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The devastating impact of conflict, armed crime, and all forms of armed violence around the world is apparent for all to see. Armed violence closes schools, paralyses communities, burdens health-care systems, discourages investment and economic activity, and makes lives and livelihoods less secure. Spending on arms or arms races can divert vital funds from public services such as education and health care, and when such spending takes place without accountability and transparency, it can aggravate corruption. Individually and cumulatively, these impacts undermine sustainable development and the achievement of internationally-agreed targets such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

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