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Modern Peacebuilding and Nonviolence: Creating Peace that will Last

By David A. Kirshbaum (31 May 2021)

Table of Contents

Introduction 2

Chapter 1. Galtung’s Theory of Violence and Peace 2

Galtung’s 5 Types of Violence 2

Galtung’s 2 Levels of Peacework 3

Positive Peace - Peacebuilding 3

Chapter 2. Peacebuilding 4

Chapter 3. UN Program for Sustaining Peace 7

Chapter 4. Nonviolence 7

Chapter 5. Culture of Peace 10

Chapter 6. Scientific Measurement of Peace 12

Chapter 7. Individual Psychology and Peacebuilding 15

Chapter 8. Human Development and Peacebuilding 17

Chapter 9. SALW Disarmament 18

Conclusion 19

Notes 20

Keyword Index & Glossary 22

Bibliography 24


People want to know why there is so much violence and what to do about it? Will we ever have lasting peace? Is human nature even capable of creating and maintaining lasting peace and prosperity for all?

Johan Galtung has compelling answers to these very important questions but then what happened when the United Nations tried to implement his ideas?

Chapter 1. Galtung’s Theory of Violence and Peace

Dr. Johan Galtung, of Oslo University and now retired(1) acknowledged that the natural world is full of violence, and I would like to add that human nature and even physical reality are full of violence. So violence is natural and prevalent in our reality.

Galtung also talked about the power over us of violence that we grew up with.

Galtung said there are actually 5 types of violence. Those first two we have very limited control over, but the last 3 levels of violence is where we do have control and the choice to do something about it.

Galtung’s 5 Types of Violence

Footnote (2)

  • Natural Violence - violence found in the natural world and I suggest in human nature and physical reality as well.

  • inherited Violence - violence we grew up with that influences thinking, attitudes and behavior.

  • Direct or Personal Violence - violence that human individuals or groups choose to practice against each other.

  • Structural Violence - social and legal structures like laws and contracts that implement oppression, discrimination and exploitation, etc., of people or groups of people

  • Cultural Violence - cultures that glorify and promote violence, war, weapons, oppression, discrimination and exploitation, etc.

Even though we have some control over the first two, it is the last 3 where we have real control, and is the key to creating lasting peace.

Creating lasting peace involves 2 levels of peace work:

Galtung’s 2 Levels of Peacework

Footnote (3)

  • Negative Peace - temporarily in the short-term stopping and preventing violence; includes the tactics of(4):

    • Peacemaking (stopping violence)

    • Peacekeeping (preventing violence from violating peace)

  • Positive Peace - includes the tactics of:

    • Peacebuilding (long-term changes so that peace will last)

Negative Peace is the short-term things you do to stop and prevent violence, but which do not create long- term change so violence does not return.

In turn, Negative Peace (Peacemaking and Peacekeeping) includes two categories of actions to stop and prevent violence(5):

  • Dissociative Negative Peace - separating the conflicting parties (mostly Peacemaking). Tactics such as:

    • Having a stronger third party army enforce the separation.

    • Building barriers between them like walls.

    • Using a natural barrier to separate them like a river or mountains.

  • Associative Negative Peace - getting the conflicting parties to talk nonviolently (mostly Peacekeeping). Tactics like:

    • Negotiating agreements like cease-fires, armistice or even peace agreements.

    • Negotiating prisoner or cultural exchanges or family unification programs.

    • Negotiating ongoing regular schedule of meetings to discuss issues.

    • Negotiating gradualling opening borders.

Positive Peace - Peacebuilding

To create peace that will last, Galtung says that Peacebuilding must take place in 3 areas. Notice how these areas match the 3 types of violence we do have control over(6,8):

  • Direct or Personal Positive Peace - education and training so that people (individuals and groups) will know how to communicate, solve problems, and advocate for justice more effectively and nonviolently, and will choose to do so in times of conflict.

  • Structural Positive Peace - political programs to change laws so they promote equality, inclusion and justice and rule-of-law, protect human and civil rights, and stop and prevent oppression, discrimination and exploitation. Thus people will feel good about their government and about their own futures and the future of their kids.

  • Cultural Positive Peace - programs that transform cultures so they glorify peace and nonviolence, and equality, inclusion, justice and rule-of-law, and that stigmatize oppression, discrimination, exploitation and violence.

Notice how Cultural Positive Peace facilitates Direct/Personal Positive Peace and Structural Positive Peace. This is because changing laws and training in nonviolence is greatly helped if there are corresponding changes in culture that respect, glorify and promote equality, justice, inclusion, rule-of-law, etc. .

Galtung goes further to describe 6 necessities for such Peacebuilding efforts to succeed and last(7):

  • Equity - people must experience equality and justice

  • Entropy - people must be skilled at managing conflict, crises and change.

  • Symbiosis - all sectors of society must collaborate and cooperate with each other.

  • Large Scope - all issues must be handled and hopefully resolved. Nothing should be ignored or denied. Thus all people feel listened to and their concerns are acknowledged and respected.

  • Broad Domain - all sectors of society must be included in decision-making (all ethnic groups, economic classes, professional groups, and areas of the country).

  • Superstructure - there must be a permanent campus of meeting rooms fully equipped with the latest communications technology staffed by highly trained and skilled personnel ready 24/7 to help with all peacekeeping or Peacebuilding efforts - like the UN.

What this means is that efforts at Direct/Personal Positive Peace, Structural Positive Peace, and Cultural Positive Peace will be more effective if the people have a sense of equality and justice, have the strong ability to manage conflict, crises and change, everyone involved are cooperating with each other, no issue or complaint is being ignored, all segments of society are involved and there is a strong physical structure to support peace efforts with skilled staff and highly useable meeting rooms.

Those are the basics of Galtung’s theory of how to create lasting peace. Now what happened when the UN tried to implement these ideas?

Chapter 2. Peacebuilding

The implementation of Negative Peace worked as expected - violence was stopped and prevented temporarily, but often started up again because nothing had really changed. The things that started the violence were still there, so the violence often quickly returned..

Then what about Peacebuilding - the programs that were designed to bring real change so that violence never broke out again didn’t actually formally start until 2005.

Up until 2005, the UN had tried to create peace by just doing Negative Peace - stopping and preventing violence with short-term tactics. Consequently, it did not go well and generally the UN was not able to create lasting peace.

So in 2005, the UN passed simultaneous General Assembly and Security Council resolutions (General Assembly A/RES/60/180 and Security Council S/RES/1645, both of 20 December 2005) announcing the implementation of Peacebuilding post conflict through the creation of a new agency focused on it(19) :

  • UN Peacebuilding Commission - creating and guiding Peacebuilding programs worldwide, with support of:

    • Peacebuilding Support Office - to plan and guide the technical details of Peacebuilding.

    • Peacebuilding Funding Office - finding funding to finance UN Peacebuilding decisions and missions chosen by the Commission.

How did that significant effort go? Well, not so well. Understandably the UN, governments and civil society partners found lots of resistance to implementing long-term change:

For example, a lot of elements in many societies often resisted social justice approaches because social and legal structures of discrimination and oppression had long-standing status in the society with a strong cultural backing. They wanted peace but with the status quo. This also included the idea of working with disparate sectors of society and taking each other’s issues seriously - such an idea often conflicted with centuries-old traditions and cultural norms.

So the long-term work of Peacebuilding was really long-term. For example, it took many decades to change the Jim Crow laws in the American South that legalized discrimination against African-Americans, and even to this day racism still runs strong in American culture and daily customs.

Thus Peacebuilding had a lot of political enemies who did not like the changes that Galtung recommended. Also Peacebuilding programs tended to be expensive.

Therefore, Peacebuilding was so slow and tedious and problematic, the UN and its partners found they had to keep up the short-term practices of Peacekeeping to maintain peacefulness in the short-term and prevent violence from breaking out again. For example, the UN Peacebuilding Commission published a paper describing how peacebuilding programs must include short-term peacekeeping elements like(20-27):

  • National Ownership - making sure that local people and groups were committed to the Peacebuilding effort and did not see it as being imposed on them from the outside.

  • DDR (demobilization, disarmament, reintegration of armed combatants) - taking care that combatants were successfully returned to society and became productive citizens, and making sure their weapons were disposed of properly.

  • SSR (Security Sector Reform) - making sure military and police were retrained in humane and nonviolent police tactics, because often they were a major source of problems stimulating a violent response.

  • Reform in Healthcare, Education and Government Services - these services were quickly reformed so that citizens felt like their needs were being met.

  • Reconciliation Programs - help resolve anger and resentment, so the citizens felt like they were being listened to seriously.

  • Conflict Sensitivity - becoming aware of what are the local triggers for violence and then making sure the Peacebuilding programs were planned so that they did not trigger them.

  • Peace Dividends - quickly identifying benefits for the public from the Peacebuilding that can be quickly delivered to the public with great fanfare to help generate public support for and local ownership of the Peacebuilding efforts.

So in 2015, the UN Secretary General assembled an Advisory Group of Experts to study the situation and come up with a set of recommendations(28).

But there was nothing really new in these recommendations:

  1. Peacebuilding must be highest priority over Peacemaking, Peacekeeping and Peace Enforcement.

  2. The UN must be restructured to support this priority.

  3. Increase communications and cooperation between UN entities.

  4. Greater inclusion and accountability with partners.

  5. Developing clear plans for long-lterm transformation of society.

However, during this period another development for peacebuilding was also happening - the UN was formalizing a combination of Peacebuilding and peacekeeping creating the Sustaining Peace UN Program and a new agency to run it.

Chapter 3. UN Program for Sustaining Peace

In 2015 the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council passed simultaneous resolutions declaring the start of the Sustaining Peace Program and the creation of a new agency to run it - the UN Dept. of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA)(28).

In the UN program for Sustaining Peace, they tend to emphasize the peacekeeping aspects because they are easier, less expensive, more successful in the short-run and more popular, but the ideals of Peacebuilding are never forgotten and are implemented when possible(29,30).

There are also many independent Peacebuilding programs run by civil society and others that are quite successful. An example of this is the democratic leadership training programs run across the globe by Mediators Beyond Borders International that train women in democratic principles and processes and how to be strong leaders(31). In fact civil society peacebuilders have created a large international coalition to support their Peacebuilding efforts called the Alliance for Peacebuilding. On their website you can read about many amazing Peacebuilding programs(32), but all of them acknowledge the need to take care of short-term needs while pursuing long-term goals.

However some people see the Sustaining Peace Program as a compromise of Galtung’s ideals and the UN caving into nationalist anti-democracy, anti-human rights interests. But the reality in the field is that the dynamic between peacekeeping and Peacebuilding practices are flexible and a major purpose of the short-term practices of peacekeeping is to support the Peacebuilding long-term effort - to keep it peaceful so that the Peacebuilding effort can move forward.

It is a matter of being practical and doing whatever works in the given situation. When people are getting hurt and families are being destroyed - the horrific realities of armed conflict - calls for you to discard dogma and do whatever you can to create calm and safety so people can recover and return to normal life - children can go to school, people can get food for their families and go to see doctors, and re-open their stores and businesses. Peacebuilders will always return to their long-term goals, but in the short-term the safety and well-being of civilians must come first.

Chapter 4. Nonviolence

By definition when you are seeking to stop and prevent violence and create long-lastIng peace, you are practicing nonviolent actions. Nonviolence is at the core of short and long-term peace. And in fact both Gandhi and King spoke of nonviolence as a worldview and a lifestyle.

