Peacebuilders have repeatedly demonstrated that they can stop and/or prevent wars, in places such as in Mozambique, Kenya, Northern Ireland, and, most recently, in Colombia.
Several organizations have sponsored locally-led peace projects with good results in many other countries. However, all of this this work has been hit or miss, with more misses then hits.
The human and economic costs of war continue to be appalling. What we are doing to reduce armed conflict is clearly not enough.
Some of the most competent people in the world of peacebuilding are meeting here together to do something about it. If we set our minds to it, we can find ways to become much more effective in promoting peace.There are serious obstacles to be overcome. Much of the public believes that war is inevitable and nothing can be done about it. Many in the peacebuilding community have a vested interest in the status quo and are reluctant to change. But we can and must find better ways to reduce the suffering caused by wars.Last year, a coalition was formed to convince the public that with more support, peacebuilders can reduce warfare. Impact:Peace has agreed to cooperate with the coalition, helping to build a strong case for peacebuilding based on hard evidence.
But much more is needed. We can't expect a two-day meeting in San Diego to come up with a silver bullet to improve the effectiveness of peacebuilding overnight.
What I hope will result from this meeting is that at least some of us will commit to finding transformative new ways to reduce armed conflict and that we will agree on next steps toward establishing an overall strategy, setting priorities, finding how best to allocate resources, and making concrete plans to get better results.