Friday, 1 January 2010

Violent Conflicts: Key Obstacles for Sub-Saharan Africa to Achieving the Millennium Development Goals – Where is the Evidence?i

This paper aims to stimulate a debate on how violent conflict (ranging from communal
violence to civil war or war among states) is a key obstacle for countries in Sub-Saharan
Africa (SSA) to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It briefly
examines progress with the MDGs in Africa using officially published United Nation
Reports and global MDG monitoring information. It also provides readers with a
preliminary exposition on how violent conflicts pose the greatest challenges to progress
with achieving the MDGs. It argues that violent conflict makes chronic poverty even
worse – from household to national levels – and can create a downward spiral; some
specific examples of this are given. The paper warns that many countries in SSA will fall
far behind in attaining the MDGs by the targeted date of 2015 unless African states and
regional institutions such as the African Union can put a decisive end to the current
conflicts and address the threat of new conflicts. Having presented comparative evidence from various counties (those on track to meet the MDGs and those lagging behind), the author underlines the significance of conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacebuilding in increasing the likelihood of Africa’s achieving the MDGs within the timeframe. Highlighting the critical importance of strengthening the link between durable peace and sustainable development, the author concludes that the MDGs, as a framework for policy, programs and international partnerships to reduce poverty, must explicitly articulate how to end violent conflict and support war-torn countries (and those emerging from conflict) as a matter of priority and that they must receive special consideration.
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