Cyclical Youth-Led Conflict as an Early Warning Indicator

Michelle Legassicke


The dynamics of conflict are shifting. In the 2011 World Development Report, the World Bank stated that conflicts are now increasingly cyclical and intractable events; 90 percent of the civil wars that occurred in the 2000s were fought within countries that had experienced a domestic conflict in the past 30 years (World Bank, 2011). Countries are more likely to experience cycles of violence due to the persistence of weak state structures that cannot extend their reach into peripheral regions, leading to local instability (Kingston, 2004). Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the international community observed several states – in which external actors provided 50 percent of those states’ overall revenues – relapse into civil war (Call, 2012). Given the significant investment by the international community in peacebuilding projects in post-conflict states – whether democratic reforms, economic reforms, capacity building, or sustainable development – there needs to be a significant increase in research focused on civil war recurrence, as the trajectory of post-conflict states cannot be guaranteed without sustainable peace.

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