Debating stable and peaceful societies

by | Apr 24, 2014


Today, the President of the UN General Assembly hosts a debate on ensuring stable and peaceful societies within the post-2015 development agenda.

I am moderating tomorrow’s session that looks at the global partnership that would be needed if countries are to reduce violence, and tackle the instability that is a threat to the future of a significant proportion of the global population.

As background for the debate, here’s a memo I prepared for the PGA. A long list of possible goals and targets is now on the table in this area (see pages 149-159), but there are deep disagreements among member states as to whether this is an area that should be prioritised within the new goal framework.

My advice:

  1. Recognise this is a genuinely universal agenda – one that affects rich, middle income, and poor countries and where the West, in particular, has a responsibility to demonstrate it is serious about reducing the stresses that destabilise poorer countries.
  2. Give the victims and survivors of violence a voice in this debate, and pay greater attention to the needs of those whose lives are defined by instability (a problem that goes far beyond so-called fragile states).
  3. Draw on the track record of countries that have bounced back from conflict or shown that they are able to reduce violence, turning the debate into one about solutions, not just aspirational targets.

Read the whole report here.

Author

  • David Steven is a senior fellow at the UN Foundation and at New York University, where he founded the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children and the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, a multi-stakeholder partnership to deliver the SDG targets for preventing all forms of violence, strengthening governance, and promoting justice and inclusion. He was lead author for the ministerial Task Force on Justice for All and senior external adviser for the UN-World Bank flagship study on prevention, Pathways for Peace. He is a former senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-author of The Risk Pivot: Great Powers, International Security, and the Energy Revolution (Brookings Institution Press, 2014). In 2001, he helped develop and launch the UK’s network of climate diplomats. David lives in and works from Pisa, Italy.


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