Statement of PCI to the ECOSOC High-level Segment: Just and Effective Governance

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COVID-19 has placed tremendous stress on societies around the world, generating significant insecurity and creating the potential for deepening violence that threatens the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. A global course correction to authentic, inclusive security is urgent. Global partnerships (SDG17) that cooperate on a spectrum of nonviolent actions are urgently needed to establish just and effective institutions with the authority and capacity to govern an increasingly complex world. At the international level, this will require strengthening an overlapping web of intergovernmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations, treaty regimes, faith communities and civil society groups. Such institutions can cultivate interdependence and cooperation, norms against war, alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and sustained diplomacy. Their influence helps build more effective global governance; they have mediated armed conflicts and helped to administer post-conflict agreements toward enduring peace. Nationally and locally, just governance includes responsive, accountable and fair public officials and political institutions that uphold the rule of law, provide space for a vibrant, multicultural civil society and protect basic human rights, especially for women, girls (SDG 5) and those with special needs. Sustainable and equitable economic development, along with preventing corruption and ending the influence of powerful special interests who benefit from violence and war, can also contribute to just peace and inclusive security. The global community should make an immediate commitment to developing multilateral governance structures empowered to sustain peace. This includes preventative measures that address the root causes of conflict, support for those who challenge injustices nonviolently and active approaches for de-escalating destructive conflict, cultivating reconciliation and transforming patterns of behaviour. Many nonviolent practices for preventing and interrupting violence have been well tested. For example, alternative policing, such as the mostly unarmed policing units now deployed in several countries (England, Norway, Ireland, New Zealand, Iceland and most of the Pacific Island nations) which can build trust, empower the community and reduce crime; unarmed civilian protection (UCP) initiatives that have protected people and saved lives in war zones and large-scale conflicts; sanctuary provided by faith communities and others; unarmed civilian programs in local communities that use a public health approach, deploying “credible messengers” to prevent violence and its contagion; traditional ways to maintain order – elders, women, clan members, age sets, spiritual leaders – that have now exist only in very traditional areas. Modern adaptations include Nyumba kumi (“10 households”) in Tanzania and Kenya. Collaboration across divisions at every level – from the United Nations to local communities – to address the challenges caused or exposed by the pandemic should be guided by a just peace ethical framework, which would contribute to a post pandemic future defined by good governance, just peace, inclusive human security and integral ecology. Such an ethic includes a set of norms with contextually relevant practices for preventing destructive conflict and violence, protecting vulnerable people and promoting sustainable peace founded on equal dignity, respect for life and nature, universal human rights, economic justice and a culture of peace and reconciliation rooted in active nonviolence.