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What is the cost of conflict?

The humanitarian and human rights costs of wars, conflict and crisis is certainly obvious when looking at Ukraine, as well as most of the conflicts on the planet in 2022. Yet, the real can be underestimated or forgotten when conflicts and crises last.

In addition, the cost of conflicts is multi-layered and not always financially measurable though efforts have been made over the last 10 years to establish the economic cost of war and crises, thus the lost investments in other sectors (peacebuilding, development…).

What is the cost of international #conflict and crises?

In 2015, the Institute for Economics and Peace estimated that conflict and violence costed us $13.6 trillion. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimated that it represented 2.6% of global GDP in 2016. In 2020, more than 1 per cent of the world’s population is now displaced.

This week, UNDP released its estimated needs:

  • 375Mio=4.5Mio people.

  • 473Mio=7.5Mio people.

This cost is exponentially rising with the environmental challenges that impact the level of rains, length of drought, desertification, thus disrupt the productions and food supply while displacing millions of people.

Politically, it also increases instability, risk of violence and crystallization of conflict. It also endangered individuals' civil and political rights. Add to that the negative impact of new technologies on political stability, mis/dis-information, micro-targeting, electronic political campaigns, e-activism and a certain opacity on the actors involved directly or indirectly.

Those are the unseen and/or insufficiently heard costs of conflicts in the #hpd nexus. Those costs also justify investing early on in #peacebuilding and #innovation with a human-centered and human-rights approach.

What are some positive impacts of artificial intelligence and frontier technologies?

The World Food Programme has been one of the first international agencies with UNDP Accelerator Labs UNDP at the forefront of #innovation for the #sdgs in humanitarian and development contexts using :

  • #blockchain technology to make cash-based transfers faster, cheaper and more secure in Syria as early as 2017.

  • #drones to deliver humanitarian assistance to isolated areas or dangerous zones with European Commission - ECHO and a wider humanitarian community.

  • #Algorithms to be more efficient, deliver quickly, and be more impactful adding to already very performant operational chains. Predictive analytics are also used to anticipate the international funding of regions, countries and crises.

  • Technology partnerships with financing establishments enabling e-financing services also allow to reach out to vulnerable, minority or excluded groups from the traditional economy.

This comes with threats and challenges tackled with a coherent #internationalgovernance, strong ethical partnerships, a #multiculuralapproach, #internationallaw safeguards.

The UNESCO ethical guidelines principles were a first symbolic and legal. The work of United Nations OCHA and UN Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) when it comes to conflict also add to the international legal and policy frameworks.

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