At our public meeting on 6th September Harriet Lamb, CEO of International Alert spoke enthusiastically about the work of this international peacebuilding charity under the heading "Could Peacebuilding be Humanity's best investment". The organisation works by supporting local people in areas of violent conflict to take initiatives which will address the underlying causes of the conflict. She emphasised that after a period of decline, violent conflict has increased in recent years but most of it arises from internal conflict within a country rather than between countries. Military intervention by other states in internal conflicts fails to address these underlying causes. The expenditure on peacebuilding is a fraction of military expenditure but has been shown to be far more effective in preventing conflict. International Alert has carried out an international survey of opinion about the causes of violent conflict and what should be done to prevent it.
The two causes with the highest support were:
Lack of jobs and the need to provide for family
Sense of injustice
The two remedies with the highest support were:
Deal with the reasons people fight in the first place
Teaching peace, tolerance and conflict resolution in schools.
We learnt that International Alert is part of a coalition of sympathetic organisations who are campaigning for more resources to be invested in peacebuilding. Their first campaign has been for Peacebuilding to be included as an entry in the main English Dictionaries.
Trevor Evans, UNA Harpenden