In the course of studying the dynamic relationship between Negative and Positive Peace, one sees 5 levels of nonviolent action emerge, and one leads into the next(9):

  • Inner Nonviolence (INV) - a state of inner peace, which in time becomes so strong it cannot be affected by outside events, which is thus a source of stability during times of crisis, which keeps the mind clear to enhance problem-solving, increases empathy for others as the heart remains open and the mind receptive even during times of conflict, is a source of wisdom as it leads to insight about human beings and world circumstances, and is an inspiration to others.

  • Nonviolent Communications (NVC) - this is a style of communication which can be part of normal daily human interaction that is especially designed to build human bonding, encourage expression of mutual respect, deepen mutual understanding, and facilitate greater cooperation and deepening brotherly love in the course of the normal day. When you have such human bonding and mutual understanding, then automatically people are more committed to nonviolence and maintaining peacefulness(10).

  • Nonviolent Conflict Resolution (NVCR) - when conflict arises, and conflict is normal to human interaction, NVCR techniques are used to build and utilize the immense power of human connection to overcome obstacles and find mutually beneficial solutions where none were previously imaginable. NVCR can be used between individuals, but also between groups as well, and even in armed combat situations. There it can be seen in the practice of Unarmed Civilian Protection to protect civilians being attacked by armed combatants and terrorists(11).

  • Nonviolent Non-Cooperation (NVNC) - in situations where there is an imbalance of power (such as civilians vs. governments or employees vs. employers) and NVCR has not succeeded in finding solutions, the weaker group can choose to expose or even reverse the imbalance of power by taking advantage of the fact that the more powerful group actually needs the weaker group and thus by manipulating the normal day-to-day circumstances of the imbalance so as to threaten or expose the more powerful group’s need in order to encourage the more powerful group to take the weaker group’s needs and demands more seriously. An example of this is a labor strike where workers refuse to go to work and thus they have forcinged the employer to consider their demands more seriously. ThereforeThus the idea is that disrupting normal activities exposes the dependency of the bigger group on those activities and whichthus puts both parties on a more equal footing.

  • Nonviolent Resistance (NVR) - in situations when there is an imbalance of power and the more powerful group is using their greater strength to avoid fair negotiations and other fair actions toward the weaker power and none of the other 3 types of nonviolent action work, then the weaker power can employ nonviolent resistance - direct protest that draws media attention and often disrupts the normal flow of community life. Often the actions are designed to embarrass the more powerful group by exposing his wrong-doing making him look bad. Often the protests involve forcing the stronger group to arrest protesters which also makes the stronger force look bad. Research-activists like Gene Sharpe and Michael Beer have developed hundreds of techniques of nonviolent resistance and written many books on how to make them work. The idea is to find ways to force change without resorting to violence. There has been a lot of success with this approach(12,13).

Such methods were used by Mahatma Gandhi in India, Nelson Mandela in South Africa, Martin Luther King, Jr. in the USA, Cesar Chavez in California and Mubarak Awad in Palestine/Israel, and others. All of these successfully employed these nonviolent methods in opposition to oppressive, exploitative government regimes except Awad who was quickly deported by Israel and not allowed to return(14).

It is important to note that all these nonviolent movements were also accompanied by unrelated violent actions, and it is a matter of study and debate how much the violence contributed to the success, and if it was even necessary(15)

Nonviolence is at the core of Negative Peace and Positive Peace although violence is sometimes necessary in Disassociated Negative Peace in order to keep the warring parties apart to stop their violence or aggression against each other, but always the goal is to work toward nonviolent peacekeeping and Peacebuilding.

Here are a few examples where trained facilitators in nonviolent actions can make a difference in peacemaking, peacekeeping and Peacebuilding:

  • Dissociative Negative Peace - when separating warring parties or isolating a uncooperative aggressor, practitioners in NVC and NVCR help tremendously because such training includes methods to de-escalate tense situations and creating atmospheres where people feel listened to and respected while still not being able to get away with aggressive actions. Such skills to be able to de-escalate and then create a trustworthy atmosphere helps tremendously in such situations move it to the next level where people can start talking.

  • Associative Negative Peace - NVCR includes the perfect skill set to help conflicting parties begin talking and then listening and then working toward mutually beneficial solutions, while implementing de-acceleration when needed.

  • Peacekeeping - practitioners of NVC and NVCR are expert at keeping people talking, de-accelerating tension, listening to and acknowledging and respecting opposing viewpoints leading to reconciliation, and then working together and practice creative problem-solving in reforming security services, healthcare, education and government services and what best to do with demobilized combatants and their weapons. Thus they are experts at creating a peaceful and productive atmosphere. Then if one party grows belligerent and uncooperative then experts in NVNC and NVR know how to design nonviolent actions to de-accelerate tensions and hopefully bring them back into alignment.

  • Direct/Individual Positive Peace - this is where you train conflicting individuals and groups themselves in NVC and NVCR so that they choose nonviolent actions instead of violence. This is complemented by progress in Structural Positive Peace so their actions are backed up legally and socially, and by progress in Cultural Positive Peace so that their peaceful nonviolent actions are supported and promoted by their society values and morals and beliefs, which is tremendously powerful. Also extremely important is progress with human development so that the people see a strong possibility for a prosperous future, which also motivates them to utilize peaceful nonviolent methods to prevent violence from harming their social and economic progress.

  • Structural Positive Peace - changing laws, government processes and other social structures inevitably involves political negotiation, and practitioners of NVC and NVCR are expert at facilitating that, helping people overcome obstacles, hearing opposing views, cooperate in creative problem-solving, and creating possibilities for compromise. Then this is helped tremendously if there is also progress as well with culture change and human development.

