A Business Plan for Peace

Scilla Elworthy has written a book for all those who want to step out of helplessness and apply their own personal skills to do something about the challenges now facing us. Scilla Elworthy has written the first ever business plan for peace, based on 40 years of pioneering initiatives in the transformation of conflict. Detailing 25 viable methods on international, national and local levels, the book demonstrates that war can be prevented worldwide over a period of 10 years for less than 2 billion dollars. The final chapters present the kind of actions that anyone can take: 10 that can be undertaken locally, 14 nationally and 7 actions to take internationally.


Opinion: peace does not need more energy; capitalism does

Stephen Hinton 2016, photo Maj-Lis Koivisto

Most of the energy used in the world economy comes from non-renewable sources. Analysts fear that the expanding extraction of energy will not keep up with the expanding economy and …well… the economy will deflate like a balloon and everyone will be worse off. Worst for the poor who have very little already. Or they fear that the climate will collapse because we are pouring too much carbon dioxide into it just to stay alive. Either way, the economy is so dependent on energy, they say, that we will go into a period of recessions and undermine peace is many ways. Not strictly true in my opinion that there is too little energy: there is enough energy to keep everyone fed and housed within planetary boundaries. It’s just that there is not enough to keep capitalism going. And it is the failings of capitalism that we need to address if we are to make this peace project real, not energy supplies. Continue reading

OPINION: Make the International Day of Peace on 21 Sept. Meaningful Through the Culture of Peace

The International Day of Peace (“Peace Day”) is observed around the world each year on 21 September. Established in 1981 by unanimous United Nations resolution, Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace.

“Peace is a prerequisite for human development.… We all must undertake efforts to inculcate peace in ourselves. We cannot expect the world to change if we do not start first and foremost with changing ourselves — at the individual levels.”

Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Bangladeshi diplomat and leading United Nations Culture of Peace emissary

About the Day of Peace, Ambassador Chowdry says:
“the culture of peace should be the most appropriate vehicle to
prepare our world in addressing effectively the complex challenges
of the twenty-first century.”


Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, the Honorary Chair of the IDP NGO Committee at the UN since 2008, has devoted many years as an inspirational champion for sustainable peace and development, and to ardently advancing the cause of the global movement for the culture of peace that has energized civil society all over the world.

As a career diplomat, Permanent Representative to United Nations, President of the UN Security Council, President of UNICEF Board, UN Under-Secretary-General, the Senior Special Advisor to the UN General Assembly President, and recipient of the U Thant Peace Award, UNESCO Gandhi Gold Medal for Culture of Peace, Spirit of the UN Award and University of Massachusetts Boston Chancellor’s Medal for Global Leadership for Peace, Ambassador Chowdhury has a wealth of experience in the critical issues of our time — peace, sustainable development, and human rights.

Ambassador Chowdhury’s legacy and leadership in advancing the best interest of the global community are boldly imprinted in his pioneering initiative in March 2000 as the President of the Security Council that achieved the political and conceptual breakthrough leading to the adoption of the groundbreaking UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in which the Council recognized for the first time the role and contribution of women in the area of peace and security.

He served as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations in New York from 1996 to 2001 and as the Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the United Nations, responsible for the most vulnerable countries of the world from 2002 to 2007.

He has been the Chair of the International Drafting Committee on the Human Right to Peace; an initiative coordinated from Geneva and was a founding member of the Board of Trustees of the New York City Peace Museum.

He is the founder of the New York-based Global Movement for The Culture of Peace, and has been a part of the 12-member Wisdom Council of the Summer of Peace for the years 2012, 2013 and 2014, a worldwide participatory initiative to advance the Culture of Peace.

He has been decorated by the Government of Burkina Faso in West Africa with the country’s highest honour “L’Ordre National” in 2007 in Ouagadougou for his championship of the cause of the most vulnerable countries.


Opinion: Agricultural investment is the path to our sustainable future

Published by Devex.com this opinion article by  Yvonne Harz-Pitre points out how investments in agriculture — the dominant occupation for the world’s poorest people — can help us make great strides on many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). This sector alone accounts for 70 percent of water use. It often becomes a casualty of climate change, but is also emits significant greenhouse gases. It employs millions of women — who, if given access to the same resources as men, could feed an extra 150 million people in the world.

Read more on the Devex website.


(Thanks to TBI daily for the news)

A new narrative for the Economics of Happiness

London 14th September 2016, Initiatives of Change center:

At a recent workshop Helena Norberg-Hodge shared an alternative paradigm she calls the ‘economics of happiness’. Below is a trailer from a film Helena produced on the subject.

What if human well-being didn’t have to be at the expense of the environment? What if we could simultaneously increase genuine prosperity,reduce social inequality, and tackle climate change? With some simple economic shifts, all this becomes possible. That’s because so many of our current crises—financial, social and ecological—are linked to the scale of the economy. Localisation is a solution-multiplier that systemically reduces economic scale, creating benefits that ripple throughout society. In this day-long seminar, her talk highlighted human-scale economies and the steps—at the community, national, and international levels—that can bring us there.

Stephen Hinton provided his perspective from helping local initiatives in Sweden.


Impressions from the Lands, Lives and Security conference


It is a true honour to take part in the Caux dialogues. On this the final day, as the sun sets over lake Geneva I will just share some general impressions.

This year’s conference focused on the challenge of migration. Most migrants come from dry land areas where climate change is creating tension as food productivity falls. These tensions over land reduce the ability to manage resources worsening degradation and resulting in more conflict. The conference brought together policymakers, scientists, activists and farmers to chart ways to unpack the complexity in the challenge. Continue reading