Violent conflict adversely affects a country’s economic, political, and social progress. Preventing it could help save billions on the costs of managing conflict through humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping efforts and put millions of people on a path to peace and stability, a new World Bank-UN report shows


This executive summary of the Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict will provide you an overview of the materials covered in the 8 modules based on the full United Nations World Bank study.


This chapter surveys the state of violent conflict across several indicators, showing that, in recent years, more countries are affected by violent conflict, more armed groups are fighting, and more outside actors are intervening. The chapter also examines trends beyond the numbers both to understand factors contributing to the new conflict dynamics and to adapt prevention policy on national, regional, and international levels.


This chapter explores how the trend of violence without borders has emerged in a global context where the balance of geopolitical power is in flux and transnational factors like advances in information and communication technology (ICT), population movements, and climate change create risks and opportunities to be managed at multiple levels.


This chapter presents a framework for understanding prevention as part of a comprehensive strategy for sustaining peace.


This chapter is organized around a comprehensive review of the multiple strands of research into the relationship between inequality and exclusion and the risk of violent conflict.


This chapter explores the accumulation and intensification of risks and opportunities in critical spaces, called arenas of contestation.


This chapter reviews the experience of countries that have avoided violent conflict, prevented its escalation, or rebuilt peace afterward.


This chapter analyzes the international and regional architecture for prevention, as well as the tools developed to prevent violent conflict, in light of current challenges.


The first section of this chapter sets out three principles for prevention.The second section presents an agenda for action for national actors.The third section explores how international actors can effectively organize for prevention to overcome incentives that undermine their support for national partners.

Pathways for Peace : Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict

Violent conflicts today are complex and increasingly protracted, involving more non-state groups and regional and international actors. It is estimated that by 2030—the horizon set by the international community to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals—over half of the world’s poor will be living in countries affected by high levels of violence. Information and communications technology, population movements, and climate change are also creating shared risks that must be managed at both national and international levels.

Pathways for Peace is a joint United Nations–World Bank Group study that originates from the conviction that the international community’s attention must urgently be refocused on prevention. A scaled-up system for preventive action would save between US$5 billion and $70 billion per year, which could be reinvested in reducing poverty and improving the wellbeing of populations.

The study aims to improve the way in which domestic development processes interact with security, diplomacy, mediation, and other efforts to prevent conflicts from becoming violent. It stresses the importance of grievances related to exclusion—from access to power, natural resources, security and justice, for example—that are at the root of many violent conflicts today.

Based on a review of cases in which prevention has been successful, the study makes recommendations for countries facing emerging risks of violent conflict as well as the international community. Development policies and programs must be a core part of preventive efforts; when risks are high or building up, inclusive solutions through dialogue, adapted macroeconomic policies, institutional reform, and redistributive policies are required. Inclusion is key, and preventive action needs to adopt a more people-centered approach that includes mainstreaming citizen engagement. Enhancing the participation of women and youth in decision making, as well as long-term policies to address the aspirations of women and young people, are fundamental to sustaining peace.

This Bite + learning offers 8 modules which cover:

  • A Surge and Expansion of Violent Conflict
  • The Need for Prevention in an Interdependent World
  • Pathways for Peace
  • Why People Fight: Inequality, Exclusion, and a Sense of Injustice
  • What People Fight Over: Arenas of Contestation
  • Country Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict
  • The International Architecture for Prevention
  • Pursuing Pathways for Peace: Recommendations for Building Inclusive Approaches for Prevention

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