Marcel Smits, Institute of Economics and Peace, discusses ‘The economics of conflict versus the economics of peacebuilding and sustainable peace’ at the 2018 Oxpeace Conference.
Marcel Smits is the Director of the Europe Office of the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) in The Hague.
Each year, IEP produces an estimate of the global cost of violence, adding up the costs associated with containing, preventing, and dealing with the consequences of violence. The least peaceful countries in the world disproportionately suffer economically from the levels of violence they experience. Violence greatly affect economic development which affects poverty, life expectancy, education, health and other development outcomes. For this reason, violent conflict is increasingly recognized as one of the biggest obstacles to reaching the SDGs by 2030. Although, there is an investment gap in developing countries of about $2.5 trillion to achieve the SDGs which the private sector is asked to help bridge, the calculations do not take into account the economic losses from violent conflict. The potential economic benefits from investing in peacebuilding and in sustaining peace in societies are therefore substantial. The session will show that besides a moral argument there is a good financial case to be made for peacebuilding and risk-informed sustainable development interventions by businesses and others as a way to prevent conflict and reduce the cost of violence.