|Pic from Syria from frankborstart.com|
The UN has released some figures on its peace-keeping efforts worldwide. While the organisation does what it can, it is clear that it - the pre-eminent peace-keeping organisation in the world - is far from making even a scratch on the surface of global conflict.
These figures confirm our reasons for being.
There are 16 current conflicts the UN is working in around the world. The oldest is on the India-Pakistan border (in place since 1949), the newest in the central African republic (2014). Since 1948, there have been 71 UN peace-keeping operations and so, today, just under 23% of all the peace-keeping operations voted as necessary by the UN in 67 years are on-going.
The UN says there are 125,396 peace-keepers in the UN's employ (so-called Blue Helmets).
The budget for peace-keeping in 2014/15 is $US8.5 billion.
It sounds a lot, but consider the following.
The total armed personnel in just the top 20 militarised countries in the world is 1.3 billion. That's one peace-keeper for every 10,367 war-makers.
There is just $1 spent by the UN on peace-keeping for every $US 212 spent on arms around the world.
There are 32 recognised conflicts around the world today - and this is not including various trouble zones like West Timor for instance - which means around half of them are outside the UN's peace-keepers.
The victims of these wars are growing and the numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs) - refugees in their own countries - is the highest it has been since World War II.
Today there are some 38 million IDPs in the world.
There are 230 million children in war zones.
As such, it is clear that states and state based bodies cannot keep up. It is up to us, the civilian sector, to fill the gap. We can do this by not engaging in or supporting war, of course, But we can also look to support children in conflict situations, to do what we can to give the next generation a chance at peace.
In Gaza, our first program, there are 400,000 children in immediate need of psychological care, largely as a result of recent conflicts there.
This is clearly untenable. If these numbers continue their trend, which is upwards, the UN for one will be less able to cope.
It looks increasingly like it is up to us.