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Pathways for Peace Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict: Main Messages and Emerging Policy Directions

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In 2015, the United Nations Member States set ambitious goals for the world with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which offers a unique framework to come together around a renewed effort at preventing human suffering. The Agenda, which is universal, integrated and indivisible in nature, not only aims to end poverty and hunger, to ensure healthy lives and quality education and to protect the environment—but also to reduce inequalities and promote peaceful, just and inclusive societies.

Violent conflict is increasingly recognized as one of the big obstacles to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Its dramatic resurgence over the last few years has caused immense human suffering and has enormous global impact. Violent conflicts have also become more complex and protracted, involving more non-state groups and regional and international actors. And they are increasingly linked to global challenges such as climate change, natural disasters, cyber security and transnational organized crime. It is projected that more than half of the people living in poverty will be found in countries affected by high levels of violence by 2030. This is utterly contrary to the promise contained in the 2030 Agenda to leave no one behind.

As the human, social and financial costs and complexity of violent conflict and its global impact grow, we must ask ourselves: how can the global community more effectively prevent violent conflict?

This joint study on the prevention of violent conflict was initiated in 2016 and conducted by a team of staff members from the United Nations and the World Bank Group, in a spirit of fostering closer collaboration to deliver at the country level. It reflects a process of research and intense global consultation aimed at providing ideas on how development approaches can better interact with other tools to prevent violent conflict.

This study, principally based on academic research, benefited immensely from consultations with a variety of actors including Governments. It is therefore our hope that some of the findings will usefully inform global policy making.

This study is one element of a much broader partnership and a first step in working jointly to address the immense challenges of our time. We look forward to continuing the pursuit of knowledge together, and to applying that knowledge together in support of the people we serve.

Download the full study

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