  • Cultural Positive Peace - probably changing cultures is the most difficult part of Galtung’s ideas, but through the power of human connection as facilitated by the practitioners of NVC and NVCR, where people are helped to become more willing to listen to others and cooperate in building a better future for everyone - then maybe that in itself is a culture change - to a culture that glorifies and promotes unity equality and communicating and cooperation and enjoying mutual prosperity together.

Truly this could lead to peace and prosperity that will last long-term because the people know how to maintain it, and their culture and laws support that. That is why everyone should be trained in INV, NVC, NVCR, NVNC and NVR - parents and children, teachers and students, employers and employees, police and the public, government workers and prison guards and everyone else. This would only make things easier.

Chapter 5. Culture of Peace

A very important parallel program at the UN to Peacebuilding/Sustaining Peace is the program for a culture of peace. This program is very similar to Galtung’s ideas about Positive Peace but with a focus on culture because many of the things that Galtung describes as necessary for peace to last are very similar to what the UN describes as what is necessary for or what distinguishes a culture of peace(16,17).

The best document describing the UN Program for a culture of peace is UN General Assembly Resolution 53/243. This resolution describes the following things as necessary for creating a culture of peace:(18)

Resolution 53/243. Declaration and Program of Action on a Culture of Peace

Article 1.

A culture of peace is a set of values, attitudes, traditions and modes of behaviour and ways of life based on: (a) Respect for life, ending of violence and promotion and practice of non-violence through education, dialogue and cooperation; (b) Full respect for the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of States and non-intervention in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any State, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and international law; (c) Full respect for and promotion of all human rights and fundamental freedoms; (d) Commitment to peaceful settlement of conflicts; (e) Efforts to meet the developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations; (f) Respect for and promotion of the right to development; (g) Respect for and promotion of equal rights and opportunities for women and men; (h) Respect for and promotion of the right of everyone to freedom of expression, opinion and information; (i) Adherence to the principles of freedom, justice, democracy, tolerance, solidarity, cooperation, pluralism, cultural diversity, dialogue and understanding at all levels of society and among nations; and fostered by an enabling national and international environment conducive to peace.

Article 3:

The fuller development of a culture of peace is integrally linked to: (a) Promoting peaceful settlement of conflicts, mutual respect and understanding and international cooperation; (b) Complying with international obligations under the Charter of the United Nations and international law; (c) Promoting democracy, development and universal respect for and observance of all human rights and fundamental freedoms; (d) Enabling people at all levels to develop skills of dialogue, negotiation, consensus-building and peaceful resolution of differences; (e) Strengthening democratic institutions and ensuring full participation in the development process; (f) Eradicating poverty and illiteracy and reducing inequalities within and among nations; (g) Promoting sustainable economic and social development; (h) Eliminating all forms of discrimination against women through their empowerment and equal representation at all levels of decision-making; (i) Ensuring respect for and promotion and protection of the rights of children; (j) Ensuring free flow of information at all levels and enhancing access thereto; (k) Increasing transparency and accountability in governance; (l) Eliminating all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; (m) Advancing understanding, tolerance and solidarity among all civilizations, peoples and cultures, including towards ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities; (n) Realizing fully the right of all peoples, including those living under colonial or other forms of alien domination or foreign occupation, to self-determination enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and embodied in the International Covenants on Human Rights,2 as well as in the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples contained in General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960.

Thus the parallels are obvious to Galtung’s six things needed for peace to last (equity, entropy, symbiosis, etc.).which included equality, justice, cooperation between all parties, and inclusiveness of all parties and ideas, etc.

But Galtung put the effort to create a culture of peace within a framework of Positive Peace (creating lasting peace which included also changing laws, training people, managing social entropy and building a peace superstructure, and more) and Negative Peace (efforts to stop and prevent violence in the short term), which makes it much more broadly workable than just changing a culture alone.

What this also points out is that while creating a culture of peace is necessary for peace to last, the process of peacebuilding itself helps create a culture of peace.

Chapter 6. Scientific Measurement of Peace

Ideally, scientifically measuring peacefulness should provide guidance to peacebuilders about what to fix and what doesn’t need fixing which would probably make their efforts more effective.

The leading proponent of measuring peacefulness is the Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP), based in Sydney, Australia. IEP was started by IT billionaire Steve Killilea in 2007(35).

IEP has created two measures of peacefulness:

  • Global Peace Index (GPI) - measures peacefulness utilizing 24 well-established socio-economic measures yielding a single total, which has been criticized for being too simplistic.

  • Positive Peace Index (PPI) - measures peacefulness utilizing 24 well-established socio-economic measures yielding a complex 8 part socio-economic profile of peacefulness.

The GPI came first. Then came the PPI which provides much more robust results. PPI analysis yields measures in 8 socio-economic areas which together provide a complex multi-dimensional picture of peacefulness. The 8 socio-economic dimensions and the tests behind them (they call them Indicators) are:

Positive Peace Index - Measuring Socio-Economic Factors of Peacefulness

  • Well-functioning Government – a well-functioning government delivers high-quality public and civil services, engenders trust and participation, demonstrates political stability and upholds the rule of law.

    • Political Democracy Index (The Economist Intelligence Unit)

    • Government Effectiveness Estimate (World Bank)

    • Rule-of-Law Estimate (Bertelsmann Transformation Index)

  • Sound Business Environment – the strength of economic conditions as well as the formal institutions that support the operation of the private sector. Business competitiveness and economic productivity are both associated with the most peaceful countries.

    • Starting a Business (World Bank)

    • Maintaining a Business (World Bank)

    • GDP per Capita (current US$) (International Monetary Fund)

  • Equitable Distribution of Resources – peaceful countries tend to ensure equity in access to resources such as education, health, and to a lesser extent, equity in income distribution.

