The nine topics of the nine chapters of the Online Journal for Modern Peacebuilding and Nonviolence are linked thematically as much as they are complex topics in their own right. The purpose of this side note is two-fold - to first remind us of those interlinkages and then to explore this topic in greater depth to provide greater explanation for the interlinkages.
The Interlinkages ....
In the next few chapters we discuss what happened when the United Nations attempted to implement Galtung’s ideas in conflict zones around the world. Also important are parallels to the UN Program for a Culture of Peace, and the emerging importance of a movement to scientifically measure peacefulness to provide guidelines for Peacebuilding planning. We discuss the relationship of Peacebuilding to nonviolence - how nonviolence is the core nature of peace, and how the study of Peacebuilding leads to the study of five levels of nonviolent action. We also discuss important parallels and interrelations of Peacebuilding to individual psychology and to social and sustainable development programs. Finally we discuss the indispensable place of disarmament in Peacebuilding. This is a single theory with Peacebuilding at its center - the idea that you must have equality, justice, inclusiveness and strong democratic institutions in order for peace to last - but that has myriads of detailed facets reflecting the diversity of locations and cultures and histories found across the world. The unified theory is explained in our summary document - Modern Peacebuilding and Nonviolence: Creating Peace that Lasts, while the myriad of details is reflected in our growing body of papers, blogs, videos and expert resources that are found in each chapter.
(and now the greater detail on this topic; excerpted from Modern Peacebuilding and Nonviolence: Creating Peace that Lasts, by David Kirshbaum….)
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.
To read more articles and watch videos about this topic, check out the nonviolenceny.org/journal.