A pledge to build new peace on the Korean Peninsula

The 2018 Winter Olympics was an important catalyst for dialogue between the Koreas and is propelling a growing global peace forum forward.

Peace experts, citizens and civil society groups are capitalising on the chance for peace on the Korean Peninsula spurred on by last year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Inspired by the thawing of relations between the Koreas in the sports and political arenas during the games, the second annual Pyeongchang Global Peace Forum held this January sought to build upon the momentum generated a year ago.

The forum brought together more than 500 people from 50 countries and 200 organisations from around the world to present ideas on how to forge a peaceful future for the peninsula and the world.

Mohib Iqbal, a research fellow at the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) spoke at the event about the institute’s work using data to measure peace and the evidence it provides for monitoring the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Since 2016, IEP has measured the progress of SDG16 or Goal 16, which aims to promote the peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

The inclusion of SDG16 as a collaborative international goal is important recognition of how violence and conflict can undermine global development. The SDGs are in their implementation phase, and monitoring now becomes important, but there are issues with data collection worldwide. IEP’s research provides the best available proxies to measure peace globally and a new summary of SDG16 progress due to be released by the institute shortly.

Forum organisers acknowledged peace as integral to the discussion about global sustainable development. During the three-day conference many other peacebuilding topics were covered, including cooperation between North and South Korea, nuclear disarmament, restorative justice, sports and peace, public diplomacy, the roles of women and youth and interfaith cooperation.

By the end of the conference, participants committed to a detailed resolution calling for a peace treaty between the Koreas and other actions to support that goal, with an additional plan to meet again at future global peace forums in 2020 and 2030.

In partnership with the civil society organisations in Korea and abroad, the forum was arranged by the Organizing Committee for 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, Gangwon Province, PyeongChang municipality and the Korea International Cooperation Agency.