Conflict and insecurity continued to plague populations in the eastern Congo in 2020. Amidst a global pandemic draining humanitarian funding – only 34% of requested annual aid had reached the Congo in 2020 – conflict continues to simmer, with a record high of 5.5 million displaced across the country. Recent Kivu Security Tracker data also indicates a steep rise in killings, violent deaths and other forms of violence since the end of 2019, compared to previous years.
Communities are not homogenous. Within a single community, there are often divisions along class, ethnic, and gender lines. Further, not all communities are the same. Dynamics from one community to the next can widely diﬀer, including power relations, land allocations, gender dynamics, mobility, and the level of government inﬂuence. James Scott, in Seeing Like A State, showed how much of the vocabulary of state administration carries with it the mechanisms to disempower local authority and invest it in state agents who can then wield state authority. Rebalancing this relationship requires ﬁnding ways to overcome the monopolies over information, decision-making, and convening power that state agents have, particularly in systems that emerged from an extractive colonial context. Ignoring these dynamics when designing a CDD project will most likely result in elite capture, and possibly lead to local conﬂict, increased inequality, and erode trust between citizens and the state.
The recent wave of violent protests and unrest across the developed world – the storming of the US Capitol during the electoral college process and the riots in the Netherlands, among others – questions the assumption that high-income countries have become immune to large-scale internal political violence. Are we facing a new wave of high-income conflict?
This paper highlights the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the humanitarian and economic devastation wrought by prolonged conflict in the Arab region. It also provides an overview of recent and forecasted conflict trends in seven countries, which show that conflict dynamics remain largely unchanged, or in some cases worsened, since the outbreak of the virus.
Following two years of research and mobilization, the Pathfinders Grand Challenge on Inequality and Exclusion is setting out a consultation draft of policy priorities for immediate and longer-term actions to tackle inequality and exclusion, with a particular focus on an inclusive and sustainable COVID-19 recovery.