Please visit the WDR 2011 web
site to download the report, read about the key findings, and
access the input papers.
With more than 1.5 billion people living in countries affected by
conflict, the World Development Report 2011 (WDR) looks into the
changing nature of violence in the 21st century. Interstate and civil
wars characterized violent conflict in the last century; more
pronounced today is violence linked to local disputes, political
repression, and organized crime. The report underlines the negative
impact of persistent conflict on a country’s or a region’s
development prospects, and notes that no low income, conflict-affected
state has yet achieved a single Millennium Development Goal.
The risk of major violence is greatest when high levels of stress
combine with weak and illegitimate national institutions. Societies are
vulnerable when their institutions are unable to protect citizens from
abuse, or to provide equitable access to justice and to economic
These vulnerabilities are exacerbated in countries with high youth
unemployment, growing income inequality, and perceptible injustice.
Externally driven events such as infiltration by foreign combatants,
the presence of trafficking networks, or economic shocks add to the
stresses that can provoke violence.
The WDR 2011 draws on the experiences of countries that have
successfully managed to transition away from repetitive violence,
pointing to a specific need to prioritize actions that build confidence
between states and citizens, and develop institutions that can provide
security, justice, and jobs. Government capacity is central, but
technical competence alone is insufficient: institutions and programs
must be accountable to their citizens if they are to acquire
legitimacy. Impunity, corruption, and human rights abuses undermine
confidence between states and citizens and increase the risks of
violence. Building resilient institutions occurs in multiple
transitions over a generation, and does not mean converging on western
The WDR 2011 draws together lessons from national reformers
escaping from repetitive cycles of violence. It advocates a greater
focus on continuous preventive action, balancing a sometimes excessive
concentration on post-conflict reconstruction. The report is based on
new research, case studies, and extensive consultations with leaders
and other actors throughout the world. It proposes a toolkit of options
for addressing violence that can be adapted to local contexts, as well
as new directions for international policy intended to improve support
for national reformers and to tackle stresses that emanate from global
or regional trends beyond any one country’s control.
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