By ACE ALEGRE
BAGUIO CITY — Recurring cycles of political and criminal violence deprive people throughout the world of opportunities for a better life, the 2011 World Development Report (WDRR) said.
Nigel Roberts, World Bank Special Representative and Director of the WDR added that restoring confidence in the government, strengthening national institutions, and improving governance in ways that prioritize citizen security, justice, and livelihoods can help break this trap.
The WDR is the flagship annual publication of the World Bank.
Roberts who visited government officials last week including the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) to discuss the findings of the WDR 2011 focused on conflict, security, and development.
“The WDR 2011’s central message is that strengthening legitimate institutions and governance to provide citizen security, address injustice and help improve livelihoods is crucial to breaking cycles of violence,” the WB official said.
Mindanao being left still
“While much of the world has made rapid progress in reducing poverty over the past 60 years, areas characterized by repeated cycles of political and criminal violence, such as some areas in Mindanao, are being left far behind, their economic growth compromised and their human indicators stagnant,” the report said.
Naming CARAGA and ARMM as “two of the most conflict-affected regions”, Roberts said, “(they) are also the country’s poorest.”
WDR 2011 also reports that even around the world, no low-income fragile or conflict-affected country has achieved a single Millennium Development Goal.
“Violent conflict has exacted a heavy social and economic cost on the Philippines, with over 120,000 people killed over the last three decades. While serious conflict occurs only in parts of the country, it affects the Philippines’ international image and, thus, is a national problem,” Roberts said.
Organized violence today, the WDR 2011 report further says, “is spurred by a range of domestic and international stresses, such as youth unemployment, income shocks, tensions among ethnic, religious or social groups, and trafficking networks.”
The report further acknowledged that “actual or perceived injustice and exclusion” are the internal stresses most associated with violence. Roberts said, risks of violence are greater “when high stresses combine with weak capacity or lack of legitimacy in key national institutions.”
There are no one-size-fits all solutions to end political and criminal violence of the types found in the Philippines, Roberts believes. “Home-grown solutions are essential, with many lessons that can be learned from the experiences of countries that have undergone promising transitions out of severe violence, like Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chile, Colombia, Ghana, Indonesia, and Timor-Leste.”
Vow to help
World Bank Country Director Bert Hofman vowed to work with the Philippine government and civil society to achieve peace and development.
Citing the WDR 2011 report that breaking cycles of violence is slow and will be taking a generation or more, Hofman affirmed, they will still closely work with the Philippine government and civil society on peace and security in Mindanao, while also committing to support the development of legitimate institutions that can provide citizen security, justice and livelihood to promote sustainable peace in the whole country.
Five practical programs, the WDR 2011 suggests, at the national level can link rapid confidence-building to longer-term institutional transformation like support for community-based programs for preventing violence, creating employment and delivering service, and offering access to local justice and dispute resolution systems in insecure areas.
Programs also to transform security and justice institutions in ways that focus on basic functions and recognize the linkages among policing, civilian justice and public finances, can bring about changes in the playing field.
Basic job creation schemes, including large scale public and community-based works that do not crowd out the private sector, access to finance to bring producers and markets together, and the expansion of access to assets, skills, work experience and finance is also one way.
The involvement of women in security, justice and economic empowerment programs might also help in doing the trick to stabilize the country.
Finally, implementing programs on anti-corruption actions that demonstrate how new initiatives can be well governed, drawing on external and community capacity for monitoring. # nordis.net