“One-and-a-half billion people live in areas affected by fragility, conflict, or large-scale, organized criminal violence, and no low-income fragile or conflict-affected country has yet to achieve a single United Nations Millennium Development Goal” (WDR, 2011).” While the links between conflict, violence, insecurity and development are complex, there is little doubt that violence acts as a development disabler. In the 21st century, violence and insecurity take many forms, from large and small wars, to inter-communal political violence, criminal, gang and economically-motivated violence, and inter-personal or gender-based violence. Each has its particular impact on socio-economic development and human well-being; together they add up to a major obstacle to achieving the post-2015 development agenda.

This note highlights the negative impact of violence and insecurity on development and argues for the direct inclusion of a specific and holistic goal dealing with violence and insecurity as the best means to focus international and national efforts on security promotion and violence reduction. Its first two parts focus on the negative impact of violence and insecurity, and on the negative impacts of armed violence on achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Section 3 presents the case for a single universal goal dealing with security and violence reduction, embedded within the initiatives on the post-2015 development agenda. The final section looks at how conflict, violence and insecurity have been included in relevant parallel international processes.