Solutions to Violent Conflict

Archive for the ‘Peace’ Category

Goal 16: A New Paradigm for Peace and Development

In Human Development, Peace, Peacebuilding on May 18, 2016 at 8:22 am

Melanie Greenberg is President and CEO of the Alliance for Peacebuilding. In her work on international conflict resolution, she has helped design and facilitate public peace processes in the Middle East, Northern Ireland, and the Caucasus.

In September 2015, the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as “Agenda 2030.” These ambitious goals, which replace the Millennium Development Goals that expired in 2015, will govern international development assistance for the next fifteen years. A great victory for the peacebuilding field—and for citizens throughout the world living with violent conflict—is the emphasis on peace throughout Agenda 2030. Whereas the MDGs were silent on violence and conflict, peace runs as a central pillar throughout the SDGs. Peace is included as one of the five key concepts—along with people, planet, prosperity and partnership. The preamble declares that, “We are determined to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence. There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.” Read the rest of this entry »

Advancing Integral Human Development: An Imperative for Peacebuilders

In Human Development, Peace, Peacebuilding on May 18, 2016 at 8:22 am

iStock_000023573112_Peace Policy

Scott Appleby is Marilyn Keough Dean of the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame. As a professor of history at Notre Dame, he specializes in the study of global religion.

How might peace research, peacebuilding practices and peace policies be situated within a holistic vision of global challenges to human flourishing? One potentially compelling way of situating the struggle for peace within a more comprehensive narrative is to frame our common goal as advancing Integral Human Development. Imagine a society in which the irreducible dignity of the human person and the cultural and spiritual as well as economic and material requirements of human flourishing are central to political and social life and upheld by the rule of law. Such a society could be said to score high on the scale of Integral Human Development. Read the rest of this entry »

Linking Development and Peace: The Empirical Evidence

In Human Development, Peace, Peacebuilding on May 18, 2016 at 8:22 am

David Cortright is Director of Policy Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. He is coeditor of Drones and the Future of Armed Conflict (Chicago University Press, 2015) and author of Ending Obama’s War (Paradigm, 2011).

The connections between development and peace are firmly supported by social science research. All the standard indicators of economic development, including per capita income, economic growth rates, levels of trade and investment, and degree of market openness, are significantly correlated with peace. Virtually every study on the causes of war finds a strong connection between low income and the likelihood of armed conflict. Economist Edward Miguel describes this link as “one of the most robust empirical relationships in the economic literature.” Irrespective of all other variables and indicators, poverty as measured by low income bears a strong and statistically significant relationship to increased risk of civil conflict. Read the rest of this entry »

Toward Quality Peace

In Governance, Peace, Peace Accords on November 25, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Peter Wallensteen

The notion of quality peace is gaining momentum. Its origin stems from a growing interest in strategic peacebuilding and the search for post-war conditions that will prevent the recurrence of war.

One result of this interest is the development of the Kroc Institute’s Peace Accords Matrix (, a database with comparative information on 34 comprehensive peace accords, which allows analysts and negotiators to examine issues that have been included in previous peace processes and consider their relevance to ending current conflicts.

Explorations of the concept of quality peace are intended to stimulate thinking beyond the customary juxtaposition of “negative” versus “positive” peace. In November 2010, the Kroc Institute convened a conference to explore the idea of “quality peace” and its relevant dimensions. The participants included scholars as well as practitioners and negotiators. Read the rest of this entry »

Good Governance as a Path to Peace

In Governance, Peace on November 25, 2013 at 12:45 pm


Conor Seyle

In recent decades, we’ve seen significant growth of social science knowledge on the causes of violent conflict and the conditions for conflict prevention. As a result, the field of peace studies is increasingly reaching a consensus on what predicts peace. We know that higher per-capita GDP, more education, the inclusion of women and religious or ethnic minorities in the public life of a society, and many other specific indicators are associated with stable peace. Read the rest of this entry »

Multidimensionality in Governance Reform

In Governance, Peace on November 25, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Kristen Wall

War is not inevitable or a condition of human nature. Many of the factors and policies that affect prospects for peace are determined by the interrelated governance systems of states, civil society, and international bodies that regulate power and allocate societal resources.

