It is easy to see the health crisis created by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus
What’s not as easy to see are the long-term impacts of the crisis on peace, particularly in states with government and public health infrastructures weakened by violence or unrest.
Fortunately, Rotarians have an amazing capacity to use their ingenuity to address the world’s most pressing challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. As the Area of Focus Manager for Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention, Rebecca Crall has been spending some time thinking about the pandemic in terms of peacebuilding and human resiliency.
Earlier this year, Rotary and the Institute for Economics and Peace, held the inaugural Positive Peace Activator training in Ontario, California. This event trained 30 Rotarians, Rotary Peace Fellows, and Rotaractors on how to “activate” Positive Peace in communities around the globe.
The framework of Positive Peace provides a valuable tool for this time. Rotarians have used the Pillars to analyze ways communities can develop in order to sustain peace or to recover from conflict. But it’s also a tool that helps communities become more resilient and recover from shocks, such as the novel coronavirus outbreak.
With Positive Peace, one can conceptualize peace as an interconnected system. Strength in all eight Pillars can help countries, regions and communities better prepare, prevent and respond to shocks. People can also think about the system as an interconnected web. Strong, interdependent fibers can absorb and respond to a shock, whereas tears or weakness in the connections start to quickly unravel the whole system under stress.
During this crisis, the eight Pillars have been seen at work. It is a reminder that these Pillars are crucial, not only to preventing violence but allowing society to weather both internal and external shocks.
Here are ways the Pillars have or can respond to the COVID-19 outbreak (Information adapted from initial Positive Peace + COVID-19 research conducted by the Institute for Economics and Peace):
A well-functioning government can
Equal distribution of resources can ensure
Free flow of information helps
Good relations with neighbours at the international level facilitate
Good relations with neighbours at the community level
High level of human capital facilitates
Acceptance of the rights of others allows
Low levels of corruption ensure that
Sound business environment provides
Applying this framework to discrete situations, can provide people with a critical lens to see the importance of building Positive Peace within communities. As the world moves from response to recovery, Rebecca is hopeful that the Rotary community will continue to invest in the training and implementation of programs related to Positive Peace.
Rotary’s 100+ year track record of encouraging international cooperation and understanding across borders has never been more important than it is today.
This blog is republished from Rotary Voices and the original can be found here.