- Armament and disarmament
- Conflict, peace and security
- Peace and development
Throughout this year’s Stockholm Forum on Peace and Development, we heard about a multiplicity of crises afflicting the world. While the war in Ukraine—and its globally destabilizing effects—were front and centre, today’s peace and security is also threatened by our inability to take reasonable steps to mitigate climate change and a global rise in populist nationalism and pushback against human rights and gender equality that is accompanied by 17 years of democratic decline. Furthermore, the unregulated development of technology threatens to sow distrust in information and institutions, threaten dignified and meaningful employment for millions, and potentially lower the barriers for violent conflict.
These deeply inter-related and complex threats to peace and security have led some policymakers, donors, members of civil society, and activists to question the effectiveness of the liberal peacebuilding approach. Some advocates call for alternatives that prioritize military responses to maintain stability, rather than continued investment in solutions that build social capital and strengthen institutions in order to manage and resolve conflict peacefully. When security is prioritized at the expense of efforts to claim and expand human rights and institutional reform, it can catalyse dangerous and self-defeating propositions for peace. This is especially true in times of conflict, when governments seek to accumulate unchecked powers under the guise of security.
Humanity United’s approach to peacebuilding is centred on supporting processes that strengthen relationships and trust among proximate and diverse stakeholders so that they can leverage their power to address the drivers of conflict, while simultaneously reforming institutions to be more inclusive and responsive. Throughout the past four years, we have found that supporting non-violent movements to engage in collective action has catalysed greater coordination among actors across sectors and borders, and has leveraged a broad range of knowledge, critical skills and networks to tackle these crises from multiple fronts. For Humanity United, this experience has reaffirmed our belief that for any peacebuilding strategy to ultimately achieve inclusive, responsive, just and sustainable peace, we have to ensure people-centred approaches remain core to peacebuilding and security policy and solutions.
We further explored the different roles that non-violent movements could play to build peace and security in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics during the Stockholm Forum. In partnership with the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, Humanity United hosted a session entitled ‘Advancing Peace During War: Lessons and Reflections from the Region’s People Powered Movements’. The panellists, representing 2022 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Centre for Civil Liberties and Viasna, as well as the International Center for Non-Violent Conflict, highlighted three reasons why support for non-violent movements must play a central role in efforts to build people-centred, sustainable peace:
If policymakers and donors are serious about tacking threats to peace and security, then they need to expand their thinking—and, frankly, be ready to operate outside their comfort zones. They need to move beyond exclusively supporting traditionally organized civil society towards also supporting non-violent movements comprised of human rights defenders, democrats, peacebuilders, professionals and others who want to build peaceful and prosperous societies.
SIPRI is pleased to share a series of guest blog posts from partners of the 2023 Stockholm Forum on Peace and Development.