Peace in our time

15.08.45: THOUSANDS of doves were released yesterday in the world's main capitals to mark 100 years of peace since the end of the second world war.

But as the world celebrated, schoolchildren immersed themselves in their history books and world leaders prepared to gather in Berlin next month to review international military strategy, a global research centre made a strong plea to the world to avoid complacency.

The European Peace Institute's State of the World Report for 2045, while more positive than in recent years, still has powerful warnings. Its key findings are:

  • 40m killed and 120m injured in 190 wars in the "century of peace", though levels of violence fell in the past 10 years.
  • World population 8.8bn but rate of growth declining since 2030, initially because of famines but now more as the result of economic improvements brought about by the Balance Plan of 2033.
  • Greenhouse-gas levels in sharp decline as fossil fuel curbs of mid-2030s and solar/hydrogen energies take effect. Reforestation accelerating and climate change starting to moderate, although big effects not expected until 2070.
  • Real progress being made in southern development, with indicators positive. Malnutrition levels halved to 700m, life expectancy in the South back up to 2010 levels, and insurgency and civil disorder in decline.
  • Still no progress on controlling weapons of mass destruction; three superpowers urged to aim for a total ban by 2055, with minimal nuclear stocks to be maintained by UN.
  • Dr Juan Carlos Khan, the EPI director, concludes by saying that the findings indicate that the Balance Plan is working. Predictions for the next 10 years are more favourable than at any time this century. Provided trade reforms and sustainable development policies hold, he foresees substantial decreases in poverty levels, but argues that these can be achieved only if the world's corporations are prepared to work more closely with the three superpowers.

    A commitment to rural repopulation and to curbing growth of the southern megacities is crucial.

    Progress is being made in a number of renewable energy technologies: key breakthroughs include the new SuperCells developed at Mexico's Solar Energy Institute and the Thorpeness fusion reactor.

    "Even so, the greatest risk is of complacency," he said. "Signs are that the Balance Plan treaty is having a profound effect following the famines of '31. But we could still lose the gains of the past decade." PR

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