Increasing recognition of the relationships and dynamics between state fragility, conflict and violence now positions these issues amongst the central foci of conflict and development practitioners worldwide. It is in this light that ACCORD’s Founder and Executive Director participated in the World Bank Group’s Fragility, Conflict and Violence Forum in Washington DC, USA on 11-13 February 2015. Convened by Ms Betty Bigombe, the World Bank Group’s Senior Director of its Fragility, Conflict and Violence Cross-Cutting Solutions Area, the Forum strived to unite political leaders, policymakers, academics, activists, and civil society organisations towards strengthening their responses and supporting countries mired by fragility, conflict, and violence.
Mr Vasu Gounden, ACCORD’s Founder and Executive Director served as the Moderator to the Forum’s opening plenary session on 11 February entitled ‘The Politics of Peacebuilding: Lessons from Promoting Shared Societies’. In this session Mr Gounden engaged Ms Bigombe, Former Finnish President H.E. Tarja Halonen, former Libyan Prime Minister H.E. Abdurrahim El-Keib, UN Assistant Secretary General for Peacebuilding Support Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, and World Bank Vice President for Africa, Mr Makhtar Diop.
During this session, which was conducted as a joint event with the Club de Madrid, the panellists critically reflected on emerging trends, best practices, and lessons learned from societies that have successfully transitioned from fragility to prosperity. During his contributions Mr Gounden unpacked the concept of fragility as comprising the triple threats of poverty, unemployment, and inequality, and thereby linking these dimensions to the emergence of violence and cycles of conflict. His conclusions highlighted how societies that emphasise and successfully develop skills, opportunities and capital for their people are most likely to overcome fragility and promote more sustainable and equitable development.
Additional information on the Fragility, Conflict and Violence Forum can be found on the World Bank Group’s website.