    • Inequality-Adjusted Life Expectancy Index (United Nations Development Program)

    • Poverty Headcount Ration at $5.50 per day (2011 PPP) (% of population) (World Bank)

    • Equal Distribution of Resources Index (Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem))

  • Acceptance of the Rights of Others – peaceful countries often have formal laws that guarantee basic human rights and freedoms, and the informal social and cultural norms that relate to behaviours of citizens.

    • Gender Inequality Index (UNDP)

    • Group Grievance Measure (Fragile States Index)

    • Exclusion by Socio-Economic Group (Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem))

  • Good Relations with Neighbours – peaceful relations with other countries are as important as good relations between groups within a country. Countries with positive external relations are more peaceful and tend to be more politically stable, have better functioning governments, are regionally integrated and have lower levels of organised internal conflict.

    • Hostility to Foreigners/Private Property (The Economist Intelligence Unit)

    • International Tourism, Number of Arrivals (per 100,000) (World Tourism Organization)

    • Regional Integration (The Economist Intelligence Unit)

  • Free Flow of Information – free and independent media disseminates information in a way that leads to greater knowledge and helps individuals, businesses and civil society make better decisions. This leads to better outcomes and more rational responses in times of crisis.

    • Freedom of the Press (Freedom House)

    • Quality of Information (Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem))

    • Individuals Using the Internet (% of population) (International Telecommunications Union)

  • High Levels of Human Capital – a skilled human capital base reflects the extent to which societies educate citizens and promote the development of knowledge, thereby improving economic productivity, care for the young, political participation and social capital.

    • Share of Youth not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET) (%) (International Labour Organization)

    • Researchers in R&D (per million people) (UNESCO)

    • Healthy Life Expectancy (HALE) at Birth (years) (World Health Organization)

  • Low Levels of Corruption - in societies with high levels of corruption, resources are inefficiently allocated, often leading to a lack of funding for essential services and civil unrest. Low corruption can enhance confidence and trust in institutions.

    • Control of Corruption (World Bank)

    • Factionalized Elites (Fragile States Index)

    • Irregular Payments and Bribes (World Economic Forum)

Institute for Economics & Peace. Positive Peace Report 2020: analysing the factors that sustain peace, Sydney, December 2020. Available from: (accessed Date Month Year).

In this way IEP has built a solid data-driven approach to measuring and analyzing peacefulness.

Relevant to the measurement of socio-economic factors behind peacefulness is the understanding at the UN that lasting peace and lasting prosperity are interrelated and interdependent - that you cannot have one without the other. For example, stores and businesses cannot operate and grow if there is dangerous violence in the streets around them, and peace will not last if citizens don’t feel a sense of a secure financial future for their families and children. This interrelation is measured by the PPI from IEP.

Another approach was developed by the Barrett Values System(34) that used their well-established and verified methodology of measuring and evaluating the values held by the members of a given organization to see if they believed in a culture of peace or not.

The Barrett System measures the values of a given organization, community or country utilizing 3 parameters ((1) current values of individual members, (2) perceived values of the group, and (3) ideal values the group should have) and through advanced statistical analysis produces a complex profile of the groups culture and functioning(36), and then in comparison to a carefully picked set of values of a culture of peace, the Barrett System adds a layer of analysis to the cultural profile that describes how peaceful the group is, and how it could be improved.

The Barrett Value Centre worked with Nonviolence International for two years on this project beginning in 2018, but then abandoned it for financial reasons.

Two UN measuring instruments for peacekeeping situations are the(20):

  • Integrated Mission Planning Process Toolkit (IMPP)

  • Post-Conflict Needs Assessment - Transitional Results Framework (PCNA-TRF)

The hope is that as our understanding deepens of social, economic, cultural and political factors and their interrelations, then we will better understand how to design and apply peacekeeping and Peacebuilding programs to making a peaceful society with prosperity and security for all.

Chapter 7. Individual Psychology and Peacebuilding

Another important question is where does individual mental health fit in - of both the peacebuilders who often witness horrific situations, and the victims of those horrific situations who often suffer overwhelming trauma from them.

First, peacebuilders must be experts at knowing themselves (pre-conceptions and expectations, intentions, mental limitations and emotional needs, personal symptoms of stress and trauma, etc.) and at managing their own emotions and stress reactions. Peacebuilders often witness horrific situations and/or deal with people who have gone through horrific situations and consequently suffer with overwhelming trauma, grief and rage, and in the face of that must be able to maintain professional distance and compassion so that they can think clearly and help develop an effective plan going forward. Therefore it is essential that peacebuilders personally practice stress management and develop self-awareness, self-understanding and mindfulness.

And then Peacebuilders must be adept at assisting victims of violent conflict who might be caught in overwhelming trauma, grief and rage. The latest developments in psychology have moved far beyond psychoanalysis which focused solely on subconscious childhood emotional issues. Nowadays peacebuilders and social workers have a range of tools to help them manage overwhelming psychological dysfunction and help victims return to a normal life:

  • Medication - to help a person calm down, and reduce thought and emotional dysfunction.

  • Psycho-Education - help the patient understand their own psychological processes better, which then increases cooperation with the therapist and motivation to get better.

  • Case-Management - to help with practical details of returning to a normal life.

  • Training in Self-Help Skills - especially medication management, symptom management and stress management. This increases patient cooperation in treatment, and also increases self-sufficiency which leads to increased motivation and optimism about the future.

  • Training in Life Skills (social skills, household management, vocational skills) where needed, to increase self-efficacy, self-sufficiency and motivation and optimism and a sense of life direction.

  • Group Process and Therapy - socialization and emotional development leading to fulfilling, supportive relationships and the benefits of feeling empathy and compassion for others which also builds a sense of life direction.

