Quantifying Peace

“Peace can and should be quantified,“ said Steve Killelea, Founder and Executive Chairman of the Institute for Economics and Peace while speaking at IPI’s Vienna office on February 24th. Mr. Killelea stressed the need for focusing on positive peace rather than just the absence of conflict (negative peace), and outlined ways of defining and measuring peacefulness. “In the same way that you wouldn’t hang around the divorce courts to learn how to improve your marriage, or only study pathology if you want to be healthy, we shouldn’t just focus on conflict in order to promote peace,” said Mr. Killelea.

To illustrate his point, Mr. Killelea showcased some of his institute’s work, including theGlobal Peace Index and the Global Terrorism Index. He also outlined a number of indicators to measure the implementation of the proposed Sustainable Development Goal number sixteen which is designed to “achieve peaceful and inclusive societies, access to justice for all, and effective and capable institutions.”

In the discussion, participants debated a range of topics including peace and religion, the causes of terrorism, the challenge of building peace in fragile states, and creating incentives to transform unstable communities and societies into peaceful and prosperous ones.

One participant described 2015 as “the year of multilateralism,” and said that international and regional organizations had a leading role to play in working towards positive peace. Also discussed was how to engage the private sector to better understand the relationship between business, peace, and economic development.

Steve Killelea is an Australian philanthropist and entrepreneur in technology and international business development. The Institute for Economics and Peace, established in 2008, has offices in Sydney, New York, and Mexico City.