"Fragility" of societies, institutions, key to many conflicts: UN chief

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Secretary-General António Guterres (second from right) addresses the Financing for Peace event at the World Bank’s Spring Meeting. Also pictured from right to left are the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim. Photo: World Bank/ Grant Ellis

Fragility is the key element of "practically all" of the protracted conflicts going on in the world today, said the UN Secretary-General at the opening of the Spring Meetings of the World Bank on Friday.

António Guterres took part in an event entitled, Financing for Peace: Innovations to Tackle Fragility, and said that partnerships and helping to build "national capacities" were essential.

Matthew Wells has more.

The UN chief pointed to the conflict and resulting crises in places like Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and Libya, and said that fragility was always a trigger, as well as an obstacle, to finding a peaceful resolution.

Despite the often regional nature of these conflicts, and the threat of cross-border terrorism, the fragility mostly stemmed from internal forces he said.

"The key question for me is how can we convince the international community that the best and most necessary investment is an investment in prevention and addressing the problems of fragility before it is too late? Which means strengthening states, strengthening institutions, strengthening civil societies; combining the peace and security approach, with the inclusive and sustainable development approach and the human rights approach."

The meeting heard that fragility, conflict and violence present significant challenges for development in low- and middle-income countries especially, and that in a world of "growing global risks" innovative finance was essential to build new, peaceful societies.

Organized by the World Bank in collaboration with the European Union, the event explored ways that new financing could be delivered to at-risk countries.

Mr Guterres said that traditional forms of development aid were clearly not enough, and he praised the World Bank for the innovations already in place in countries like Jordan and Lebanon, to help them cope with the refugee crisis.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1’17″

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