Ingrid Guyon/Conciliation Resources
Rt Rev Peter Price, Chris Mullin and Jeremy Lester call for a long-term effort to end and prevent wars.
An expansionist Russia, highlighted by Gen Sir Nick Carter in his speech on Monday (23 January), is one of several contemporary security threats, but it is not the overriding one. Climate change, terrorism, financial insecurity and inequality, as well as protracted conflicts and insecurity overseas also threaten our shared security. The overriding response to these challenges cannot be defence and investment in more military hardware.
Conflict prevention and peacebuilding need to sit squarely among our tools and priorities for national security. This work is not easy or naive. It is practical and cost-effective. Yet the political support and investment it receives is woefully inadequate. By one estimate, annual expenditure on peacebuilding in 2016 was equivalent to less than 1% of the global cost of war that year. This, despite the fact that a recent survey showed that 60% of the UK public would support more investment in peacebuilding.
As chairs of internationally recognised peacebuilding organisations we are calling for clear political commitment to a long-term, comprehensive effort to end and prevent wars, and to build peace: this effort should become a central pillar of the UK’s strategy for national security. Peace is only sustainable when we see the wellbeing and security of others as being as important as our own. Indeed, it is through addressing the security of others that we reinforce our own security.
Rt Rev Peter Price Chair, Conciliation Resources, Chris Mullin Chair, International Alert, Jeremy Lester Chair, Saferworld
This letter was first published in The Guardian.