66. It is increasingly recognized that in the long term, everyone gains from the implementation of sustainable human development for all. The poverty and exclusion of some increases the vulnerability of all. This represents a major change in the concept of economic growth which, in the past, could be considered as benefitting from military supremacy and structural violence and achieved at the expense of the vanquished and the weak. As declared by the World Summit for Social Development (Copenhagen, 1995), social development, social justice and the eradication of poverty are indispensable for the achievement and maintenance of peace and security within and among our nations. In turn, these cannot be attained in the absence of peace and security or in the absence of respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms . As stated in the proposals of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), people-centred development is both a precondition for peace and the consequence of peace.
67. As the conditions of poverty often provide the breeding ground for conflict, the eradication of poverty is a key to the prevention of violent conflict. Action is needed at the international level to ensure that policies and programmes will advance the attainment of agreed development goals that are sustainable and aimed at meeting basic needs and eradicating absolute poverty. As indicated by UNDP, these actions include: creating an enabling environment for people-centred development through anti-poverty strategies and action plans; empowering people for self-reliance, enhancing household food security, improving access to basic infrastructure and social services, promoting job creation and sustainable livelihoods through sustainable livelihoods strategies and capacity-development for micro-entrepreneurship, ensuring equitable access to credit and productive assets, expanding social protection for vulnerable people and developing capacity to address the socio-economic impacts of HIV/AIDS.
68. Special consideration should be given to the reduction of sharp economic inequalities among nations and peoples so as to avoid potential sources of violent conflict. This requires, inter alia, the promotion of broad-based and equitable growth, strengthening the capacities of least developed countries to participate in the globalized economy, and improving urban management to make cities and towns engines of economic and social growth.
69. As stated in the programme of action of the Copenhagen Summit, development aid should involve the full participation of all affected social groups in the design, implementation and evaluation of each project . To accomplish this, development projects must involve not only government agencies, but also the civil society in an extensive participatory process. In considering how development can contribute to conflict prevention and peace-building, the OECD has noted that 'the absence of an effective dialogue process between state and sub-state actors is a difficult issue for states and donor agencies to address, yet it is perhaps the central issue for effective preventive engagement. Regional and local non-governmental and community-based organizations, including women's peace groups, can offer promising opportunities in this regard'.
70. In situations of post-conflict peace-building, development efforts should be carried out under a political mandate specifically to prevent the eruption or resumption of violent conflict. This may be accomplished by involving those who have been in conflict in the collective planning, implementation and evaluation of the development process. Experience with this approach of 'cross-conflict participation' in UNESCO's national culture of peace programmes and other participatory development processes of the United Nations system, such as those of UNFPA, WHO and UNDP, has been positive. The decentralization of programmes offers local and marginalized groups a 'voice' in resolving grievances an early stage before they can grow into major conflicts. It has been shown that while it may take longer to implement development projects when conflicting parties are involved, the resulting commitment of all parties to the development process produces an 'ownership' which increases the sustainability of the results achieved. To facilitate this process, it is useful to train staff in development projects as peace promoters who arbitrate, mediate and facilitate the full participation of those in conflict and those who have previously been excluded.
71. In general, it is necessary to integrate a sensitivity to conflict into the vision of development. This may be accomplished by: (a) placing greater emphasis on the sources of conflict and tension through social assessments; (b) incorporating an approach to development, through engagement with civil society, that emphasizes participatory approaches to social capital and that achieves a more stable social environment; (c) increasing the focus on governance and provisions of accountability and transparency and providing the predominant legal framework for dispute resolution; and (d) expanding the bonds of trust and confidence among potential warring factions through a frank exploration of the costs of violence and how it undermines the routine functions of socioeconomic activity.
72. In particular, the development paradigm should encompass a conflict management dimension, in the same way that it has come to encompass human development, gender concerns, poverty alleviation and ecological issue, thus integrating a sensitivity to conflict into the vision of development. This requires: a) analysing national development strategies to evaluate their implications on potential conflict; b) performing risk analyses on all project formulation and monitoring concerning their effects on conflict potential; c) including in all development projects specific dispute resolution elements which provide both individual and community capacity-building; d) developing institutional capacities for dispute resolution in the development process; and e) training UN and other staff who are engaged in the development process to develop their conflict awareness/management skills.
73. Special efforts are necessary to ensure that no one is excluded from the development process. Poverty cannot be eradicated without transparent and accountable government at all levels which empowers the poor and involves them actively in poverty reduction strategies. At the same time, the poor must have access to well-functioning institutions, such as those in the political and judicial systems which safeguard their rights and meet their basic needs. For example, in the development strategy of the Organization of American States, measures are taken to record titles of rural and urban property, grant easy access to credit and technical support for micro-enterprises, protect the basic rights of workers, and to ensure the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, indigenous communities, ethnic and racial minorities and other vulnerable groups. While actions such as these are most often considered in their technical aspects, they may also have a cumulative effect on attitudes which in the past have tolerated or accepted poverty as 'inevitable'.
74. The eradication of poverty requires actions promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women. Among the poor, women and children contribute significantly to food production and household income, yet are often the main victims of poverty. In order to succeed, poverty eradication strategies must address gender issues by examining the differential impact of policies and programmes on men and women as well as on adults and children. They must empower women and ensure their access to income earning opportunities, including in rural areas and the informal sector, as well as ensure universal access to basic social services.
75. Environmental sustainability as well as social sustainability of development is essential for prevention of violent conflict. Action must be taken to preserve and regenerate the natural resource base. As pointed out by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, a lack of food security associated with unfavourable climatic conditions or agricultural production crises can be a major cause of armed conflicts. Similarly, conflicts may be caused by lack of secure access to water. Therefore, support should be given to national capacity-building programmes for sustainable water-sector development, national forestry and biodiversity programmes, national energy strategies and atmospheric protection and the management of drylands. Attention must be paid to other aspects of sustainability in development as well, for example, the sustainability of industrial development, which, as pointed out by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, is a key component of economic development, and the maintenance of safer shipping and cleaner oceans, which is the priority of the International Maritime Organization.
76. There is a two-way interaction between food security and peace. Not only is food security necessary for peace, but at the same time, as stated by the World Food Summit (1996), the establishment of a peaceful enabling environment is a key for the achievement of food security. The plan of action of the World Food Summit therefore promotes the full range of actions needed to promote a culture of peace, including: