Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Nobel Committee Broadens Definiton of Peace

©Banker to The Poor, Autobiography of Prof. Muhammad Yunus

Michael Renner, a Senior Researcher at the Worldwatch Institute, comments on the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize award. >>Full article

Alfred Nobel stated that the Prize be given to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses ”. Though the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s latest decision is grounded on a more modern principle; that “peace can not be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty. Micro-credit is one such means. Development from below also serves to advance democracy and human rights.”

The 2006 Peace Prize, -awarded to micro-credit pioneer Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank he founded-, may indeed draw criticism from traditional security analysts. Yet, although disarmament, conflict prevention, and reconciliation remain crucial in achieving peace, the nature of conflict has changed. And so did the variables of peace.

Working towards a conception of peace that is more than the mere absence of war demands a commitment to sustainable development, equity, and participatory democracy. We need to enhance our comprehension of the ways in which a multitude of social, economic, environmental, and demographic pressures interact, and how these dynamics play out in light of ethnic and political fault lines.

© Worldwatch Institute/ Eye on Earth

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