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Sustainable Peace:

Positive or Negative Peace?

By Abu KamaraPublished 5 months ago 3 min read
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Sustainable Peace:
Photo by sebastiaan stam on Unsplash

Positive Peace:

Positive peace refers to the presence of conditions that promote and sustain harmony, well-being, and justice within a society. It represents more than just the absence of violence or conflict; it encompasses the establishment of social, political, and economic structures that foster cooperation, equity, and overall human flourishing. Positive peace is often associated with long-term stability and the absence of underlying tensions that could lead to conflict.

Key components of positive peace include:

Social Justice: A just and equitable society that ensures the fair distribution of resources, opportunities, and rights among its members.

Strong Institutions: Effective, transparent, and accountable institutions that uphold the rule of law, protect human rights, and provide essential services to citizens.

Inclusive Governance: Inclusive and participatory decision-making processes that involve diverse groups in shaping policies and addressing grievances.

Economic Well-being: Opportunities for economic growth and development that reduce poverty and inequality, ensuring that basic needs are met for all.

Cultural Tolerance: Respect for cultural diversity and the protection of minority rights, fostering social cohesion and understanding.

Environmental Sustainability: Responsible environmental practices that safeguard natural resources and promote ecological balance for future generations.

Education and Healthcare: Access to quality education and healthcare, which empower individuals and contribute to overall well-being.

Negative Peace:

Negative peace, on the other hand, primarily focuses on the absence of overt violence or direct conflict. It is characterized by the absence of war, armed conflict, or violent confrontations. While negative peace is an important precondition for stability, it does not address the underlying structural issues that may lead to future conflicts.

Key characteristics of negative peace include:

  • Ceasefires and Truces: Temporary halting of hostilities between conflicting parties.
  • Arms Control: Agreements to limit the acquisition and use of weapons.
  • Conflict Resolution: Diplomatic efforts to end ongoing conflicts.
  • Stabilization: Measures to restore order and security in post-conflict areas.

Positive peace influences Sustainable development. Sustainable Developemnt refers to a mode of economic growth and societal progress that seeks to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It was defined by the Brundtland Commission as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

Sustainable development encompasses three key dimensions: economic, social, and environmental. It aims to balance economic prosperity, social equity, and environmental sustainability.

Sustainable development is often associated with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which provide a framework for addressing global challenges such as poverty, inequality, climate change, and environmental degradation.

The relationship between positive peace and sustainable development:

Interdependence: Positive peace and sustainable development are interdependent. A society that is characterized by positive peace is more likely to achieve sustainable development, as it fosters the conditions necessary for economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental protection.

Conflict Prevention: Positive peace contributes to the prevention of conflicts and violence, which are major impediments to sustainable development. When societies address root causes of conflicts, such as inequality and injustice, they are more likely to achieve long-term development goals.

Long-Term Perspective: Sustainable development takes a long-term perspective, considering the well-being of future generations. Positive peace supports this perspective by promoting institutions and policies that prioritize the common good over short-term interests.

In summary, positive peace is a more comprehensive and sustainable concept that goes beyond the mere absence of violence. It emphasizes building a society where justice, equity, and human well-being are central, while negative peace focuses on stopping active conflicts. Achieving positive peace often requires addressing the root causes of conflicts, such as poverty, inequality, and discrimination, in addition to resolving immediate disputes through negative peace mechanisms. Ultimately, the goal is to transition from negative peace to positive peace for lasting stability and prosperity.

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About the Creator

Abu Kamara

Mr. Abu Kamara holds a master of Arts Degree in Peace and Development Studies from Njala University Bo Campus with 8As and 4Bs in various courses. He also holds a FirstClass undergraduate degree with Honours in Social Work. He is a lecturer

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  • Alex H Mittelman 5 months ago

    Great work! Congratulations!

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