosovo Albanians into Macedonia in 1999 during the Kosovo conflict heightened tensions between the Slavic majority and the Albanian minority. 82 Infectious disease can also be traced to disrupted health care associated with violence or areas without public services. For every 1,000 refugees entering an African country, for example, the host state acquires 1,400 new malaria cases. 83
81 Out of 13,658 refugees in Ghana at the end of 2009, nearly 11,500 were from Liberia (84 percent) with a further 1,600 from Togo (12 percent) (UNHCR 2010).

Spillovers of violence and instability are felt globally. Even for parts of the world fairly immune to insecurity, thanks to wealth and distance, the costs of global insecurity are both psychological (in the preoccupation with threats of gangs, trafficking, and terrorism) and very practical, through the increased costs of security measures. A study of 18 Western European countries from 1971 to 2004 revealed that each additional trans-national terrorist incident per million people reduced economic growth by 0.4 percentage points, and each additional domestic terrorist incident reduced it by 0.2. 84 And after insurgents struck an export terminal owned by Royal Dutch Shell in the oil-rich Niger Delta in June 2009, oil prices rose US$2.33 a barrel (3.4 percent) on the New York Mercantile Exchange. 85 In the four weeks following the beginning of the uprising in Libya, oil prices increased by 15 percent. 86
86 WDR team calculations based on Europe Brent Spot Price FOB (dollars per barrel) reported by the U.S. Energy Information Administration 2011.

Repeated violence is a shared challenge

Political and criminal violence both disrupt development—and occur in repeated cycles. It is essential to look across that spectrum and to consider local conflicts, social protest, gang violence, organized crime, and trans-national terrorism alongside the major civil wars that have been the focus of most academic research. This interlocking landscape raises questions about the coherence of the approaches to deal with these various forms of violence—approaches often divorced from one another—as well as the treatment of “post-conflict” reconstruction and “prevention” as separate problems. The risks of violence and the responses to it are shared by countries across divides of income, national identity, religion, and ideology. One of the key messages of this Report is the shared interest in global and regional peace and prosperity—and the potential for greater exchanges between countries on how to address the common challenges.

