Preventing violent conflict
Can humanity move beyond band-aid solutions?
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Since 11 September 2001, security has been uppermost on the world's agenda. Even if we do not directly experience violent conflict, we are at least more conscious of its potential wider effects. The real threats of terrorism (particularly nuclear) shatter our complacency. But is rushed investment in "security" short-sighted?
This edition of Global Future comes at a critical time. Reports from the UN Secretary-General, the UN High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change and the Millennium Project call for urgent change in how we view conflict and development; a global conference in July 2005 will press for firm government-civil society partnerships to prevent conflict and forge peace; there are calls for treaties on the arms trade, and against terrorism.
Our contributors to this edition demonstrate that neither development nor security is achievable without the other. In the Rt Hon Hilary Benn's words: "We are only as safe as the weakest state among us, or the most vulnerable group of people." They show that dealing with conflict after it has broken out costs far more; so the only sane option is a radical paradigm shift from reaction to prevention. And they highlight the powerful potential of civil society to promote peace and prevent conflict.