Davos- In recent years, a certain question has been on the rise, “Is the world becoming less violent?” despite the fact that statistically the world has become less ‘deadly’, conflict and disorder are on the rise, with massive bloodshed in Afghanistan, Syria, and Yemen.
What is common in today’s armed conflicts, is the fact that they are harder than ever to resolve. They come in multiple shapes and sizes, and it is precisely these alternative manifestations that are increasing and contributing to disorder.
In a session under the theme of ‘Peace and Reconciliation in a Multi-polar world’ during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2019, world leaders are trying to tackle the matter, and find a mutual ground on reconciliation.
The first to share his thoughts on the matter, is someone who has been involved in a country many considered as a swamp of endless chaos, Afghanistan, Chief Executive of the Afghanistan government, Abdullah Abdullah, said that opportunities have been missed, adding that even though it has been 40 years since the Soviet invasion of the country, the country is still feeling the effects. When the Soviets withdrew, so did the rest of the world, and the vacuum was filled by ambitious groups.
Had the democratic process worked better in the past, with more rights for the people, the situation would be different, he says. So the internal dynamics are critical.
On the other hand, Abdelkader Messahel, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Algeria, says that as we live in a turbulent world, and ideas of peace and reconciliation are very important to the future of the planet.
He continues to showcase the Algerian experience with disorder, “In 1997, Algeria was closed to failing as a country. It’s now one of the safest countries in the world. How did this happen? We had the gift of people,” he says.
Adding that “You need a will to change, as well as the legal basis and popular support to allow this change to happen. We chose democracy – the antidote to extremist discourse.”
Many participants agreed on the need of tackling the root causes of conflict, one of which is Sigrid Kaag, the Netherlands’ minister of foreign trade and development cooperation, who believes political marginalisation and economical exclusion, can quickly spin out of control and become a regional conflict, such as the Syrian conflict.
She stressed the need to find a new approach toward peace, to build and invest and refuse to hijack these situations with the old processes that we know do not work.
“Our old formulas aren’t suited to the current conflicts,” she adds. “We’re going after a new disease and trying to treat it with Aspirin,” Kaag concluded.
In regard to the Syrian conflict, Gebran Bassil, minister of foreign affairs and emigrants for Lebanon, says a secular state and diverse societies are part of the solution.