Security and development have long been two separate fields of international politics. Security was seen as a military issue and handled by military means. Development was left to the aid organizations. But in the last couple of decades, more and more people have become interested in the connection between these two policy areas.
- Is peace necessary for development?
- Does development lead to less risk of war?
- Can peace be created through aid?
- Can aid aggravate war?
Aid workers saw it as pointless to work for long-term development in a country at war. Soldiers and officers deployed in peacekeeping operations saw development as necessary to preserve peace. Much of the aid is channeled to countries affected by civil war, especially where aid is seen as a kinder egg solution where you want to help the poor, create peace and prevent terrorism at the same time. Security and development are now often integrated into the same international operations, and military forces and aid organizations often work in parallel.
2: Relationship between peace and development?
When trying to create security and development at the same time , it is important to understand how these two are connected. For Norway, it is important to know how international commitment to peace affects development, or vice versa. Although some connections are obvious, researchers are careful to draw general conclusions. There is never just one cause for conflict , and the paths to a solution vary from country to country. “Development” is also not an unambiguous term; it covers a number of different societal changes, such as poverty reduction, health and education, democratization, state-building and economic growth. These different societal changes affect security differently.
In this article, we look mostly at internal, armed conflict, ie civil war . There are absolutely most such conflicts in the world, and it is in them that the connection between security and development is most direct. Conflicts between states often have other causes. For example, Africa – the poorest continent – has had almost no serious border conflicts, even though the borders between the countries are, to put it mildly, artificial.
The most important exceptions are when Eritrea separated from Ethiopia after a long civil war, and South Sudan which became a separate country in the summer of 2011. Many of the conflicts in Africa are nevertheless international in that other countries get involved in civil wars or that rebel groups live in neighboring countries.
3: Lack of development – cause of war?
According to GETZIPCODES.ORG, global statistics give some hint of a connection: In the richest countries there is almost no civil war. Among the very poorest countries, however, civil war is the rule rather than the exception. Among intermediate countries, there is a certain connection, but it is not as clear. And the statistics say little about causes. Civil war in a poor country may not be due to poverty, but that the country is poor because of war.
And there are many exceptions. Malawi, one of the world’s poorest countries, for example, has not experienced war since the slave trade was repulsed in the latter half of the 19th century. History shows many examples of civil war in relatively prosperous areas, such as in the former Yugoslavia. In recent months, we have seen internal conflict in rich countries in the Middle East, such as Bahrain and Libya.
Poverty is rarely a direct cause of war. Usually it is not the poorest, but their more affluent leaders who are the driving force. But poverty makes it easier for them to mobilize and recruit soldiers. Poverty also leads to other conditions, which can provide fertile ground for war.
A recent study by the World Bank concludes that war most often occurs in situations where people feel insecure (for example due to crime) or treated unfairly , as well as during widespread unemployment. The most dangerous is when such conditions occur simultaneously and in societies where the state and other social institutions do not have enough trust (legitimacy) in the population. All this is of course connected with development.
4: Inequality – “more dangerous” than poverty
Paradoxically, rapid economic growth may seem “more dangerous” than persistent poverty , in terms of the risk of war. This is especially true in weak states – ie. countries with state apparatus that do not or barely work. For example, oil, mineral deposits or valuable forests have been shown to intensify or create conflict. This is often called the ” resource curse “. Many countries in West Africa have suffered from such resource conflicts. In countries with stronger states, wealth of resources does not lead to civil war, but can strengthen oppressive regimes, as in the oil countries of the Middle East.
In most countries, rapid growth leads to increased economic inequality, which can be more dangerous than poverty in terms of the risk of civil war. But it is first and foremost about inequality between different ethnic or religious groups – ie when countries where social and economic differences coincide with ethnic and religious differences. It is called ” horizontal inequality “.
Then a “us against them” thought often arises, and leaders can more easily mobilize for war. Then one builds on existing conflicts, so that inequality does not create, but intensifies the war . In several countries, such as Colombia, economic drivers may eventually overshadow the original conflicts. Thus, it is uncertain whether it is a political struggle or economic conflict that is the reason why the civil war continues.
5: What about other forms of development?
Development is about more than poverty reduction , but also, for example, about improving people’s health and education. Although such development is important, there is little evidence that it prevents war. In fact, education can also have a negative effect on the level of tension in a country. In Arab countries, it is most often the best educated who are recruited into militant movements and terrorist activities, and who have revolted in recent months. When people get a better education, they get higher expectations for jobs and income. Then they will also be all the more disappointed and angry if the expectations are not met. In this way, education can strengthen and militarize existing conflicts, if not followed up by other societal reforms.
When it comes to democratization, the context follows a so-called ” u-curve “: Both the strictest dictatorships and the good democracies have little violent conflict. The problems lie between the extremes: In weak and unfinished democratic systems, where the rules of the game are not completely clear and / or have not been allowed to “sit in people’s heads”, it may be worthwhile to go to war if a group does not arrive democratically.