Security and Development Essay

‘No security without development and no development without security’. To what extent do you agree with this statement? In its 200 year history Haiti has had 32 coup d’etats. It presently languishes at 149 out of 182 in the latest Human Development Index (UNDP, HDR 2009) and is on a list of 26 “fragile states” (White, 2009). It seems highly probable that the resultant lack of security of government has hampered development there.

It also seems highly probable that had Haiti developed a stable economy and experienced resultant, tangible improvements in the quality of life, then there would have been less impetus for such violent, revolutionary change in government over its history. Its misery has been compounded by the recent devastating earthquake on 12 January 2010 but the situation there was already bleak. It is clear that in order for development to occur there must be security on several fronts: security in the due process of law, security of land tenure, food security, security from the threats of conflict to name but four.

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Conversely, development and the related gains in quality of life described by numerous indicators such as increases in GDP per capita to reduction in infant mortality, from increased adult literacy to wider enfranchisement in transparent, fair elections will in turn create a more stable, secure environment in which people can achieve greater standards of living than barely just meeting their basic needs. It is necessary to examine this issue at a variety of scales and on a variety of fronts. Collier (2008) has stated that he feels four causes of poverty are particularly important to overcome if development is to occur.

The first and most important is conflict. A major part of this cause of poverty is the loss of security experienced by those in conflict zones. He states that 73% of what he terms the “Bottom Billion” (poorest billion people in the world) have experienced or are experiencing war in their lifetime. He describes conflict (be it international or civil war) as “development in reverse”. Factions involved in conflict regularly target the infrastructure of their opponents including roads, energy supplies, agricultural land, food stores, and water supplies, often succeeding in destroying or capturing them.

In the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea from 1998 flour mills, irrigation systems and bridges were routinely targeted, leading to food insecurity and costing Ethiopia over 60% of its GDP to wage. Indeed it is widely thought that development aid there may have been used to support the military rather than civilians as intended. The loss of security directly leading to not just a halting of development but its very reversal. At a national scale, conflict and the resultant lack of security halt the usual productions of a healthy economy and will often cause investors (particularly Transnational Corporations) to flee war torn regions.

Usually those involved in fighting are young men, mostly independents of the working ages. As a result, the workforce is diminished. Indeed, economically the 1994 genocide in Rwanda had a devastating effect. During the genocide the economy slumped by 50% and inflation hit 64%. In Rwanda the coffee bean has been a major cash crop. However, plantations were abandoned in the conflict and whilst 42,000 tonnes of coffee was exported at the peak in 1986, only 14,000 tonnes were being exported by 2003.

It has taken until 2004, a decade after the ceasefire, for foreign multinationals to feel that the security situation in Rwanda is strong enough for them to consider investment in the country. Starbucks have started to purchase ‘speciality’ coffee – though this remains a small proportion of exports. Terracom, a broadband business has started to grow and tourism is beginning to pick up with hotels being refurbished and the gorilla tracking industry picking up. With greater security there has been recent economic growth of 8% per year. It is important to note that a lag time exists when it comes to economic development.

In 2009, 50% of the 8 million people living in Rwanda were under 18 years old. As such there is a very high youth dependency ratio, leading to a situation where the government struggles to raise tax revenue. Indeed the new government has had to create posters reminding Rwandans that paying taxes will help to build the nation. A Rwandan Revenue Authority was created in order to help carry this out, but it is a slow process in a country which lost much of its intelligentsia, systematically targeted when the killing began: doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, Rwanda has seemingly had to start from scratch.

It is little surprise that Rwanda languishes at 158th out of 175 countries when judged according to the Human Development Index. It is little surprise that 400,000 children are out of school. That Rwanda has one of the highest infant mortality rates, with 20% of children not surviving their 5th birthdays, especially since 88% of people have to walk over an hour to access health facilities. The country is still recovering from the devastating and debilitating effects that the dissolution of security caused when conflict ripped through the country.

Unfortunately, the long term prognosis seems relatively poor, as the cyclic effect of an uneducated youth growing into an uneducated, unskilled work force does not suggest widespread development or economic growth. Over 300,000 children were left without parents and increasing the incidence of child headed families (estimated 101,000 children in this position). The result being that opportunities for schooling became increasingly limited as children tried to earn money to support themselves and their siblings. Conversely, it would seem that security cannot exist without development.

In 1996, post genocide many refugees were making the long journey home, as well as roughly 700,000 Tutsi Diaspora. The former often discovered that in their absence their homes and possessions had been usurped by survivors or other returning Tutsis from the various Diaspora. With over 150,000 houses destroyed, competition for those that remained was high. This led to many land and property disputes that were not easily resolved in a country that only had 36 judges left, 14 prosecutors and lacked the judicial infrastructure to resolve the problems.

One consequence was the growth of what was termed “pointing the finger”, i. e. accusing someone of taking part in the genocide. This usually ended up with many arbitrary arrests. By February 1995, 80,000 people were in custody with no due process of law and not enough prisons to hold them. The rebuilding of trust and security would prove to be almost an impossible task relying on the development of a functioning government, economy and judicial system and the building of new housing and services. Inevitably, there will always be some development, despite a lack of security.

The issues can be observed at a smaller scale. Indeed, it is often believed that without security of land tenure, housing will not develop. The huge pace of urbanization in Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDCs) especially in South Asia and areas of Sub Saharan Africa has shown that large areas of previously empty land has been subsumed by the development of informal squatter housing. Indeed, in Bangalore over 50% of the informal, slum housing greater than 6km away from the city centre is not “declared” and as such there is no security of tenure, yet the residents continue to build.

The point to make is that they are rarely willing to invest too much into creating housing that is anything more than semi-permanent without the security of being able to remain. There have been too many incidents of government bulldozers clearing housing for the residents to risk their investments. Indeed in Mumbai in December 2005 90,000 dwellings were flattened leaving some 300,000 homeless. However, when looking at the ‘slums’ of Rocinha in Sao Paulo, with the granting of security of tenure has come a consolidation and improvement of the huge settlement.

Buildings are now made of bricks rather than wood. Roofs have tiles and not just corrugated iron. Sewage systems and water pipes have been installed. The continued development is reliant on an improvement in security. Good governance, peace, security and development are closely allied to each other. The EU and its members states account for almost 55% of global official development assistance (ODA). In a post 9/11 world, the EU has stated (Annual Report on EC Development Policy and External Assistance, 2004) that “funds properly targeted at security and governance issues are not lost for development.

They are complementary agendas”. The funding now is an instrument of foreign policy. White (2009) has argued for an increase in funding to fragile states in order to raise security and lead to development. He feels that these countries have been left underfunded, not helped to globalize and have been allowed to slip into conflict. It seems clear that in order to foster development, security is vital. It also seems evident that for security to hold, development must occur to improve quality of life, thus removing much of the sense of hopelessness and grievances that lead to conflict.

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