WASHINGTON, March 17, 2016 – The gravity of violence and its impact on development in Latin America and the Caribbean was underscored in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) announced by the World Bank and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The MOU, which deepens an ongoing partnership between the World Bank and USAID in the region, elevates violence prevention as a global development challenge, and seeks to help cities and governments develop peaceful, just, and inclusive communities.
“The new agreement gives us the opportunity for even more strategic engagement in this area,” said Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez, Senior Director for the Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice at the World Bank. “It underscores our two organizations’ ongoing commitment to treat violence as a preventable public health issue with close links to development.”
Violence has tremendous economic costs globally – up to 10 percent of GDP in some countries – and negative long-term consequences on human, social, economic, and sustainable development. Nearly a half million people lose their lives to intrapersonal violence each year, and youth violence is the fourth leading cause of death for young people worldwide.
“None of our development efforts will take root in societies that are plagued by insecurity,” said Beth Hogan, Acting Assistant Administrator for USAID’s Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean. “We look to partnerships like this one with the World Bank to help us address complex and longstanding challenges. Together, we can help improve conditions and enable peaceful and prosperous growth in the region.”
In Latin America and the Caribbean, citizen security is arguably the greatest challenge to the region’s broader development. The region is home to eight of the 10 most violent countries in the world, and 41 of the 50 most dangerous cities. And while only 9 percent of the world’s population live in the region, it comprises 33 percent of the world’s murders.
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