Call to the International Community to Support Policies that Promote Nonviolent Approaches to Sustaining Peace
For the first time since the end of the Cold War, violence and violent conflict have increased1 due to inter- and intrastate tensions. According to the World Health Organisation, 1.4 million people lose their lives to violence2 each year and 2 billion people are living in countries affected by fragility, conflict, and violence.3 Unless significant change takes place, these numbers will grow, with long-lasting consequences for the globe and all its people, including increased hunger and crop failure, threats to water supplies, environmental degradation, generations of children lacking education, massive displacement and migration, the escalation of crime, and large-scale terrorism.
Increased investment in weapons and military preparedness by governments has not made the world a safer place. Global military spending levels are now more than two percent of global GDP4 and, in 2018, are set to hit a post-Cold War high of $1.67 trillion.5 Instead of spending huge amounts on wars and weapons that harm people and the planet, the international community should invest its resources in policies that promote nonviolent approaches to transforming conflict and, in particular, in the $6 trillion needed annually6 to reach the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDGs).
The Catholic Nonviolence Initiative, a project of Pax Christi International, is calling on the Church and public policy decision-makers to give primacy to nonviolent approaches for transforming conflict and protecting vulnerable communities. It aims to catalyze a paradigm shift away from repeated cycles of violence and toward a wide range of nonviolent options that can actually accomplish the integral and sustained peace for which humanity longs.