This also involves a change in the attitudes of therapists from a patronizing attitude of a dominant controlling arrogant know-it-all doctor to a care-giver who gives and models both compassion and empathy and respect and honor to the patient, so that they begin to feel those things for themselves, as well as provides trainings and psycho-education which all helps increase self-esteem, self-efficacy, self-sufficiency, thus increasing motivation to get better and optimism about the future.

Also this new kind of care-giver develops a sense of partnership with the patient which also helps develop motivation and optimism.

Also politicization of the patient might be used to develop self-esteem, motivation and a sense of life direction.

This approach to psychotherapy is best represented by the school of Psychosocial Rehabilitation pioneered by Dr. Robert Liberman at UCLA and Dr. William Anthony at Boston University in the 1980s for the treatment of schizophrenia and other chronic psychiatric disorders, but then was generalized to other treatment populations because of its effectiveness(33,34).

It is important to note the parallels between Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Peacebuilding - that lasting recovery and thriving is dependent on educational, supportive, empowering treatment and training that emphasizes self-sufficiency, skills and knowledge, high self-esteem and knowledge and self-management, and a strong sense of self and political rights in the world. Such things are very similar to what Galtung says is necessary for peace to last as well as what peacekeeping says is necessary for short-term maintenance of peacefulness - equality and justice, local ownership, inclusion and cooperation, not ignoring any issues, and a healthy infrastructure (that helps with resolving issues and with stress management). Healthy self-sufficiency helps both individuals and countries.

Chapter 8. Human Development and Peacebuilding

Human development involves a range of issues from economic and political rights to economic and food security for all equally. Thus at the UN this has developed into two huge movements - first Social Development and then Sustainable Development.

First Social Development came along emphasizing for all equally of the rights and welfare and prosperity for all the disadvantaged and marginalized human groupings(37).

Then Sustainable Development was developed and organized into 17 global goals first implemented in 2015 which emphasized(38):

  1. That all 17 goals were interrelated and interdependent for their successful implementation.

  2. That lasting peace was necessary for successful implementation of the development goals - that development and peace were interrelated and interdependent, and that neither would last without the other lasting.

  3. That the successful lasting implementation of the 17 goals was also dependent on environmental protection - that environmental degradation and climate change not only threatened the implementation of the goals, but was also an existential threat as well.

  4. Successful implementation of the 17 goals would not happen without partnerships across the globe and at every level. Nobody can do it alone or survive on their own unless we all work together on the goals.

This parallels exactly what both Galtung and the UN program for a culture of peace say that peace will not last unless everyone works together - every segment and every level of society are included in the decision-making and implementation.

Another very important concept developed independently especially by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) is that peace is much more economically beneficial than war and conflict. This fits very well with the concept that lasting peace is interdependent with lasting development and prosperity.

To quote IEP(39)

Violence has adverse implications for the broader economy, both in the short and long term, as it hinders productivity and economic activity, destabilises institutions and reduces business confidence. These all disrupt the economy, resulting in adverse and ongoing negative effects well after the conflict subsides. These effects include reduced GDP growth, a less predictable economy, higher levels of unemployment, lower levels of foreign direct investment and higher interest and inflation. The economic cost of violence for the ten most affected countries ranges from 23.5 to 59.1 per cent of their GDP. This is significantly larger than the global country average of 8.5 per cent of GDP. In comparison, the ten most peaceful countries’ average economic cost amounts to 3.9 per cent of their GDP. These differences highlight the large economic benefits from maintaining higher levels of peace.

Chapter 9. SALW Disarmament

Disarmament is a crucial element of both lasting peace and lasting prosperity because above everything else, weapons are designed with only one purpose - to kill and maim. Statistics show that the mere presence of a gun greatly increases the chances of deadly violence. Economies simply can’t function and grow where there is pervasive gun violence(40,41).

But this does not mean that individuals cannot possess guns. It just means that each stage of the legal life cycle of guns, from manufacturing to destruction, must be carefully monitored(39):

  1. Manufacturing & Registration - registration (technically called ‘marking’) so that legal usage and trade can be tracked which will help law enforcement to regain the guns if they convert to illegal usage and trade.

  2. Tracking legal usage and trade - tracking (technically called ‘tracing’) of legal usage and trade helps law enforcement to regain the guns if they convert to illegal usage and trade.

  3. Conversion to illegal usage and trade - due to theft, illegal sale or just beginning illegal usage; by criminals, armed combatants or terrorists.

  4. Repossession by law enforcement - through reinforcement of laws and gun laws.

  5. Stockpiling - technical and security concerns (to keep stockpiles from exploding, and to keep them from being stolen again by criminals and terrorists).

  6. Destruction - to keep them from being reused. Although some jurisdictions resell guns gotten back from illegal usage.

  7. Recycling - a way for local governments and others to recoup some of their costs by reducing guns to their basic elements and reselling those elements.

Thus regulations and technical guidelines have been developed for each stage of the SALW lifecycle. Many of these regulations and guidelines are found in MOSAIC (the UN Modular Small-Arms Control Implementation Compedium; previously known as the International Small Arms Control Standards (ISACS))(42).

In addition, the UN has developed an international program of action to guide the regulation of SALW lifecycle across the world(43). It is not legally enforceable but is the centerpiece of cooperation between governments, law enforcement and civil society across the globe guiding regulation of SALW at every stage of its life cycle. It’s name is the UN Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in all It’s Aspects. From it has developed numerous global and regional disarmament instruments many of which are legally enforceable(44).

These regulations and guidelines keep people safe and reduce violence and thus are indispensable elements to peacekeeping and peacemaking. And training in nonviolent alternative methods to guns of problem-solving, changing laws regulating the stages of the SALW lifecycle, and transforming gun culture to a culture of peace are indispensable elements of Peacebuilding - building peace that will last.

