War causes untold human suffering. The economic cost of war and other military expenditure is trillions of $US annually. A tiny fraction of that is spent on PP. Almost nothing is known about how most effectively to allocate these limited resources. Much that is done is ineffective or even counter-productive. During the last 10 years, the number of deaths resulting from political violence has been growing. The number of persons displaced by wars, over 60 million, is at an all-time high. We urgently need to develop ways to determine how best to use available resources to reduce the incidence of armed conflict in the world.
One approach to that problem is to investigate the cost-effectiveness of different measures aimed at reducing political violence. I have been encouraging research to measure cost-effectiveness for nearly two years. With others, I sponsored a two-day meeting on the subject in March 2016, attended by 20 senior members of the peacebuilding community. Following that, I co-sponsored a research project at the Institute for Economics and Peace. A report on the project will be available soon.
Much more needs to be done. I am in conversations with others with active interest in promoting research on cost-effectiveness. Getting hard data to help practitioners and funders to deploy their resources more effectively will take years. However, shifting resources from ineffective efforts to work that actually reduces violent conflict has enormous potential for reducing the suffering and cost that war causes.
Milt Lauenstein - February 2017
Here is a blog that I wrote. This space is available for others to write guest blogs on peacebuilding.