France takes the lead on conflict prevention

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne at the presentation of France's strategy titled "Building sustainable peace " in Paris on 13 June

While armed conflicts are on the rise around the world, Paris launched a new strategy for prevention, resilience and sustainable peace in developing countries on Wednesday (13 June). EURACTIV.fr reports.

France’s new approach to resolving crises and fragmented states foresees a doubling of funds allocated to peace and security and an approach that aims to intervene at the early stages of a crisis.

“Winning a war is one thing […] avoiding one is another,” said the Secretary of State to the European and Foreign Affairs Minister, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne,  at the presentation of the French strategy at the Quai d’Orsay in Paris on Wednesday.

“Vulnerability factors are greater than ever,” Lemoyne added. “20% of the world’s population currently lives in a  context of fragility”. According to a report by the World Bank and the United Nations titled “Pathways for Peace”, the number of countries affected by violent conflicts in 2016 was the highest in nearly 30 years.

This increase in conflicts could lead to a situation of widespread conflict in low-income countries by 2030. According to the report, half of the world’s poor could live in countries affected by high levels of violence by 2030.

World hunger, which had been in decline for several years, was on the rise again in 2016. Climate change also causes more and more population displacement.

Hunger is no longer someone else’s problem, says WFP’s Husain

Food insecurity is on the rise globally and is unlikely to subside soon.  Arif Husain, the chief economist of the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), says hunger and migration “are no longer somebody else’s problem, we have to work collectively.”

Early intervention

The duration of crisis situations now also require interventions by development actors and not only to provide support at the end of a crisis.

“Refugees stays on average 17 years in a refugee camp before they can go back home. It is hard to believe that during all this time they do not have access to basic services, that they cannot work, and that their children do not have access to education,” said an official of the French Development Agency.

“We cannot wait for a conflict to end in order to intervene on the ground, we must be present at the outbreak of the conflict, when we can help people build resilience,” said the Chief Executive Officer of the World Bank Kristalina Georgieva.

“Actions in crisis situations over the last 50 years have clearly missed their mark,” said Achim Steiner administrator at the United Nations Development Program.

Financial commitments

To implement its new strategy, France has planned to increase the budget of the ‘Peace and Stability’ fund of the French Development Agency, which will receive an additional €100 million per year and will double by 2020 to reach €200 million. These grants will be funded by the financial transaction tax.

“We cannot intervene in crises without taking into account their root causes over the long-term consequences, upstream and downstream, and on the short time of appeasement,” said the Chief Executive Office of the French Development Agency, Rémy Rioux.

France allocated around €3.2 billion on average to fragile states between 2007 and 2016.

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