The UN actually regulates and/or forbids about 8 other weapon systems other than SALW. This also is important to peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. These other weapon systems include: nuclear, bio-chemical, cluster bombs, land mines, conventional weapons, explosive devices in urban areas, weapons in space, weapons run by AI, etc.(45)

The UN agency that supervises all this is the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs (UNODA)(45). It cooperates and coordinates with the UN General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament and International Security(46), which supervises the UN Disarmament Commission(47), that conducts research on the latest disarmament issues and makes recommendations. In turn each of the weapon systems have one or more civil society coalitions focused on it and seeks to advocate for its regulation or elimination. The civil society coalition focused on SALW is the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA).(48)


So why are there still wars, so much violence, and so much gun violence?

One important point to understand is that there are so many wonderful things happening around the world as well, but the mainstream media will not report about it because “it does not sell newspapers”, and therefore is not considered “newsworthy”. But when you regularly visit alternative websites (like the UN website -, then you see that things are not as bad overall as the impression you might get from the mainstream media.

Also, when looking at human conflicts big and small, across the globe, one sees how Galtung’s theory of violence and peace describes very well what’s going on, but the problem is that in too many situations, people and leaders want peace but they don’t want to change what is causing the conflict - they don’t want equality and justice for everyone, or to cooperate and include everyone, they don’t want to deal with painful issues or other people’s issues, and they don’t want to spend money and time on a peace infrastructure and regular schedule of peace conferences. It seems that peace takes work and sacrifice, and they’re just not willing to do that. They don’t really want peace that much.

This is despite the proven fact that peace leads to greater economic benefit than violence - this might be a concept that they cannot believe in - because it is a concept that is too abstract, that contradicts their current income flow, or that they find it to be counter-intuitive, or they just don’t care.

Thus we find that Galtung’s theory of peace truly provides the answers we need, but the challenges he describes in his theory of violence are truly huge, and thus while we see that the suggestions of his theory of peace are doable, unfortunately they will take a very long time, especially if people don’t really want peace, or are not willing to sacrifice or work for it.

In my opinion, this is a problem of culture - prioritizing peace is not part of their culture which includes their value system and understanding of the universe. So the main challenge is changing cultures, which I think is happening slowly and naturally with the spread of globalism. Globalism definitely has it’s negatives, but it also has positives because it spreads ideas about human rights and equality, etc.

Six important conclusions from this work of Galtung, the UN, the heroes of nonviolence and IEP:

  1. Stopping and preventing violence alone will not create lasting peace.

  2. Lasting peace is dependent on there being equality, justice, respect for human rights, democratic processes, respect for rule-of-law and environmental protection for all.

  3. Lasting peace and lasting development/prosperity are interrelated and interdependent - you cannot have one without the other.

  4. Peace is more economically beneficial than violence. The important challenge is to make this common knowledge.

  5. We must support the scientific measurement of peacefulness. This is worth investing in and will make a significant difference in making peace last.

  6. Reasonable gun control saves lives.


(1) Since leaving the University of Oslo in 1977, Johan Galtung has taught at numbers of other schools such as Columbia University, the University of Hawaii, and the Islamic University of Malaysia. Galtung has also founded three Peace Institutes and the Journal of Peace Research:

Peace Research Institute Oslo -

Galtung Institute for Peace Theory and Practice -

Transcend International -

Journal of Peace Research -

Complete list of Galtung Publications 1948-2016 -

(2) Galtung (1996), p.31.

(3) Galtung (1996), p.2.

(4) Galtung (1996), p.270.

(5) Galtung (1996), p.61.

(6) Galtung (1996), p.270.

(7) Galtung (1976), p.298.

(8) Galtung (1996), p.32.

(9) Kirshbaum, J. Nonviolence International unpublished research (2019).


(11) Nonviolent Peaceforce Website (2020) -

(12) Beer (2021).

(13) Sharp (1973).

(14) Stein (2014).

(15) Resources. Nonviolence International (2020) -

(16) Brice, Leslie. UNESCO's Response to PCPD Situations by Building a Culture of Peace. Nonviolence International (2016) -

(17) Gupta, Aakrati. Handbook for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence. Nonviolence International (2018) -

(19) UNPBSO (2010).

(20) UNPBSO (2011b).

(21) UNPBSO (2010).

(22) UNPBSO (2011a).

(23) UNPBSO (2012a).

(24) UNPBSO (2012d).

(25) UNPBSO (2012b).

(26) UNPBSO (2012b).

(27) UNSGO (2015).

(28) UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/70/262 -

UN Security Council Resolution S/RES/2282 -

(29) UNDPPA (2020b).

(30) UNDPPA (2020a).

(33) IAPSRS (1994).

(34) Liberman, (1984).

(35) Institute for Economics and Peace website, Sydney, Australia (2020) -

(36) Barrett Value Centre Website. UK (2020) -

(37) UN Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, Social Inclusion website (Social Development) -

(38) UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform website -

(39) Institute for Economics & Peace. Economic Value of Peace 2021: Measuring the global economic impact of violence and conflict, Sydney, January 2021. Available from: (accessed Date Month Year).

(40) Santa Maria, Miguel and Robles, Maria. Guns Do Kill. Nonviolence International New York (2018).

(41) Gamba, Lucie. What is SALW? Nonviolence International New York (2021).

(42) UN Modular Small Arms Control Implementation Compedium website (MOSAIC) -

(43) UN Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in all It’s Aspects (UN PoA, SALW PoA) -

(44) Symmetries in Disarmament Instruments. Nonviolence International New York (unpublished).