Feature 1 The interlinked and evolving nature of modern organized violence

The Caribbean has known political and criminal violence for decades. Except for Cuba, every large island country and many smaller ones—the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and trinidad and Tobago—have homicide levels above 10 per 100,000. In some of them, criminal gang activity has spilled over into political violence, with mutually reinforcing dynamics. Since 1970, most of Haiti’s elections have been marked by violence—with 34 deaths in 1987 and 89 in 2004—and the country experienced political violence in 2010. The relationship can be reversed as well; in some countries, drug trafficking has exacerbated local organized violence. 87
The Western Balkans are known for the civil wars that dissolved Yugoslavia in the 1990s. In the chaotic aftermath of the wars, many turned to trafficking in drugs, people, human organs, and weapons, such that organized crime perpetrated the most widespread and destabilizing violence. 88 Crime has gradually declined in recent years, but organized crime remains formidable. 89 Some 32 percent of human trafficking victims come from or through the Balkans, and the Balkan route is the main trafficking corridor for more than US$20 billion in heroin from Afghanistan to Western Europe a year. 90 Gang-related violence targeted political figures. The Zemun gang, with close connections to heroin trafficking, assassinated Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic in 2003. 91
In West Africa, the conventional political conflict that began in Liberia and spread to Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire, later gave way to more organized crime across the region, as warring factions pillaged natural resources, drug trafficking networks entered the region, and the rule of law weakened. What had begun as a means of financing war became a successful business model for trafficking diamonds, timber, arms, and humans. 92 Charles Taylor, the leader of one of the factions and later president of Liberia, is accused in his indictment by the Special Court of Sierra Leone of “a joint criminal enterprise . . . [to exercise] control over the territory of Sierra Leone . . . and the population . . . [through] unlawful killings, abductions, forced labor, physical and sexual violence, use of child soldiers . . . .” 93 It is estimated that Taylor amassed US$105–450 million through this criminal enterprise. 94 At the height of the conflict in Sierra Leone, illegal exports accounted for more than 90 percent of its diamond trade, 95 or more than US$200 million in 2002. 96
In Nigeria, a largely subnational struggle in the oil-rich Niger Delta has given way to organized criminal syndicates that deal in oil, arms, and kidnapped foreign workers. An estimated 250,000–300,000 barrels, valued at more than US$3.8 billion, are stolen each year through “oil bunkering” (the theft of oil from pipelines or storage facilities). 97 Local gangs and political groups can also be drawn into ethnic violence; in the 2007 election aftermath in Kenya, gangs and politically motivated groups engaged in ethnically aligned violence. 98
In Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the tribal areas on their borders, violence from the headline conflict in the region—between the government and international forces and the Taliban and other armed groups—is linked to drug trafficking and criminal violence, as well as kidnapping, extortion, and smuggling of a range of natural resources. New tensions and the presence of foreign fighters exacerbate long-standing conflicts between capitals and peripheral regions over power, governance, and resources.
Tensions and violence between ethnic groups can quickly transform into political violence where elections and other political contests affect the distribution of power and resources. In the Solomon Islands in the late 1990s, skirmishes between armed militias from the two main islands of Guadalcanal and Malaita, which displaced some 35,000 Malaitan settlers, culminated in the emergence of a Malaitan militia group, which—in response to the government’s failure to curb Guadalcanal militancy—forced the resignation of the prime minister. In Papua New Guinea, longstanding ethnic and tribal conflicts in the Highlands—caused by a mix of traditional animosities, competition for resources, and land disputes—morphed into “raskol” gang activities in Port Moresby and other urban areas. 99 The advent of international operations to exploit timber and minerals has added fuel to preexisting ethnic contests over natural resources.
Cross-border violence goes beyond the destabilization from sanctuaries in neighboring countries, as in West Africa and the Afghanistan-Pakistan border areas. Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army has spread far beyond its original geographical origins to operate across a wide number of countries and borders—again drawing on criminal trafficking for its financing. And Somali pirates hijacked more than 125 merchant ships passing through the Gulf of Aden in 2009.
Many religious and ideological grievances in one part of the world are grafted onto a local conflict in some faraway place. At the height of the war in Bosnia and herzegovina in the 1990s, Islamic groups from outside the region joined the fight alongside Bosnian Muslims. 100 Likewise, foreign fighters and ideological links between armed groups dominate international press coverage of Afghanistan and Iraq, though spill-overs of international ideological groups into the Sahel, affecting countries as isolated and historically peaceful as Mali, get less attention.
In other cases, violence may be linked through underlying institutional weaknesses. Yemen now faces four separate conflicts: the Houthi rebellion in the North, the presence of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, grievances in the south, and the popular protests for change that have swept through the Arab world. There is little direct evidence of links between these conflicts, other than through the weakness of national institutions to address them. 101
Source: Harriott 2004; Curtis and Karacan 2002; Shanty and Mishra 2008; Andreas 2004; International Crisis Group 2003; UNODC 2008, 2010a; Anastasijevic 2006; Special Court for Sierra Leone Office of the Prosecutor 2007; Lipman 2009; Coalition for International Justice 2005; Duffield 2000; Gberie 2003a; Even-Zohar 2003; Davies, von Kemedi, and Drennan 2005; International Crisis Group 2008b; Ashforth 2009; Porter, Andrews, and Wescott 2010; Kohlmann 2004.

Fields marked with an asterisk*are mandatory.
Click here to go to My Notes.

Email To Friend
Fields marked with an asterisk * are mandatory.

Printer Friendly Pages

Fields marked with an asterisk*are mandatory.
Click here to go to My Ebooks.

Search this Chapter
Search String:
Search this book
Search String:
Add to My Account
Add to My Account
Add to My Account
Translation WDR 2011