Sustainability and peace are two sides of the same coin. Without the former, the latter won’t last very long, and without the latter the former would be a contradiction in terms.
Every un-sustainable process plants the seeds for further conflict in the future. Vice versa, positive peace is the foundation for any kind of viable (which is just another way of saying “sustainable”) future. Far too often, short-sighted policies erode our social or environmental capital for the sake of quick economic benefits. Thus they create tensions, for example over soil, water or land rights, which in turn lead to new conflicts as the pressure of a changing climate continues to rise. Here, peace was forgotten as a crucial dimension of sustainable development.
Similarly, any peace-building attempt that does not take into account aspects of social and ecological sustainability will be very short-lived. Yet, despite their inherent interconnectedness, both topics are still debated separately. Be it debates about peace building and conflict management without addressing social, political, economic and ecological sustainability, or discussions about sustainability seemingly for its own sake – as long as their intertwining remains underexplored, solutions and approaches will prove insufficient.
Workshop at the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates
On 14 November 2015, we hosted a workshop at the Youth Program of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Barcelona. Together with the participants we explored the nexus by taking a closer look at the work of the Laureates of the Right Livelihood Award Wangari Maathai (who also received the Nobel Peace Price), Alyn Ware and Ibrahim Abouleish/SEKEM. By taking their achievements as ‘best-practice-examples’ we wanted to get an insight how one can actually integrate both perspectives in concrete projects.
Besides the workshop we also collected some articles that discuss the relations of peace and sustainability from different angles and can be read in the following section.