In recent decades, scholars and practitioners have forged an evidence-based framework for understanding the policies, institutions, and cultural norms — that is, particular governance arrangements — that are most likely to foster armed violence or to advance peace. As Conor Seyle elucidates in his post, a synthesis of empirical findings in the social sciences paints an increasingly clear picture of the conditions that reduce conflict and provides a path forward for developing governance systems that foster peace. This research finds that components of good governance are both highly interconnected and mutually reinforcing. Read the rest of this entry »

Voters in Sierra Leone Support Restricted Freedom of Movement during Election

In Peace on February 20, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Catherine Bolten

On November 17, 2012, the small West African Nation of Sierra Leone held its third general election, which was notable for the lack of violence and the consensus by election observers that it was conducted in a free, fair, and transparent manner.

This election was significant because it marked the first time since the beginning of the civil war in 1991 that the nation organized and executed general elections without assistance from the United Nations. Previous elections in 2002 and 2007—both UN-organized—were marked by accusations of “over-voting” and other types of fraud and were marred by violence leading up to and on the day of elections.


Beginning in 2009, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) scheduled meetings with parliamentarians, the police and military, and other key stakeholders to formulate lessons learned from the previous elections and to draft new legislation and best practices for the next election. The result was a parliamentary bill in April 2012 that instituted sweeping reforms of election laws, addressing issues ranging from campaigning to how votes are counted. Read the rest of this entry »

Adopting Stray Dogs & Mending Broken Windows: Everyday Peace Indicators

In Peace on February 20, 2013 at 5:20 pm
Traditional Door

Painted storefronts may be a sign of confidence in peace.

Roger Mac Ginty

Most indicators of peace, development, and reconstruction are top-down — designed and identified by international organizations and political leaders in New York, London, or Geneva. Surveys are “done to” war-affected communities, turning local people from war-affected areas into sources of data or survey enumerators. Top-down indicators often rely on national-level statistics that bear little relation to the lived experience of conflict. They risk subsuming local experiences into a national story.

The Everyday Peace Indicator project — a project of the Kroc Institute, the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, and the University of Manchester — aims to investigate alternative, bottom-up indicators of peace. Funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the project will operate in five sub-Saharan countries. Taking its cue from studies in sustainable development, the project will ask community members to identify their own measures of peace. Read the rest of this entry »

Religious Peacebuilding in Mindanao

In Peace, Religion and Conflict on October 17, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Scott Appleby

The war being waged in mineral-rich Mindanao, the southernmost island region of the Philippines, is a perfect storm of contemporary violent conflict. It is about land and resources, religion and clan, sovereignty, governance, and corruption in high and low places. Over a span of four decades, the fighting has resulted in more than 120,000 deaths, hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons, and more than $2 billion in damages to homes and businesses.

The latest news from Mindanao is big. On October 7, 2012, the Government of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) reached an historic Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro People of Mindanao. The parties agreed that the status quo is unacceptable and that Bangsamoro, a new autonomous political entity representing the Muslim people in the region, will replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

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Religion and Conflict

In Peace, Religion and Conflict on October 17, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Catholic schoolchildren in Mindanao. Photo by Matt Cashore.

Gerard F. Powers

Later this month, the U.S. State Department’s Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group will submit its recommendations to Secretary Hillary Clinton after a year of work. With subgroups on development, religious freedom and democracy, and conflict mitigation and prevention, the Working Group facilitated engagement with religious leaders, civil society groups, and experts on religion. One impetus for the Working Group was a 2010 report by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, which called for strengthening U.S. foreign policymaking by strengthening the capacity to engage religion.

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