Understanding the Transition from Conflict to Lasting Peace

Previously there has been little understanding of the main drivers of the transition to peace, but the release of the Positive Peace Report 2017 helps to shine a light on this perplexing question.

Policymakers and governments have long considered the question of how societies transition from one state of peace to another. Why do some countries emerge from conflicts into peaceful societies while others continue to exist in a highly fragile state? Understanding this key question would help guide government expenditure in fostering more resilient societies that can better withstand both internal and external shocks. Previously there has been little understanding of the main drivers of the transition to peace, but the release of IEP’s Positive Peace Report 2017 helps shine a light on this perplexing question by providing an empirically based framework and data analysis.

The report, which will be officially launched at Stanford University on Tuesday, analyses the factors associated with changes in peacefulness and how they differ across different types of societies. This analysis is crucial to building a framework for creating higher rates of development and more peaceful societies. This aim of fostering peaceful societies is more than just an ideal for humanity. There are real economic benefits to be gained from a more peaceful world. IEP’s research shows that the global economic impact of violence was $14.3 trillion PPP in 2016. This is equivalent to 12.6 per cent of global GDP, or a cost of $1,953 per person per annum.

Given the significant costs of violence, it is even more important to understand how societies can transition to higher levels of peace. We know that as the level of violence falls, countries tend to improve their performance on all eight Pillars of Positive Peace – the set of attitudes, institutions and structures that sustain peace.

But which factors are more important at each of the stages of development to achieve higher peacefulness?  The research finds that for countries at low-levels of peace, the most important Pillars include:

–          Low Levels of Corruption

–          Well-functioning Government

–          Good Relations with Neighbours

–          Acceptance of the Rights of Others

At mid-peace levels, Free Flow of Information becomes another Pillar of key importance along with Sound Business Environment.

For low and mid-peace countries, understanding these correlations is key and could help direct government and business investment in bringing about a more peaceful society.

However, this does not mean that the remaining pillars (High Levels of Human Capital and the Equitable Distribution of Resources) should be ignored. It has been firmly established that investment is required in all eight Pillars to attain lasting  peace. Rather the analysis in this Positive Peace report aims to provide a framework for policymakers to understand how investments may be targeted but also the correlation between areas of investment as some Pillars are more critical at different stages of peace. Care should therefore always be taken that any improvements in one particular Pillar do not have the potential to increase grievances.

Vision of Humanity

Editorial Staff

Vision of Humanity is brought to you by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), by staff in our global offices in Sydney, New York, The Hague and Mexico. Alongside maps and global indexes, we present fresh perspectives on current affairs reflecting our editorial philosophy.

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