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Peace and Health CSIH Position Paper Pamela Thompson Inpro Consulting Inc. August 2000 Overview of paper • Peace, health and development are inextricably linked • CSIH Board priority: raise awareness and encourage action of theme • This position paper: – Introduces elements of peaceful and developed societies, – Identifies some warning signs of potential conflict and instability – Cites a number of impacts of war and conflict on human health – Values/guiding principles for action – War/conflict to peace continuum with intervention points Introduction and Rationale • International acknowledgement: Peace is a fundamental condition for achieving health • Generally, where prerequisites for health are met, there is peace whereas war exerts a detrimental impact • Conflict resolution is a key activity for peace, health and development process:what is the role of the health sector? • Civil wars now more common; we need inter-sectoral responses to complex humanitarian emergencies AND support longer-term development Elements/conditions of Peaceful and Developed Societies Peace Health & Human Rights Development Democracy United Nations, 1998, International Year of Culture of Peace Document Warning Signs of Potential Conflict and Instability • Economic and social inequalities • Breakdown of elements of peaceful and developed societies, e.g. basic needs not met, lack of respect for human rights, etc. • Conflict may be focused along cultural/ethnic lines, e.g. groups in competition for resources The Impact of War and Conflict on Human Health • Death, injury and long-term disability, mental health problems • Increases in sexually transmitted diseases (e.g. HIV/AIDS) • Increases in domestic and sexual violence and crime • Increases in communicable diseases • Dislocation of populations, mass migrations loss of kin and social networks, influxes of refugees with associated overcrowding, • Deterioration and destruction of health, social, economic and political infrastructures • Widening gaps between the rich and the poor Fustukian, (undated); Humblet & Biot , (1999); and Aaby, (1999) Values/guiding Principles • peacebuilding as a developmental process requires sustained commitment and creativity • “internally driven” and “indigenously controlled” • requires a variety of actors working collaboratively • health development contributes to conflict management, stabilization, Bridge to Peace: www.who.int/cha/trares/hbp/indes.htm • root causes of conflict must be addressed • local development key to addressing conflict • prevention is best option; an international responsibility • empowerment main objective and resources of development The War/conflict and Peace Continuum: Intervention Points Armed Conflict Post Conflict/ Peace and Pre-conflict & War Transition Period Stabilization Sustainable Development Prevention Relief Rehabilitation Development Intervening Short term Overlaps with Longer term; when warning assistance; relief. usually longer signs have about 1 year in than 2 years. been length . identified, before armed conflict erupts. Weaknesses Related to International Aid, Peace and Development in Societies in Conflict • Reactive, short-term interventions • Restoration of health system, not reform • Few linked relief and development peacebuilding activities • Need for preventative conflict monitoring • Little recognition of peacebuilding, need for internal actors • Few evaluations of post-conflict work A Desired Future “Transformed World envisions a society in which power is more widely shared and in which new social coalitions work from the grass roots up to shape what institutions and governments do. Although markets become effective tools for economic progress, they do not substitute for deliberate social choices; economic competition exists but does not outweigh the larger needs for cooperation and solidarity among the world’s peoples and for the fulfillment of basic human needs. In effect, this optimistic vision asserts the possibility of fundamental change for the better – in politics, in social institutions, in the environment.” (Hammond, 1998, p. 24) Priority Areas For Action • Evaluation and Research: which interventions? • Coordination of International Assistance and Relief Efforts • External Aid/Funding: long-term efforts required • Health Policy and Planning: addressing inequalities • Capacity-Building of Formal and Informal Health Workers Conclusion • Link between peace/conflict and health/development is clear • Need for understanding roots of conflict and prevention • Conflict resolution strategies can be integrated with health and development work • “peace-building is an organic system that requires relationships and coordination of multiple activities, multiple roles at multiple levels. No one activity and no one level will be able to deliver and sustain peace on its own” (Lederach, People Building Peace, 1999).
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