Positive Peace workshop in Thailand addresses sustainability

IEP met with emerging community leaders to demonstrate how the Positive Peace model can help address sustainable development.

Last month, the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) visited the Nakhon Nayok province in central Thailand for a Positive Peace workshop with emerging and current community leaders.

With the lush Khao Yai National Park on the seminar’s doorstep, IEP Director of Partnerships Charlie Allen, and Director of Research David Hammond, set out to work with local organisation the Thai Peace Network, and the United Nations Association of Australia, to address sustainable development in Thailand.

IEP Director of Partnerships Charlie Allen said the workshop introduced 30 community representatives to the Positive Peace model as a means for enacting the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s Sufficiency Economy development approach, while also striving for the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

“The purpose of the workshop was empowering emerging leaders to be better able to work within their communities or lead their communities,” Mr Allen said.

“IEP doesn’t tell community leaders what to do, we’re saying here’s a model to work with, this is what builds a peaceful community, you think about your community and think about where the gaps are, so you can build a more robust system.

“We are really about seeding the thought for community members, and what they need to do for their own communities.”

Impartial and based on empirical evidence, the Positive Peace framework provides a neutral baseline to describe the peace dynamics of a social system across cultures and belief systems. The objective quality of the pillars, allows local communities to take the model and appropriate their own practical approaches to developing peace.

The IEP-developed framework is a holistic approach to developing peace in any society. It not only reduces violence and the level of grievances, it also provides a model for robust human development.

Positive Peace includes eight Pillars, or socio-economic areas of progress, that IEP has identified as having a statistically significant association with negative peace, or the absence of violence or fear of violence.

The Pillars of Positive Peace describe the attitudes, institutions, and structures that underpin peaceful societies and include: Well-Functioning Government, Equitable Distribution of Resources, Free Flow of Information, Good Relations with Neighbours, High Levels of Human Capital, Acceptance of the Rights of Others, Low Levels of Corruption, and Sound Business Environment.

Positive Peace can reinforce and build the attitudes, institutions and structures that allow societies to flourish in a sustainable way. These same factors create resilient and adaptive societies that preempt conflict and help societies channel disagreements productively.

IEP Director of Research David Hammond said IEP’s research into levels of Positive Peace within countries around the world, shows a relationship with a range of economic and social benefits.

“Economies prosper and societies maintain stability when Positive Peace is on an upward trajectory,” Dr Hammond said.

Our latest analysis shows that improvements in Positive Peace are also linked to strengthening domestic currencies, and that countries with improved levels of Positive Peace between 2005 and 2017 had two percentage points higher annual GDP growth on average, than countries that deteriorated.

“High Positive Peace countries are also able to maintain stability and adapt to social, economic and political shocks.

“The Thai workshop showed how versatile the Positive Peace framework is, that it’s as much about social and economic development as it is about fostering peace.”

Read more about our Positive peace workshops in Tunisia, Uganda, and Mexico.

The Thailand workshop was organised in partnership by the Institute for Economics and Peace, the Thai Peace Network, and the United Nations Association of Australia.