The panel established by the Secretary General of the United Nations to determine a new global approach to international development has concluded that peacebuilding is a central part of that new vision for human progress. This is a very welcome first step, but the difficult work remains to be done to define what that will look like in practice.
"The protection and empowerment of people is crucial. This will require peace building and stronger domestic institutions – including effective, accountable and transparent governments and peaceful, just and equitable societies that protect and promote human rights and eliminate all forms of violence."
The significance of this should not be underestimated but nor does it mean that we can be sure that the eventual outcome of the post-2015 process will be sufficiently radical to meet that challenge, which was largely absent from the current Millennium Development Goal (MDG) led process since 2000.
International Alert has, with our partners from across global civil society through the Beyond 2015 campaign, urged the panel to take a radically new approach to address the challenges that have relegated those countries experiencing violence to the bottom of the MDG table, with little hope of achieving a single goal.
The High Level Panel has expressed a new vision of "ending extreme poverty in all its forms", but this time in the same statement outlined what this vision would look like not in technical indicators, nor of amounts of aid donated, but of: "... a global, people-centred and planet-sensitive agenda to address the universal challenges of the 21st century: promoting sustainable development, supporting job-creating growth, protecting the environment and providing peace, security, justice, freedom and equity at all levels."
This builds on what the panel has been consistently told by those closest to the problem: from their first meeting in New York when they heard from civil society representatives supporting the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States, to their second gathering in London and their third in Liberia.
They have clearly listened, and that is to be welcomed. The challenge now must be that these welcome advances are built on and developed between now and the final report being submitted to the UN in April this year. The process following that report remains as yet unclear, but we can enter the debate confident that there is a real chance of a transformative new agenda which seeks to put the poorest and most vulnerable first, not last.
Photo © UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe