Asia Foundation Releases New Analysis of Conflict and Violence in 14 Asian Countries

Conflict primer presents emerging patterns and critical implications of politics, power and local history

Washington, DC, October 11, 2017 — Asia’s economic growth and urbanization will likely increase conflict and violence in the region, according to new analysis released in Washington, DC. The State of Conflict and Violence in Asia helps policymakers, business leaders, analysts, diplomats, and aid workers understand contemporary conflict and violence in Asia. The report also finds that gender-based violence kills more women than armed conflict and should command greater attention from policy-makers and the international community. Watch the launch presentation. 

The State of Conflict and Violence in Asia provides a concise, data-driven overview of the diversity and complexity of conflict and violence in 14 Asian countries, including countries where conflict is entrenched such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Myanmar, and the Philippines. This in-depth volume of essays, timelines, rankings, and infographics draws on the Foundation’s long-standing experience in each country. Read more on the report microsite.

Existing conflict data often underreport levels of violence, or focus on a single type of violence, neglecting the ways in which different forms of conflict and violence intersect. The authors of this new report respond to critical gaps in available data by examining nine types of conflict and violence at the transnational, national, subnational, and local levels, clarifying which predominate in different areas and how they interrelate.

Each country chapter combines a fresh and critical synthesis of published and academic materials with the Foundation’s on-the-ground knowledge of local politics and power in Asia. “In order to develop effective peacebuilding strategies, understanding the roots and drivers of conflict and violence, and how history has shaped them, is key,” said Patrick Barron, co-author of the volume and a regional director at The Asia Foundation. “In addition to historical analysis, we provide readers with up-to-date information so that decision-makers can effectively plan and prioritize ways to address conflict and violence.”

The volume also includes five expert essays that delve into timely, critical issues in Asia such as cross-border insurgency and terrorism, resource conflict and democratic land governance, and gender-based violence.

“Violent conflict and fragile governance present enormous challenges for development and security in Asia,” remarked David Arnold, president of The Asia Foundation. Mr. Arnold has written and lectured extensively in the U.S. and Asia on how conflict and violence leads to underdevelopment, poor governance, and instability. “We see the profound connections between different types of violence, and we hope this volume will contribute to the global dialogue on conflict and fragility.”

Emerging Patterns, Critical Implications

The report identifies five emerging patterns that require urgent attention by Asian policymakers and the international community:

  1. Politicization of ethnic/religious identities can lead to violence and is creating major risks.
  2. Conflict affects every country in Asia.
  3. National stability has often come at the price of rising subnational and local violence.
  4. Development and urbanization will likely increase violence in the coming decade.
  5. Gender-based violence is deadly, widespread and its impacts significant, still underexplored, and little understood.

The book also presents five critical implications including the need to promote good governance as a preemptive strategy to build peace, and the importance of not taking peace for granted in post-conflict countries like Nepal and Sri Lanka. The Asia Foundation supports local efforts to improve engagement between government and citizens; strengthens peacebuilding efforts and transitional institutions; and supports informal institutions that provide justice, stability, and services where the state has limited reach or legitimacy.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region addresses five overarching goals—strengthen governance, empower women, expand economic opportunity, increase environmental resilience, and promote regional cooperation.

Read more about the Foundation’s work.

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Related locations: Washington DC
Related programs: Conflict and Fragile Conditions

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Eelynn Sim, Director, Strategy and Programs
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