Security and Development: Searching for Critical Connections

Neclâ Tschirgi (ed.), Michael S. Lund (ed.), Francesco Mancini (ed.)
Content Type
International Peace Institute
Academic research bears some good news: the number of wars and the lethality of warfare have been declining since 1992. This includes civil wars, which decreased from a high of forty-six in 1992 to twenty-one in 2006. In the same stretch of time, the most severe conflicts declined by 80 percent. Yet deeper analysis of these trends provides disturbing findings. The University of Maryland's report Peace and Conflict 2008 notes that the downward trend in conflict is not the result of effective prevention of new conflicts but rather the termination of ongoing wars. The report confirms that the number of ongoing active conflicts dropped significantly over the post–Cold War period. Meanwhile, there has been no discernible change in the number of newly initiated conflicts. In fact, in the report's words, “for the past sixty years, the rate at which new armed conflicts emerge each year has been essentially unchanged.” This suggests that, despite almost two decades of research, advocacy, and action, international efforts to prevent violent conflicts have seriously lagged behind efforts to resolve existing conflicts. If the steady out-break of new wars is to be arrested and reversed, the conflict prevention agenda that gained prominence in the immediate post–Cold War years needs to be revitalized. This requires deeper investigation of the sources of violent intrastate conflicts that threaten both human and international security.
Security, Cold War, Development, Peace Studies