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Security Development Conflict

New UN Development Agenda Gives Peace a Chance

Darfur: an experiment in African peacekeeping
Darfur: an experiment in African peacekeeping. Photo: Africa Renewal/flickr.

Give peace a chance. This is the message of the High-Level Panel, who singled out peace as a cornerstone of the post-2015 development agenda in their much-anticipated report released yesterday. The report stresses how freedom from conflict and violence are not just a means to an end, but ends in and of themselves. Such freedoms are “fundamental human entitlements” and “essential foundations for peaceful and prosperous societies.” Given simmering violence in the Middle East and across the Sahel, their message could not be more timely.

In putting peace squarely on the post-2015 development agenda, a historical wrong has finally been corrected. When the Millennium Declaration, which gave rise to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), was being crafted in the late 1990s, goals and targets on peace and security were quietly dropped from the final text. Now, they are front and center in the discussion. And rightly so. As the panel observes, “without peace, there can be no development.”

Categories
Regional Stability

Time to Deal with the Epidemic of Violence in Latin America and the Caribbean

Police take a suspected drug trafficker off a helicopter in Hermosillo in the state of Sonora. Photo: Knight Foundation/flickr

The daily bloodshed on the United States’ doorstep is the clearest sign that something is rotten in the neighborhood. Headless torsos swinging from lampposts in Ciudad Juárez in Mexico contrast all too sharply with the clean streets of El Paso just across the border, ranked one of the safest city’s in the United States. But Mexico is not alone in experiencing alarming rates of violence. Taken together, the Americas are home to 14 percent of the world’s population, but more than 31 percent of its homicides according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

A ruthless epidemic of violence is afflicting many states and cities in Central and South America and the Caribbean. The region’s homicide rate is more than double the global average. And in contrast to other parts of the world, whether North America, Western Europe, Africa, or Asia, the patient is getting sicker. Six of the top ten most violent countries in the world are in Latin America and the Caribbean, with most of the victims consisting of young men under 30-years of age. Violence against women is also intensifying. And for youth living in low-income settings, there is a 1 in 50 chance that they will be killed before they reach their 31st birthday.