Posted by Ian E. Lancaster, Chair, Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention Committee

Dear District 7070 Rotarains, Rotaractors and the Rotary family,

As the District’s peace advocate, I wanted to share some of the details that I was made aware of during a couple of webinars this past month and the most recent Rotary Global Cyber Peace Conference, this past Saturday, June 27, 2020. Because of my interest in peace, in all its facets, I connected with Chris Offer PDG, Chair of TRF’s Peace Major Gifts Initiative Committee; Bryn Styles, PRID & PRFT, and Chair of the Rotary Peace Centers Committee; and Scott Martin, Rotary Peace Scholar, Rotarian and member of Mediators Beyond Borders International (MBBI) and Chair of the Global Cyber Peace Conference.......

The data shared concerned the most recent edition of the Institute for Economics and Peace’s (IEP) Global Peace Index 2020 – Measuring Peace in a Complex World. .

I have selected a few significant parts from this keystone document that you might find enlightening.

“The GPI covers 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.”

The results this year show that the level of global peacefulness deteriorated, with the average country score falling by 0.34 per cent. This is the ninth deterioration in peacefulness in the last twelve years, with 81 countries improving, and 80 recording deteriorations over the past year. The 2020 GPI reveals a world in which the conflicts and crises that emerged in the past decade have begun to abate, only to be replaced with a new wave of tension and uncertainty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Only two of the nine regions in the world became more peaceful over the past year. The greatest improvement occurred in the Russia and Eurasia region, followed by North America. North America was the only region to record improvements across all three domains, while Russia and Eurasia recorded improvements in Ongoing Conflict and Safety and Security, but a deterioration on the Militarisation domain.”

“Peacefulness has declined 2.5 percent since 2008 with 81 GPI countries recording a deterioration, and 79 improving. Fifteen of the 23 GPI indicators are less peaceful on average in 2020 when compared to 2008.”

“This year’s report also looks at the trends in civil unrest over the past decade. It finds that there has been a sharp increase in civil unrest events since 2011, with over 96 countries experiencing at least one violent demonstration in 2019. From 2011 to 2019, the number of riots rose by 282 per cent and general strikes rose by 821 per cent.”

“The economic impact of violence on the global economy in 2019 was $14.5 trillion in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. This figure is equivalent to 10.6 per cent of the world’s economic activity (gross world product) or $1,909 per person. The economic impact of violence improved by 0.2 per cent from 2018 to 2019. The biggest improvement was in armed conflict, which

decreased by 29 per cent to $521 billion, owing to a fall in the intensity of conflict in the Middle East and North Africa. There was also a substantial reduction in the economic impact of terrorism, which fell by 48 per cent from 2018 to 2019.

Violence continues to have a significant impact on economic performance around the globe. In the ten countries most affected by violence, the average economic impact of violence was equivalent to 41 per cent of GDP on average, compared to under four per cent in the countries least affected by violence. Syria, South Sudan, Afghanistan and Venezuela incurred the largest proportional economic cost of violence in 2019, equivalent to 60, 57, 51 and 48 per cent of GDP, respectively.”

The 2020 GPI report also has a special focus on IEP’s newest research report - the Ecological Threat Register (ETR), which combines a confluence of ecological risks with Positive Peace and economic coping capacity to better understand what future potential risks and fragilities nations will face in the next three decades. It also extrapolates population projections to 2050 to better understand the areas which will be most impacted.  

This is just a very small sampling of the extensive amount of information that can be gleaned about the state of our world and the work that you as Rotarians, through the guidance of our leaders and staff at Rotary, and the partnership of organizations like the IEP and MBBI, must do to bring about a more peaceful world.

Peace Through Service,

Ian E. Lancaster,

Chair, Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention Committee



The Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention Committee needs your help on another related front. 

Out of conflict come human casualties.  Landmines cause destruction many years after the combatants have left the fields.  The Canadian Landmine Foundation and District 7070 maintain a strong relationship, and have been dedicated to raising awareness and funding for mine action.

The Peacebuilding Committee needs a Rotary champion or champions from the District to help raise the profile of the Canadian Landmine Foundation (CLF) and its mission to raise understanding and resources for this registered charity, to end human and economic suffering caused by these hideous devices.

The CLF partners with other charitable organizations that meet their standards to help relieve the global and continuing human devastation caused by landmines and other explosive remnants of war and relieve the suffering of their victims.


Can you be that champion?  If you have the interest to share your passion for helping to rebuild ravaged lives, please reach out to me by email.