The International Day of Living Together in Peace reminds us of the urgent need for global unity. Discover how the Positive Peace framework can help build a sustainable, peaceful future.

Escalating ideological tensions, armed conflict and socio-political unrest show the consequences of intolerance, prejudice, and violence, which work to undermine peace building efforts. And they reinforce the urgent need to address root causes of conflicts and foster unique approaches to peacebuilding via respect and mutual understanding. 

The International Day of Living Together in Peace on May 16th was established by the United Nations General Assembly to promote global solidarity and emphasise the importance of co-existence among all nations and peoples. The day encourages reconciliatory measures, acts of service, and efforts for peace and sustainable development in collaboration with communities and other relevant actors. 

The Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP), through its Global Peace Index 2023 (GPI), detail a decline in peace over the past decade, with states dealing with heightened levels of instability and insecurity. The GPI reflects this decrease in peacefulness globally since 2009, with the average country score deteriorating by five per cent. Additionally, the Global Terrorism Index 2024 (GTI) reported deaths by terrorism increasing by 22% in 2023, its highest level since 2017, led by terror attacks in the Central Sahel and the October 7th Hamas attack in Israel. The GTI found that terrorism increases with war, with further spikes in terrorist activity potentially likely in the wake of current conflicts in Russia-Ukraine, and Israel-Gaza. The Ukrainian conflict of 2014 saw substantial spikes in terrorist activity around the war.

Against the backdrop of increased conflict and instability, the idea of Positive Peace offers a holistic framework for advancing sustainable peace, development, and prosperity.

Positive Peace is defined as the attitudes, institutions and structures that create and sustain peaceful societies. Developed by IEP, Positive Peace encompasses eight interconnected pillars that are conducive to nations peace levels flourishing, laying the foundation for enduring stability and resilience. The highly interconnected eight pillars that comprise Positive Peace are: 

  • Well-functioning government – a government that demonstrates political stability and delivers high-quality public and civil services. 
  • Sound business environment – strength of economic conditions as well as formal institutions that support the private sector.  
  • Equitable distribution of resources – equity in accessibility to resources such as education and health. 
  • Acceptance of the rights of others – formal laws that guarantee basic human rights and informal social and cultural norms. 
  • Good relations with neighbours – harmonious relations with other countries or between ethnic, religious, cultural groups within the country. 
  • Free flow of information – free and independent media which disseminates information in a way that leads to greater knowledge and helps the nation make better decisions, particularly in times of crisis. 
  • High levels of human capital – the extent to which societies educate citizens and promote the development of knowledge.  
  • Low levels of corruption – societies with high levels of corruption usually see resources being inefficiently allocated and lead to a lack of funding for essential services. Resulting in civil unresent and distrust in institutions. 

Recent trends within Positive Peace show a substantial improvement in the Structures domain since 2009, and a smaller improvement in the Institutions Domain. However, the Attitudes domain has deteriorated globally. Nonetheless, the global score for the Positive Peace Index (PPI) has improved by two per cent since 2009, with 125 countries improving in Positive Peace and 37 countries deteriorating. Additionally, six of the eight Pillars improved with Low Levels of Corruption and Well-functioning Government being the only one’s deteriorating. 

The correlation between high levels of Positive Peace and the promotion of living together in harmony is undeniable. We can see the societies and countries that prioritise inclusivity, social justice, and participatory governance to be in a better space to address grievances and cultivate a sense of belonging and peace amongst diverse communities. By investing in equitable education, healthcare and economic opportunities, nations empower individuals and groups to thrive on a sense of shared humanity. Furthermore, tolerance and dialogue fostered at the ground and media level is fundamental for good relations, human rights and addressing root causes of conflict. By promoting intercultural dialogue and celebrating diversity, societies can forge bonds of solidarity internally and externally, transcending boarders and ideologies. 

As the International Day of Living Together in Peace approaches, the pillars of Positive Peace provide the groundwork on which to promote tolerance and solidarity. Globally, challenges regarding bigotry, socio-political differences, and violence present barriers to peace. On May 16th, we can recognise the ideals of peace and coexistence and renew efforts to apply these ideals to a future where every individual is able to prosper, regardless of race, religion, or nationality, in a world defined by mutual respect and peace.



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Jamison O'Brien

Communications Associate

Vision of Humanity

Vision of Humanity is brought to you by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), by staff in our global offices in Sydney, New York, The Hague, Harare and Mexico. Alongside maps and global indices, we present fresh perspectives on current affairs reflecting our editorial philosophy.