Saturday, September 10, 2005

[Global Poverty] UN report says poverty breeds conflict

September 09, 2005

Poorer nations are increasingly becoming the focus of conflicts in an ever more violent world, according to a UN report.

The 2005 UNDP Human Development Report counts the terrible human cost of violent conflicts in poor countries, and points to the ways in which poverty provides a breeding ground for further violence. The geographical pattern of conflict has changed over time, with a clear shift in security risks towards the poorest countries, the report concluded. Low-income developing countries accounted for just over one-third of all conflicts between 1946 and 1989. But since 1990, developing countries have accounted for more than half of all armed conflicts, with nearly 40 per cent taking place in Africa alone.

The poorer the country, the more likely it is to suffer from violent conflict. The report indicated that countries with an annual per capita income of US$250 are twice as likely to descend into civil war as those with an annual per capita income of US$600. The century that just ended was the most violent humanity has experienced. Nearly three times as many people were killed in conflicts in the 20th century as in the previous four centuries combined.

The report sets out a host of measures that could be taken to reduce the threat of conflict and its detrimental impact on poverty and human development. It suggested an integrated approach to collective security. A recent report from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for the creation of a Peace-building Commission to provide a strategic framework for an integrated approach to collective security.

As part of that approach, a global fund should be created to finance immediate post-conflict assistance and the transition to long-term reconstruction, the report's authors suggested.

Source: China Daily