This is an area of utmost importance for the proper management of the world economy, the promotion of human development and political stability. Because of the great changes in the world economy and political balance, changes in global governance will be unavoidable and global institutions, which have experienced a gradual erosion of their capacity to ‘govern’, will be challenged to keep pace with the rapid changes that take place in the world today. These challenges include international migration, conflicts, growing inequality between regions and countries, trade blocs and protectionism.
During the past two decades, the nature of conflict has undergone profound change. The optimism following the end of the cold war was shattered and the international community appeared unwilling or unable to halt the humanitarian disasters caused by wars and genocide around the globe. Wars between states remain a constant threat, but wars within states are particularly deadly and state failure is one of the most difficult issues for international aid donors to deal with. UNU-WIDER’s research on conflict is driven by the belief that while economics can bring important insights to the conflict agenda, all of the social sciences must be brought to bear on this most urgent of human problems.