NGO’s role in World Peace

“An eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind”- Mahatma Gandhi

Since wars begin in the minds of man, it is in the minds of men that peace

must be constructed”- UNESCO Charter

The concept of world peace is one where all nations adopt a policy of non-violence and acceptance, towards each other. Though, theoretically this appears to be very much possible. It requires all individuals to behave in a non-hostile manner. But humans being violent or act violently in certain circumstances poses the biggest threat to global harmony. The concept of world peace picked up pace followed by the two devastating World Wars, which devoured millions of people and left scars which took ages to heal. These major catastrophes forced men and women globally to dream and visualize a better and peaceful world.

Since time immemorial men and nations in their quest to achieve domination and control over other nations and people, have turned to savage means and adopted brutal and violent methods. Thus war or violence is something which occurs naturally to humans. Be it in the name of religion, race, power or independence masses have taken to aggressive means to resolve issues, considering it as a quick way to yield results, but not considering the deep rooted ramifications. No wonder that Gandhi is hailed as one of the most inspirational leaders who walked the surface of the earth, primarily due to the adoption of non-violent means. The relevance of peace in today’s times is paramount. As with most developed and developing nations investing billions in building a strong defence and building weapons of mass destruction. Chaos and anarchy prevailing in many nations like Libya, Thailand, Sierra Leone and other African nations. Though governments of most nations are responsible for the peace and stability of the nations, they lack the focus and the professionalism to promote peace. Most powerful nations in a way have disrupted peace of smaller nations to gain control over them, though global peace is a farfetched dream, for it to be realized certain bodies need to take responsibility.

Although the creation of the United Nations which succeeded the failed League of Nations. This was an initiative by the nations towards creating hope of freeing the world from the horrors of war.  The UN established several programs intended to reduce, as much as possible, all the factors leading to outbreaks in conflicts. These programs did not only focus on peace keepers, who intervene after a conflict has erupted, but also on economic and social development, human rights, and the struggle to end world poverty and hunger. Indeed, all of these United Nations programs contribute directly or indirectly to the prevention of conflicts and thus to peace on earth. It is certainly true that, in the last 50 years, not everyone in the world has known peace, but it is gradually gaining ground. The dream of peace in the world is becoming less and less utopian and more and more attainable. UN and its subsidiaries like the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), specialized programs and agencies such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),  the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP –,  the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR –, the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR ), UNFPA(United Nations Population Fund), WHO (World Health Organisation), WFP (World Food Program)and many others are trying to prevent deadly conflicts from proliferating by attacking the roots of these conflicts and not only the acts of violence that are the symptoms.

The UNDP was created to help solve this problem. Indeed, conflicts grow well in the fertile ground of poverty. The UNDP is mandated to contribute to the elimination of poverty, the social mobilization of women, respect for the environment and the reinforcement of democratic institutions. The supervision of elections illustrates this quite well. The UNDP is not alone in attempting to accomplish its mission, as thousands of non-government organizations (NGOs) are likewise contributing in one way or another. NGO’s being focused organizations demonstrate absolute and superior advantages over government in terms of the delivery of goods and services. They act as the special change agents or catalysts that can speed up the process of development and other aspects well. But the story of NGO’s might differ from nation to nation. The underdeveloped nations and nations where the core power rest in the hands of the militia or dictators, it is nearly impossible for these NGO’s to function as they are viewed as potential threats by the rulers.

Nevertheless NGO’s are assuming central roles in this area and advancing human security.  Unlike the yesteryears, in the current scenario there are many bodies which are responsible for taking the onus of global peace and security excluding the United Nations. These include Rotary International, Green Peace, Amnesty International, Harvard, Peace T&T, Parties for Peace, Peace No war, Peace Research Centre, The Foundation for PEACE and many more are just some examples of NGO’s involved in promoting global peace. The Rotary Peace Army is one such wing of the Rotary International with its own Mission Statement of promoting world peace and understanding, Rotary International has over the years commenced the silent recruitment of a new breed of soldiers who are being trained and send into battle fronts at all levels to perpetuate a global culture of peace and security is one such noteworthy cause. The Training Programme of the Rotary Peace Army is designed to inculcate into the recruits the value and concepts of peace building and conflict resolution to enable them to be a part of the solution in accelerating peaceful co-existence among the people of the world.  The recruits learn how to analyze conflicts with the view of utilizing these newly developed skills and weapons to promote world peace and further counterattack the weapons of violence and destruction.

The first decade of the 21st century is going to complete with both hope and distress co-existing side by side. Peace and development and concept of democracy and equality are still missing in many parts of the world despite our trumpeted slogan of world getting into a global village. No doubt the globalization has drawn countries closer and closer with reference to their economic relationship, advanced means of communications and regional cooperation etc. But these developments are posing some alarming questions to the general public like local wars, revolutions and conflicts coming up from time to time. The Iraq war and situation between Israel and Palestine witnessing tragedies every day. Similarly wars in Africa entangled with poverty and diseases are still continuing.

As a matter of fact after the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan on 6th and 8th August, 1945, the possession of nuclear device by some countries created a sense of self-protection and safety. In this way the dream of peace and harmony in the world does not seem to be converted into the reality in the near future. Thus the role of these NGO’s is gradually gaining more importance. As they are trying to bridge the gaps of inequality and level out issues which cause wars and internal conflicts globally from the roots with a non-violent, logical and compassionate way.




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