Peacifica is a peacebuilding NGO and advisory that aims to support and advocate for peacebuilding in the Pacific region. We believe that building peaceful societies is a central and underappreciated challenge in our region.
Peacifica launched in January 2016 and focuses its work on Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Timor Leste. In the near future we will launch peacebuilding programs in partnership with local organisations in Timor and the Solomons.
Over the last two decades the world has made huge progress in helping people to escape from poverty. The numbers are remarkable: 37% of people lived on less than US$1.90 a day in 1990, and today fewer than 12% of people do. The actual numbers have halved to under 1 billion people. The elimination of the worst poverty is within our grasp.
Those who have escaped poverty were relatively easy to reach. Aid and economic growth in many developing countries combined to give more people jobs, better health and better education. But a billion people still do not enjoy these basic rights. They must first overcome another set of problems: stopping wars, getting access to justice, and ensuring that the most marginalised and vulnerable people have a voice. We have only just begun to tackle these problems and have learned that if we don’t deal with them then the more familiar problems of development will not be fixed either.
We have learned that there can be no development without peace, and no peace without development. This learning is embedded in the new Sustainable Development Goals.
A lot of development work does not yet look closely at this principle of interdependence between development and peace. This is particularly the case in Australia, where the Australian Government and aid charities are development organisations first and peacebuilders second. No-one is looking exclusively at the problems of peace and stability and their impacts on poverty and security. Climate change adds an additional dimension to this problem as it creates new pressures on peace and stability.
There is a place in the Pacific region, in South East Asia and in Australia for an organisation that focuses squarely on strengthening peace, promoting reconciliation and ensuring inclusion for the poorest and most vulnerable people in our region. These people live in places that are fragile and face daily fear of conflict and violence. Some, like Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands, are working their way out of fragility. Others, like Papua New Guinea, Thailand and Myanmar, are dealing with different forms of violence and conflict. Many local organisations in these countries need help to promote peace in their communities. Their governments need to be heard on the global stage, where peace and conflict debates are dominated by Africa and the Middle East. And the Australian Government needs to be encouraged to invest more in peacebuilding programs and stand with its neighbours in global debate.
Peacifica is a new voice for peace in – and from – our region. We are small, lean and flexible; a partnership of specialists from our neighbours and from Australia uniting under one banner.
Peacifica develops partnerships with local peacebuilding organisations in the Pacific and Southeast Asia, offering a new way for Australians to support change in our region. We are working to make sure that the Australian Government puts peace at the heart of its aid program. We are a focused and informed voice on peace and stability issues, ensuring that they are better represented globally. We put our region first.