Overview Welcome to the 75th issue of our Global Integration Updates! We are celebrating nearly eight years of providing strategic resources and personal reflections via the Updates to help "shape and support the emerging diversity of global integrators who as learners-practitioners are committed to the common ground for the common good."
In this Update we focus on the various ways that the world is being outfitted for, participating in, and being impacted byarmed conflicts.Specifically, and in the context of summoning us all to promote "positive peace" in our lives and world, we share summary statistics and information from 10 respected sources about national military budgets and military personnel, arms-selling and arms-buying countries, nuclear arsenals, civilian firearms and homicides, mines and munitions, UN Peacekeeping missions, forcibly displaced people, child soldiers, etc.
For many people, including ourselves, reviewing the summary statistics and information below can be both surprising and alarming it can also be saddening and maddening! But we do not lose hope--nor our faith and love! See our Final Thoughts at the end about "being people of faith-hope-love in our fractured world." We echo the words of Martin Luther King Jr.:
Our Purpose Our purpose in compiling these summary statistics and information is to help us all better track with the "big picture" of the "offense and defense industry." However, we are not offering specific analyses or judgements. Rather we hope that this collective (all-in-one-place) information will inspire you and many others towards greater awareness, advocacy, and action to promote positive peace in our world.
"Positive Peace is defined as the attitudes, institutions and structures that create and sustain peaceful societies. The same factors that create lasting peace also lead to many other positive outcomes that societies aspire to, including: thriving economies. better performance on ecological measures. Other factors that improve with Positive Peace are measures of inclusiveness, wellbeing and happiness. Therefore, Positive Peace can be described as creating an optimal environment for human potential to flourish." Executive Summary (page 4), Positive Peace Report 2020, Institute for Economics and Peace
Applications--Making It Personal --Explore. Choose one or more items below that you want to explore further including summary statistics, reports, and organizations. --Relevance. Consider a few ways that the materials are practically relevant for your life and work. --Discuss. Share and discuss this Update with others in view of “advocacy and action” to promote positive peace.
One:Global Citizen 10 Heartbreaking Facts About Ongoing Conflicts Around the World (April 2022) “1. There Are at Least 27 Live Conflicts Right Now. According to the Council on Foreign Relation’s Global Conflict Tracker [see image below in this Update], there are currently 27 ongoing conflicts worldwide. The tracker categorizes conflict into three groups: “worsening,” “unchanging,” and “improving.” Right now, there’s not a single conflict described as “improving.” Of those worsening are the conflict in Ukraine, the war in Afghanistan, political instability in Lebanon, the war in Yemen, the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, and the conflict in Ethiopia....
3. 2 Billion People Currently Live in Conflict-Affected Areas. A quarter of the entire global population lives in conflict-affected areas. Some of the worst affected places are Ethiopia's Tigray region, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan. According to the UN, last year, 84 million people were forcibly displaced because of conflict, violence, and human rights violations. This year, it is estimated that at least 274 million people will need humanitarian assistance."
Two: United Nations A New Era of Violence and Conflict “The nature of conflict and violence has transformed substantially since the UN was founded 75 years ago. Conflicts now tend to be less deadly and often waged between domestic groups rather than states. Homicides are becoming more frequent in some parts of the world, while gender-based attacks are increasing globally. The long-term impact on development of inter-personal violence, including violence against children, is also more widely recognized. Separately, technological advances have raised concerns about lethal autonomous weapons and cyberattacks, the weaponization of bots and drones, and the livestreaming of extremist attacks. There has also been a rise in criminal activity involving data hacks and ransomware, for example. Meanwhile, international cooperation is under strain, diminishing global potential for the prevention and resolution of conflict and violence in all forms.” (excerpt from the summary)
United Nations Peacekeeping “UN Peacekeeping helps countries navigate the difficult path from conflict to peace. We have unique strengths, including legitimacy, burden sharing, and an ability to deploy troops and police from around the world, integrating them with civilian peacekeepers to address a range of mandates set by the UN Security Council and General Assembly.”
Three:Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) “SIPRI Yearbook 2022provides an overview of developments in international security, weapons and technology, military expenditure, arms production and the arms trade, and armed conflicts and conflict management, along with efforts to control conventional, nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.” Below are some examples from the Summary.See page 18ff also for information on chemical, biological, and health security threats.
Four:International Rescue Committee Top Ten Crises the World Cannot Ignore in 2022 (updated July 2022) “The International Rescue Committee has released its 2022 Emergency Watchlist, a global list of humanitarian crises that are expected to deteriorate the most over the coming year. Most Watchlist countries—the top ten in particular—have experienced almost non-stop conflict over the last decade, hampering their ability to respond to global challenges like COVID-19 and climate change. These 20 countries are home to 10% of the global population but account for 89% of those in need of humanitarian aid worldwide. (N.B. The 2022 Emergency Watchlist was compiled before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. For updates on the humanitarian situation inside Ukraine, and for refugees who have fled to neighboring countries, please visit our Ukraine Crisis page.)
Displaced families, and in particular women and girls, are disproportionately affected by the crises, which are more than a series of unfortunate events, stresses David Miliband, IRC president and CEO. “The story told by the Watchlist makes a bigger argument,” he writes in the report, “not just that there are more poor and more people forcibly displaced, but that the scale and nature of humanitarian distress around the world constitutes a system failure.”
The IRC has produced a Watchlist each year for over a decade. Over this time, it has evolved from a purely internal aid for emergency preparedness planning into a public report that warns global leaders, policymakers and concerned citizens not just where crises are deepening but why they are deepening and what can be done about it.”
Six:Landmine and Cluster Munitions Monitor Summary of Landmines “Casualties. 2020 was the sixth year in a row with high numbers of recorded casualties due to mines, including improvised types, as well as cluster munition remnants and other explosive remnants of war (ERW). The continuing high casualty total recorded is mostly the result of increased conflict and contamination observed since 2015. In 2020, at least 7,073 casualties of mines/ERW were recorded: 2,492 people were killed and 4,561 people were injured, while the survival status was unknown for 20 casualties. The 2020 total represents an increase from the 5,853 casualties recorded in 2019, and is more than double the lowest annual recorded total (3,456 in 2013). The vast majority of recorded mine/ERW casualties were civilians (80%) where their status was known. In 2020, children accounted for half of all civilian casualties where the age was known (1,872). As in previous years, in 2020, men and boys made up the majority of all casualties (85%) for which the sex was known.”
See also the Summary of Cluster Munitions. Seven: Small Arms Survey Global Firearms Holdings “There are more than one billion firearms in the world, the vast majority of which are in civilian hands. The Small Arms Survey estimates that of the one billion firearms in global circulation as of 2017, 857 million (85 per cent) are in civilian hands, 133 million (13 per cent) are in military arsenals, and 23 million (2 per cent) are owned by law enforcement agencies. Our studies suggest that the global stockpile has increased over the past decade, largely due to civilian holdings, which grew from 650 million in 2006 to 857 million in 2017.”
2022 update of the Small Arms Survey’s Global Violent Deaths (GVD) database “According to the latest update of the Small Arms Survey's Global Violent Deaths (GVD) database, loss of life resulting from interpersonal violence decreased substantially between 2016 and 2020. The GVD database collates data on homicides and direct conflict deaths into a single ‘violent death’ indicator (not including suicides), dating back to 2004. In its 2022 update, estimating lethal violence as of the year 2020, the database reveals that the global rate of violent deaths decreased from 9.1 per 100,000 people to 6.8 per 100,000 people between 2016 and 2020. Similarly, firearm-related violent deaths on the global scale decreased from 3.9 per 100,000 in 2016 to 2.7 per 100,000 in 2020. In total, 531,000 people died violently in 2020, out of which 40 per cent (211,000) were killed by firearm.
However, while the decrease in the global violent death rate and count suggests a positive trend, the impact of ongoing conflicts (such as in Ukraine), as well as recent increases in homicides in some countries, risk reversing it. This also implies that possible progress towards meeting Target 16.1 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—reducing all forms of violence and related death rates—would similarly be stymied.”
“Thousands of children are serving as soldiers in armed conflicts around the world. These boys and girls, some as young as 8 years old, serve in government forces and armed opposition groups. They may fight on the front lines, participate in suicide missions, and act as spies, messengers, or lookouts. Girls may be forced into sexual slavery. Many are abducted or recruited by force, while others join out of desperation, believing that armed groups offer their best chance for survival. We are working to prevent the use of child soldiers and to hold accountable the people who send children to fight.”
“What is a child soldier? Any girl or boy below the age of 18 who is recruited or used by an armed force or armed group, in any capacity. A child soldier is not just someone who is involved in fighting. They can also be those in other roles such as cooks, porters, messengers, human shields, spies, suicide bombers or those used for sexual exploitation. It includes children recruited and trained for military purposes, but not used in war.”
How many child soldiers are there? There are an estimated 250,000 child soldiers in the world today in at least 20 countries. About 40% of child soldiers are girls, who are often used as sex slaves and taken as “wives” by male fighters
Where are child soldiers recruited? Fifty countries still allow children to be recruited into armed forces, according to Child Soldiers International. Many non-state armed groups also recruit children. The UN Secretary-General’s annual “name and shame” list for 2017 highlighted the armed forces of Afghanistan, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for recruiting and using under-18s for armed conflict. But non-state armed groups also recruit children in these and other countries.”
Global Peace Index 2022 “This is the 16th edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI), which ranks...163 countries comprising 99.7 per cent of the world’s population, using 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources, and measures the state of peace across three domains: the level of societal Safety and Security; the extent of Ongoing Domestic and International Conflict; and the degree of Militarisation. In addition to discussing the findings from the 2022 GPI, the report includes an analysis of the military conflict in Ukraine. It covers likely increases in military spending, new and emerging uses of technology in the war, its impact on food prices and global shipping routes. The report also contains a deeper analysis on violent demonstrations around the world....
Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world, a position it has held since 2008. It is joined at the top of the index by New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark and Austria. Afghanistan is the least peaceful country in the world for the fifth consecutive year, followed by Yemen, Syria, Russia and South Sudan. All of these countries have been among the ten least peaceful countries for the last three years....Of the 163 countries in the GPI, 84 recorded deteriorations, while 77 recorded improvements and two recorded no change in score. Fifteen of the 23 GPI indicators deteriorated between 2008 and 2021 while eight improved. Two of the three GPI domains deteriorated since 2008, with Ongoing Conflict deteriorating by 9.3 per cent and Safety and Security deteriorating by 3.6 per cent....
Moving forward, the 2022 GPI reveals a world in which many nations have begun to recover from the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, many of the ramifications of the lockdowns remain, including supply chain disruptions and delays, product shortages, higher energy and food prices. It is also a world that is suffering from increasing inflation, the highest levels in forty years in some countries and without an improvement in sight. The rise in food and fuel costs has increased food insecurity and political instability globally, but especially in low-resilience regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and MENA. It is in these already unstable conditions that Russia launched an attack on Ukraine in February 2022. The conflict will only exacerbate these issues further. The conflict will accelerate global inflation, with Western sanctions further contributing to shortages and hikes in prices. The impacts have been only partially captured in 2022 GPI. These near-term implications to global peacefulness may lead to deteriorations in food security, increases in militarisation and military expenditures in Europe, and greater likelihood of political instability and violent demonstrations." (excerpts from the Executive Summary)
Final Thoughts Being People of Faith-Hope-Love in a Fractured World
As people of faith who practice Christian spirituality, we are committed to responsibly engage with others in the challenges facing our world, locally through globally, while holding firmly to our belief that both fundamentally and ultimately we are in God's hands. We pray that God's purposes "will be done on earth as it in heaven;" acknowledge that prayer, repentance, and relationship with God are key to human-planetary wellbeing; and live in hope for the time when God through Jesus Christ will decisively intervene in human history with equity--righteousness and justice--to restore all things. And in the meantime...we seek to embrace lifestyles that prioritize a deep, practical love for truth, peace, and people.
We do not want to further problemitize our world's plight by focusing primarily on the negative. Rather we want to also promote the many examples of the good going forward, as people of good will find common ground for the common good. Andwe affirm, in the words of Martin Luther King Jr., that human progress comes from "the tireless efforts of [people] willing to be coworkers with God."
Member Care Associates Inc. (MCA) is a non-profit, Christian organization working internationally from Geneva and the USA. MCA's involvement in Global Integration focuses on the wellbeing and effectiveness of personnel and their organizations across sectors (e.g., mission, humanitarian, peace, health, and development sectors) as well as global mental health and integrity/anti-corruption, all with a view towards collaboratively supporting sustainable development for all people and the planet. Our services include consultation, training, research, resource development, and publications.
Global Integration (GI) is a framework for actively and responsibly engaging in our world--locally to globally. It emphasizes connecting relationally and contributing relevantly on behalf of human wellbeing and the issues facing humanity, in light of our integrity, commitments, and core values (e.g., ethical, humanitarian, human rights, faith-based). GI encourages a variety of people to be at the “global tables” and in the "global trenches"--and everything in-between--in order to help research, shape, and monitor agendas, policies, and action for all people and the planet. It intentionally links building the world we need with being the people we need.
Our Global Integration Updatesare designed to help shape and support the emerging diversity of global integrators who as learners-practitioners are committed to the "common ground for the common good."2015-current (70 issues). Some examples of foundational ones:
Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be coworkers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail (April 1963)