Armed violence constitutes an extraordinary challenge for the development sector. Whileits effects are especially concentrated in lower and middle-income settings, rich and pooralike are killed and injured in inner city neighborhoods, suburbs, towns and pastoral areas.div>
While perpetrated and experienced predominantly by young men, armed violenceaffects males and females. What is more, handguns and assault rifles feature in roughlytwo thirds of all homicidal violence around the world.The calculus of armed violence is sobering.
At least 740,000 people die directly orindirectly as a result of armed violence every year. A relatively small proportion of thesedeaths – approximately one third – can be attributed to armed conflicts and preventableillnesses affecting the vulnerable in war zones.
Yet the vast majority of violent deathsoccur in lower- and middle-income settings otherwise unaffected by warfare. Irrespectiveof where armed violence occurs, victims and survivors are likewise affected by pain,suffering and trauma long after the shooting stops.
The following report examines the complex relationship between armed violence anddevelopment, including in relation to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Taken together, the study assesses the relative importance of armed violence as an obstacle todevelopment. The report is motivated by a growing awareness among UN member states,UN agencies and a wide range of civil society actors of the destructive effects of armedconflict and criminality on human development. It offers an important first step to build anevidence base to test what is intuitively known to policy makers and practitioners.
More Violence, Less Development, offers an innovative statisticalassessment of the two-way association between armed violence and under-development.It mobilizes comprehensive information from the Geneva Declaration Secretariat’s ArmedViolence Database (AVD), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) HumanDevelopment Index (HDI) and the UN MDG monitoring process. While neither of thesedatasets is exhaustive, they nevertheless offer amongst the most robust comparativestores of longitudinal information on armed violence and development in the world.
The study demonstrates how armed violence obstructs development across many fronts.In a sentence – it severely compromises the skills and assets that are essential to living aproductive life and shortens planning and investment horizons. But it also takes thedebate further than this. It highlights how underdevelopment – expressed asunemployment or income inequality – tends to be correlated with higher rates of armedviolence. Meanwhile, developmental progress tends to be associated with lower rates of armed violence..Among its key findings are:
The relationships between armed violence and development are complexand require careful definition of key terms and precise statistical analysis.
Even so, the study finds that areas experiencing comparatively high rates of conflict-related and homicidal violence tend to experience declining levels of progress inrelation to both human development as measured by poverty, income and theachievement of specific MDG goals.
Countries with low homicide rates make more rapid human developmentgains than countries with higher homicide rates. Specifically, countriesfeaturing lower average homicide rates had a roughly 11 per cent higher chance of 13 September 2010 – Preliminary Findings5achieving improvement in the Human Development Index (HDI) than countriesregistering higher homicide rates.
Countries reporting high levels of homicide are statistically associated withreduced progress across specific MDG Goals.Specifically, high rates of homicidal violence contributes to dramatic reductions in eradicating extremepoverty, youth unemployment and hunger (MDG 1), increased primary enrolmentratios (MDG2) and reduced infant mortality and adolescent birth rates (MDG 4 and5);
Meanwhile, higher levels of development tend to be associated withreduced levels of homicidal violence. Specifically, countries reportingproportionately lower levels of income inequality and unemployment featurecomparatively lower levels of homicide. By way of contrast, lower levels of humandevelopment and income occurs in parallel with high and very high rates of armedviolence; and
The monitoring of armed violence should be integrated into assessments of MDG progress and achievement. An armed violence monitoring group could beestablished featuring multidisciplinary and multi-sector partnerships. These effortswould strengthen national data gathering capacities and regional armed violence systems