This chapter illustrates the nature of current wars and armed conflicts and explores contemporary responses to them. Whatever criteria are used for war or armed conflict, it is clear that large numbers of people are impoverished by them, and globally the numbers of those affected is not declining. There are characteristics of contemporary wars and armed conflicts that make non-combatants especially vulnerable. Since the end of the Cold War, there have been important initiatives aimed at controlling wars, and at alleviating their effects, but the effects have been limited, and controversial. Particularly since 2001, there are has been a marked tendency for high levels of insecurity to spread across borders and take on global dynamics. In large parts of the world, enhancing security remains a key challenge in alleviating poverty and is a prerequisite for achieving development goals.