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The economics of peace

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The fifth edition of the Paris Peace Forum was held between the 11th and 12th of November. Under the theme of ‘Riding out the multicrisis’, sessions focused on global cooperation during conflict and in a polarized world, inclusive and just societies, climate solutions, safety and ethics in a digital world, and the effects of the multicrisis on the world’s populations. This fifth convening comes at a particularly fraught time for global peace: the Geneva Academy estimates that there are currently 114 ongoing conflicts worldwide. Some are recent, others have been ongoing for decades. Although many of these are non-international armed conflicts (NIACs), they still involve state and non-state actors, as well as having wide-reaching political, social and environmental effects.



George Washington University defines positive peace as “the absence of indirect and structural violence and is the concept that most peace and conflict researchers adopt.” It aims to create and strengthen the frameworks, institutions, spaces and conditions for peace. The UN’s General Assembly and Security Council have both passed resolutions on the importance of sustaining peace. Some countries have also integrated positive peace into national policy. Ghana implemented a National Peace Policy in 2011. Costa Rica's Ministry of Justice and Peace is tasked with running the country’s prisons and the rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners into society. In a step towards resolving political and inter-ethnic tensions, Kenya implemented the National Policy in 2015.


Legal frameworks and international security measures are integral for peace. Read more about how peace, security and law work together for global stability.


The avoidance of violence and hostility and the maintenance of harmony, alliances and diplomacy are regarded as hallmarks of civilisation and modernity. As with conflict, peace is an all-encompassing phenomenon, influencing politics, society and the economy. The latter has its own field of study with peace economics. Using economics as a means to analyse a society’s laws, frameworks and institutions and their contribution to establishing and sustaining peace. This approach argues that just as the economic impact of conflict exacerbates its effects, sustained peace has a positive economic impact, which in turn affects the society as a whole. It’s an approach backed up by fact: the Institute for Economic Peace’s (IEP) Economic Value of Peace 2021 report states that “When peacefulness improves, money saved from containing violence can be redirected to more productive activities, yielding higher returns and increasing GDP."The IEP’s 2022 Positive Peace Report also shows that countries that improved on the Positive Peace Index (PPI) had lower rates of inflation, higher GDP per capita, higher rates of household consumption and were more successful in shielding their populations during the first waves of COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021.


There are wide ranging benefits to establishing and maintaining peace. As the world faces a triage of political, economic and environmental instability, the avoidance and elimination of violence is a collective effort. Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals is Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. Our collective development and stability depends on


RECOMMENDED READING:


1.Herrera, J. H. (2009). ON PEACE: PEACE AS A MEANS OF STATECRAFT. Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College. http://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep11571

2.Institute for Economics & Peace. Economic Value of Peace 2021: Measuring the global economic impact of violence and conflict, Sydney, January 2021. Available from: http://visionofhumanity.org/resources

3.Institute for Economics & Peace. Positive Peace Report 2022: Analysing the factors that build, predict and sustain peace, Sydney, January 2022. Available from: http://visionofhumanity.org/resources



Photo by David Ohner from Flickr

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