(45) United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) -

(46) UN General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament and International Security -

(48) International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) -

Keyword Index & Glossary

Acceptance of the Rights of Others -

Alliance for Peacebuilding -

Associative Negative Peace -

Barrett Value System -

Broad Domain -

Conflict Sensitivity -

Cultural Positive Peace -

Cultural Violence -

Culture of Peace -


Direct Positive Peace

Direct Violence -

Dissociative Negative Peace -

Entropy -

Equitable Distribution of Resources -

Equity -

Food Security -

Free Flow of Information -

Galtung Johan -

Global Peace Index (GPI) -

Good Relations with Neighbors -

High Levels of Human Capital -

Inherited Violence -

Institute for Economics and Peace -

Integrated Mission Planning Process Toolkit (IMPP)

Large Scope -

Low Levels of Corruption -

Marking -

Mediators Beyond Borders International -

National Ownership -

Natural Violence -

Negative Peace -


Nonviolent Action -

Nonviolent Communications (NVC) -

Nonviolent Conflict Resolution (NVCR) -

Nonviolent Non-Cooperation (NVNC) -

Nonviolent Resistance (NVR) -

Peacebuilding -

Peace Dividends -

Peacemaking -

Peacekeeping -

Personal Violence -

Positive Peace -

Positive Peace Index -

Post-Conflict Needs Assessment - Transitional Results Framework (PCNA-TRF)

Psycho-education -

Psychosocial Rehabilitation -

Reconciliation -

SALW Disarmament -

SALW Lifecycle -

Security Sector Reform (SSR) -

Small Arms Light Weapons (SALW) -

Social Development -

Sound Business Environment -

Stockpiling -

Structural Positive Peace -

Structural Violence -

Superstructure -

Sustainable Development -

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) -

Sustaining Peace -

Symbiosis -

Tracing -

United Nations (UN) -

UN Commission for Disarmament

UN Dept. Of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA)

UN Dept. of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (UN DPPA) - l

UN General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament and International Security -

UN General Assembly Resolution 53/243 -

UN International Small Arms Control Standards (ISACS) -

UN Modular Small Arms Control Implementation Compedium (MOSAIC) -

UN Office of Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) -

UN Peacebuilding Commission -

UN Peacebuilding Funding Office -

UN Peacebuilding Support Office -

UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 -

Well-Functioning Government -


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An Introduction to Psychiatric Rehabilitation. Edited by IAPSRS (1994).

Bailey, Kenneth D. Social Entropy Theory. SUNY (1990).

Bailey, Kenneth D. “Social Entropy Theory: An Overview.” Systems Practice 3, no. 4 (1990): 365–82.

Barrett Value Centre Website. UK (2020).

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Brice, Leslie. UNESCO's Response to PCPD Situations by Building a Culture of Peace. Nonviolence International, New York (2016).

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Galtung, Johan. 3 Approaches to Peace: Peacekeeping, Peacemaking and Peacebuilding. From Impact of Science on Society, 1/2, PRIO Publication No. 25-9, Oslo, Norway (1976), notes on page 458.

Galtung, Johan. Peace by Peaceful Means: Peace and Conflict, Development and Civilization. PRIO Publications, Oslo, Norway (1996).

Gupta, Aakrati. Handbook for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence. Nonviolence International, New York (2018).

International Action Network for Small Arms (IANSA) -

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Liberman, R., Kuehnel, T., Phipps, C. and Cardin, V. Resource Book for Psychiatric Rehabilitation: Elements of Service for the Mentally Ill. University of California (1984).

Machold, Rhys and Donais, Timothy. From Rhetoric to Practice: Operationalizing National Ownership in Post-Conflict Peacebuilding. UNPBSO, New York (2011b).

Martinez-Soliman, Magdy and Fernandez-Taranco, Oscar. Sustainable Development and Sustaining Peace: 2 Sides of the Same Coin. Huffington Post (2017).

McCandless, Erin. Peace Dividends and Beyond: Contributions of Administrative and Social Services to Peacebuilding. UNPBSO, New York (2012b).

Nonviolence International website (2020).

Nonviolent Peaceforce website (2020).

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Positive Peace: The Lens to achieve the Sustaining Peace Agenda. Institute for Economics and Peace, Sydney, Australia (2017).

Resource Mobilization for Peacebuilding Priorities; The Role of the Peacebuilding Commission. UNPBSO, New York (2012c).

Resources. Nonviolence International (2020).

Sanchez, Enrique and Rognvik, Sylvia. Building Just Societies: Reconciliation in Transitional Settings. UNPBSO, New York (2012d).

Sharp, Gene. The Politics of Nonviolent Action, Part Two: The Methods of Nonviolent Action. Porter Sargent, Boston, MA (1973).

Stein, Jeff. The 'Palestinian Gandhi' who still believes Nonviolence is the Answer. Newsweek Magazine (2014-08-12).

Strategic Plan: United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs 2020-2022. UNDPPA, New York (2020a).

The Challenge of Sustaining Peace: Report of the Advisory Group of Experts - for the 2015 Review of the United Nations Peacebuilding Architecture. UNSGO, New York (2015).

United Nations Department of Politics and Peacebuilding Affairs website, UN, New York (2020b).

United Nations General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament and International Security -

United Nations Modular Small Arms Control Implementation Compedium website (MOSAIC) -

United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) -

United Nations Peacebuilding Architecture, The. UNPBSO, New York (2010).

United Nations Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in all It’s Aspects (UN PoA, SALW PoA) -

Unarmed Civilian Protection. Nonviolent Peaceforce (2020).

UNESCO's Programme of Action: Culture of Peace and Nonviolence - A Vision in Action. UNESCO, Paris, France (2013).

UN Peacebuilding: An Orientation. UNPBSO, New York (2010).

What does “Sustaining Peace” Mean? UNPBSO, New York (2017).


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