Sustainable peace and safe societies at the heart of the post-2015 agenda

The Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding, of which International Alert is a member, today released a statement which reaffirms the case for putting sustainable peace and safe societies at the heart of the post-2015 development agenda. The statement is targeted towards UN Member States who are discussing the world’s new development agenda at the opening of UN General Assembly 68. The statement asserts that sustainable peace and safe societies are essential to development for all.

Development depends on societies that are peaceful and safe. This is true in all countries. Many people living in stable, peaceful and even prosperous countries still face insecurity and fear in their lives. Freedom from fear is both a universal agenda for protecting development gains and a universal development outcome. International Alert recently made this case in our briefing to the Open Working Group, the inter-governmental body now debating the nature of the development framework which emerges after 2015.

To create societies that are resilient to violent conflict over the long-term, the Platform argues that the new framework must focus on addressing the most important drivers of conflict and insecurity – not only their symptoms. This often includes issues of relationships between state and society and between societal groups, alongside horizontal inequalities.

Responsibility for promoting sustainable peace and safe societies lies not only with individual states and societies but also with developed and middle-income countries. Each is responsible for conflict prevention and should join in collective efforts to address transnational drivers of conflict.

The platform supports the structure and approach recommended by the UN High Level Panel on the post-2015 development framework, which forms a strong foundation for further refinement of targets and the development of indicators. However, it argues for greater focus on mainstreaming peace and people’s safety across the whole framework. This would respond to the strong policy consensus over the last decade that a range of factors underpin sustainable peace and that all development practice must be conflict sensitive.

To integrate a vision for peaceful and safe development into the new framework, the platform argues that the international community should adopt a framework that sets shared targets, applicable to all countries. However, it must fully respect sovereignty: each country should retain full autonomy to plan and sequence its own development process with context-specific baselines and benchmarks.

A new framework need not be restricted by existing gaps in the indicators that will be used to monitor progress. As happened with the MDGs, it should explicitly seek to address these gaps by building further capacity. There is also more data to measure progress in peace, security, justice, and state-society relations than is often assumed.

The Platform also reaffirms two key points on indicators: firstly, no single type of indicator can in every context tell a full, fair story about progress towards sustainable peace and safer societies. A basket of ‘capacity’, ‘objective situation’ and ‘public perception’ indicators can tell a more accurate story when taken together. Secondly, indicators used to measure progress towards peace and violence reduction should be disaggregated to the maximum extent possible, so that horizontal inequalities and unequal levels of progress between different social groups can be recognised and tackled.

The Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding is a Southern-Northern non-governmental coalition of peacebuilding organisations that helps coordinate civil society participation in international policy processes.

Photo © UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe