Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Conflict and Development: Inclusive Governance, Resilient Societies

Click here to read this in full @: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/presscenter/speeches/2013/02/11/helen-clark-conflict-and-development-inclusive-governance-resilient-societies/

My thanks go to Dr. David Rodin for the invitation to speak here on the important topic of conflict and development.

This university is home to a great deal of academic research on the relationship between conflict and development –including that of Paul Collier on the economic causes of civil wars, and Frances Stewart on the link between horizontal inequalities and conflict.

Alas, one does not need to look for long for examples of conflict impacting on development. Take the case of Mali: almost a year ago, conflict in the north of the country and a military coup derailed two decades spent building democracy and pursuing development there. Elections were scheduled to be held in Mali a month after that coup took place – and the President, adhering to the Constitution, had clearly stated that he would not be a candidate.

Mali’s experience is not atypical or unique – it is an example of the types of conflicts the world is increasingly witnessing.  The conflict there is not a war between states, but, rather, within a state.  It has regional dimensions – in this case the upheaval in Libya had spillover effects for the north of Mali, and Mali’s regional neigbours in ECOWAS have been very engaged in the debate about what to do. The battle lines of the conflict were not clearly drawn, either territorially or in terms of issues, suggesting more complex dynamics at play.  

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