Peacebuilding: New and Ongoing Challenges in a Changing Environment
Global levels of violence are at a 25-year peak, reversing the promising reduction in conflicts recorded in the 1990s, undercutting global stability and development gains, and driving record levels of forced displacement. 2017 proved to be a challenging year for peacebuilding. Real concerns emerged about nuclear conflict, resulting in the Bulletin for Atomic Scientists moving the hands of its symbolic Doomsday Clock thirty seconds closer to midnight. According to the Institute for Economics and Peace, violence continues to cost the world economy $14.3 trillion a year, exacerbating global threats like disease and trafficking, and underpinning the most critical US security challenges, including violent extremism. UN Secretary-General António Guterres summed up the crisis well in his 2018 New Year message, proclaiming we need “a red alert for our world.”
The peacebuilding community has always faced significant obstacles in addressing complex global challenges, especially in policy and funding. These challenges have however been amplified under the new US Administration where foreign policy is becoming militarized and peacebuilding funding is being slashed. AfP’s Liz Hume outlines the growing challenges to the peacebuilding field, along with opportunities to overcome them in our recently published OpEd on FriEnt, a Germany based working group on peace and development.