10 steps to world peace

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10 steps to world peace

The problems in our world are serious, and will grow. We must give up the military habit - and think about why there is conflict.


Manhattan Central Park - Imagine Mosaic. Photo YourSpace (CC 2.0)

1 First stop exclusion

Evidence shows that conflict happens in places where people can’t trust the police or get access to justice. And a corrupt few people steal other people’s possibilities of a good life. Governments everywhere need to start respecting their people and stop the neglect and abuse of their own people. We must challenge the media and others that talk about ‘them-and-us’ so that we can stop spreading hate.

2 True equality between women and men

Research in Valerie Hudson’s Sex and World Peace (2012) says that the larger the gender inequality in a country, the more likely it is to be involved in violent conflict. Gender inequality is more likely than GDP, the level of democracy, or ethnic-religious identity, to bring conflict. But when women take part in peace processes, peace is more likely to last longer.

3 Share wealth fairly

A World Bank survey says 40 per cent of people who join rebel groups do so because they have no economic opportunities. Poverty is important here - more equal societies have high levels of trust and low levels of violence. Economic fairness in public resources, taxation, and tax evasion is also important. The transfer of wealth from rich to poor, and not from poor to rich, improves security for everyone.

4 Take action on climate change

Ecological stress from global warming makes conflicts over resources such as land and water worse, particularly in East Africa. The UN climate agreement shows that the world can take action on and help crises by co-operation, and not war. Dan Smith, from the leading arms-control thinktank SIPRI, says a climate agreement ‘is the greatest peace deal the world could have.’

5 Control arms sales

More arms sales and money spent on the military makes world stress worse. More arms drives conflict and makes violence more likely. Those who sign arms treaties must do what they promise as we build evidence of violations and hold arms sellers responsible. We can also build support for a new treaty that bans nuclear weapons and makes it illegal to have or use them.

6 Show less pride, make more policy change

Larry Attree from Saferworld says action on counter-terrorism, the ‘war on drugs’, stabilization and state-building efforts, and colonial wars all fail. It is very important that countries show that they want to be sorry for and do something about past aggression. It is also very important that there is an end to selfish and failed policy in the Middle East.

7 Protect political space

If governments want young, marginalized people to accept an open society and not follow violent ways, they must allow public disagreement. Across the world we must defend the right to disagree and show dissent. We must defend these rights from regulation, misuse of anti-terrorist measures, arrests and imprisonment with no reason, and even torture and murder.

8 Improve relations between generations

We can understand that a lot of conflict is a revolt by young people against the corrupt systems run usually by older men. In countries where age rules, young people can’t talk about what makes them angry. This makes a dangerous situation, says researcher and peacebuilder Chitra Nagarajan. This is worse when there is victim-blaming, which sees young men as a ticking time bomb.

9 Build an integrated peace movement

Short-term anti-war movements have taken the place of active and permanent peace movements. We need to talk about and look at nonviolent action and successes. Peace campaigner Phyllis Bennis believes peace must be part of other social movements. She gives the example of the Poor People’s Campaign in the US in March 2018, which attacked the war economy and saw the link to poverty at home.

10 Look at yourself

Peace starts with you. Ordinary people can make a difference. When was the last time you said sorry? Think about who loses when you win. Are the people around you heard and respected or marginalized, ignored, and left out? Make a decision to care about what happens to them. Start a positive conversation with someone you disagree with. Challenge ‘them-and-us’ thinking in yourself as well as in others. Every one of us can choose to make society more just and peaceful, or more unjust and warlike.

NOW READ THE ORIGINAL': https://newint.org/features/2018/09/08/10-steps-world-peace

(This article has been simplified so the words, text structure and quotes may have been changed)