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.
Posted in Conflict & peace
Tagged dialogue, genocide, International Day of Peace, Lebanon, microfinance, peace agreements, Peace Day, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, Rwanda, Syria, trauma healing, UN
The UN High Level Panel (HLP) on the Post-2015 Development Agenda has reported. Compared to the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) the big change is that peace and good governance have been brought in front and centre where they belong. The HLP’s report is far from the last word in a continuing debate on international development but it marks an important moment and has a lot – though not everything – to offer. Continue reading
Anybody can be forgiven for feeling these are gloomy times. National economies are largely sluggish, abysmal at worst. Political leaders can’t fix a range of problems from the Euro to carbon emissions. From Mali via Syria to the Korean peninsula, peace in the world seems at risk. So it’s important to find the positive news. Continue reading
Posted in The State of the World
Tagged cancer, Climate change, democracy, gay rights, HIV/AIDS, inequality, Martin Bell, Martyn Lewis, mental health, peacebuilding, Positive News, UN, wars, women in politics
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.
Today, Sunday 24 February, the heads of state of eleven countries have signed a peace and security agreement addressing the conflicts in and around eastern Congo. It’s a potentially important step – but it’s the start of a long process, not the end of it.
The state is the organising principle of national and international politics and states are the subject of abundant historical research, academic theory and contemporary analysis. That perhaps makes it a little strange to say that both the state as a category and states in general tend to be taken for granted. But that’s how it is – and it’s a problem. Continue reading
Today is publication day for the new edition of The State of the World Atlas. It presents information about the world – economics, politics, conflict, health, environment and demography – in a variety of forms, primarily in maps and other visuals, also in text. If you will excuse me, I want to introduce it to you. Continue reading
Posted in The State of the World
Tagged carbon emissions, China, Climate change, EU, global ineqaulity, health, India, International development, peace agreements, peacebuilding, UN, US