Rotary Focus Area 01 : Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention

“The road to war is well paved, The road to peace is a wilderness.”

– Paul P. Harris –

What is Peacebuilding and Conflict prevention?

“Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention”, does not have a natural home, but this does not mean it should not have a central place in our responses to some of today’s global challenges. The Rotary International focuses on seven focus areas to serve communities around the world, each with exclusive concerns and needs locally and internationally. ‘Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention’ is the initial Rotary Focus Area, where the promotion of Just, inclusive societies and peaceful co-existence among people are targeted. 

Peacebuilding and conflict prevention mainly addresses the ways in which both violent and non-violent behavior can be analyzed and controlled in a way in which it gets settled and leads to a more desirable human condition. A conflict can be defined as a situation where there is an actual or a perceived opposition in needs, values and interests resulting in a clash between individuals or groups. With this, it is evident that conflicts are an inevitable aspect of human interaction. 

A conflict can take place between various kinds of parties; intra-personal, interpersonal, inter-group, intra-group and inter-state. 

Why focus on Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention internationally?

In today’s world, peace, conflict, and development are intertwined. All three of these aspects are interdependent. Conflict and insecurity inhibit development and lack of development gives rise to conflicts. Development, a necessary factor for any community or country, gets easily affected by the absence or the presence of a conflict. If we take a country for instance when a conflict has erupted most of the resources are spent on conflict expenditure resulting in a lack of resources for infrastructure and human development. On the other hand, the fluctuations in the processes of development impacts conflicts. For example, a lower economic opportunity, unequal distribution in gains from development, and political marginalization can lead to social conflicts. Such social conflicts can result in civil wars and large-scale conflicts. Including peace and conflict as an area of focus internationally allows one to think about how development problems can be viewed and how to adjust policy recommendations and social programs so that they meet the needs of people living in conflicted areas.

How is Rotary contributing towards peacebuilding and conflict prevention?

Rotary as a Humanitarian organization has made the foundation of their mission as maintaining the sustainability of communities. Building peace and preventing conflict is an important cornerstone of this mission globally. Rotary’s contribution towards providing proper sanitation and clean water, improving health of mothers’ and children, supporting education, and growing local economies directly builds the optimal conditions for peaceful societies. Rotary even play in integral role in post-conflict reconstruction focusing on creating communities and convening groups that are connected, inclusive and resilient.

The Rotary action group for peace is a branch of Rotary that serves as a resource to Rotarians, Rotary clubs, and districts by supporting the peace work of Rotarians worldwide. For 100 years Rotarians have been advancing and understanding goodwill and peace through their services. Now with the Peace Area of Focus, Rotary has the ability to take it to the next level.

Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention for the future

According to the UN, more than 600 million young people live in volatile and conflict-prone areas. Young people are disproportionately affected by the multiple and often interlinked forms of violence such as political violence, organized crime, lack of resources for self-development which exact human, social and economic costs. As the saying goes, the future of the world depends on the actions we do today and also on the youth. If these deficiencies are tackled and if the opportunities that youth can get are not marginalized, a much secure future for the world is guaranteed. 

Establishing peace and preventing conflict can be a tricky process because even though the conflict might have seemed to cease, the underlying root causes which fueled the conflict can still be there and they might act up again if they are not properly addressed. The conflict resolution and prevention process has several different methods. For example: negotiation, medication, etc. The security that should be established during the conflict transformation process should be considered as an investment because the proper institutionalization security can ensure peace in the long term.

The community under Rotary International District 3220, consists of various types of conflicts, and the sustainability of such communities is ensured if the processes of Peacebuilding and Conflict prevention are carried out sustainably. The Rotary International has the capacity of working towards this Rotary’s Areas of Focus with the objective of reaching communities in resolving conflict and paving the way for peace. In Sri Lanka, most societies or individuals are being subjected to much structural violence that limits individual and social capacity. The Rotary International will be focusing on projects of awareness, inclusivity, and solidarity on the path to making this area a success. The Rotaract in Sri Lanka and Maldives, being a young community has the advantage of including the young population of the nation, as young people are disproportionately affected by the multiple ways of violence, injustices, and abuse that they can confront daily.

Rotaract in Rotary International District 3320 has the passion for serving the community and has the capability to play active roles as agents of positive and constructive change in national peace and security and building a safe place for future generations.



Penned by Rtr. Gethmi Adhikari in collaboration with the District Editorial Team

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