Today is the UN International Day of Peace and it comes at a time when many people seem to feel peace is taking a horrible worldwide kicking. Is it so bad? Continue reading
Peace is the big, under-reported good news story of the 20-plus years since the Cold War ended. There are fewer wars than in the 1980s. There have been more peace agreements, and an increasing proportion of them endure for longer.
Good. Because the next 20 years will make the last 20 seem like a rehearsal for the real thing. Continue reading
Today, 21 September, is the UN International Day of Peace. It’s a day to think about how peace is achieved, safeguarded and built. It is, of course, not the work of a day. Think of Syria, and how much rebuilding of all kinds will be needed when the opportunity of peace arrives. Or think of Rwanda, 19 years on from the genocide, and how it is still recovering and building a peaceful society. Here’s a brief video of (some of) my thoughts about it.
The situation in Mali is quietly dropping out of the headlines. But last week Ban Ki-moon called for 11,000 peacekeeping troops, possibly backed by combat forces so it’s a good time to be thinking about what the peacebuilding needs are in Mali. The French intervention seems to have been driven by a very short-term view (or perhaps just by the hope for a quick result), based on seeing the problem in terms of terrorism and therefore concentrating on hard security measures. This seems to be backed by a superficial analysis of Mali’s political economy focusing on the north rather than on the whole country and how power is organised, and on the Tuaregs rather than all the different ethnic groups. International Alert has published a briefing paper that goes into the background and explores what is needed for peacebuilding. I have drawn on it for a shorter piece in the Huffington Post.
This week it was confirmed that in 2013 the UK will hit the target of spending 0.7 per cent of GDP on official development assistance (ODA). A long-standing campaigning goal for development NGOs and a moral goal for the country have been achieved. And the week before, UK Secretary for International Development Justine Greening said in the House of Commons on Wednesday that she thought it right to look at how DFID can work more closely with the Ministry of Defence.’ Let’s take a closer look. Continue reading
The decision to set up the UN Peacebuilding Commission, Peacebuilding Support Office and Peacebuilding Fund was taken in September 2005 and bit by bit the new architecture was ready for business in 2006 and into 2007. I have just finished four years on the Fund’s independent Advisory Group, the last two as its chair, so here are my reflections. Continue reading
How do you recognise how peaceful countries are and systematically compare them to each other? And how do you work out what makes countries peaceful? And if we all knew the answers to these questions would we be more able to make the world more peaceful? Figuring the answer to the third question is yes, the Global Peace Index tries to answer the first two. It is now published for the third successive year. Continue reading
“In 2008 global peacekeeping was pushed to the brink,” says a new briefing paper from the Center on International Cooperation in New York announcing the Annual Review of Global Peace Operations 2009. The authors chart out the basic peacekeeping figures – who contributes what peacekeeping forces where – but their main focus is on the serious degree of overstretch and the risk of operations breaking down. Continue reading