Think Tanks and Peacebuilding NGOs Meet in Tokyo, Highlight Opportunities to Address Conflict and Fragility Worldwide

TOKYO, March 31, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Northeast Asia and the rest of the world in the 21st century face multiple challenges precipitated by rising nationalism, growing inequality, marginalization and alienation from political processes. The Toda Peace Institute in Tokyo and the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies of New Zealand held a colloquium "Challenges to Regional and Global Peace in the 21st Century" on March 28 in Tokyo, Japan, to bring together leaders of international think tanks and civil society organizations concerned about stability and security in the new world order.

The group agreed that the world is moving into a period of significant geopolitical unpredictability. The election of Donald Trump is one factor, but underlying causes include a breakdown of the social contract between people and their governments, characterized by a growing sense of 'inequality and hopelessness.'

Colloquium participants outlined creative opportunities to address the causes of conflict and fragility worldwide:

- Decades of efforts in peacebuilding have generated a strong track record. - Conflict sensitive corporations, civil society actors and progressive states committed to cooperative rather than competitive security paradigms can develop more virtuous dynamics. - Policy commitments at UN, EU levels and governments represent a shift to putting conflict prevention and peacebuilding front and center.- An increasing trend in the peacebuilding sector for collaborations, coalition and partnership. - More citizens in the US who have not been politically active are now engaging, mobilizing and resisting.

Regarding nuclear weapons, experts agreed that the Non-Proliferation Treaty is under tremendous strain with Asian nuclear powers expanding their stockpiles and emphasized that the need to support UN efforts to negotiate a nuclear ban treaty. Ramesh Thakur of the Centre for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament at the Australian National University (ANU) stressed, "The world needs to be safe from nuclear weapons through their stigmatization, reduction, prohibition and verified elimination." The colloquium endorsed the necessity to reframe security for the 21st century from hard power to soft, from coercive to cooperative and from a reactive to proactive peacebuilding approach.

Other participants included experts from the Stimson Center, the Wilson Center, Peace Research Institute Oslo, Norwegian Institute for International Affairs, Friends Committee on National Legislation, United States Institute of Peace, Conciliation Resources, Eastern Mennonite University, Conflict Analysis Research Centre of the University of Kent, Search for Common Ground, Conciliation Resources, School of International Training, and the Ammerdown Group.

For further information, please visit www.toda.org [http://www.toda.org/]

Contact: Kevin Clements Director National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago Secretary-General, Toda Peace Institute Tel: +81-90-2149-2619 Email: kevin.clements[at]otago.ac.nz





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