UK is pessimistic about prospects for peace in global poll

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The FINANCIAL — The UK has emerged as the most pessimistic country regarding its future peace prospects in a survey of 15 countries commissioned by the British Council and International Alert. The Peace Perceptions Poll 2018, conducted in partnership with global polling agency RIWI, found that people in the UK seem more negative about their country’s future peace and security than those living in conflict zones, including Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The poll asked more than 110,000 people about their perceptions of peace and conflict. The online survey included Brazil, Colombia, DRC, Hungary, India, Lebanon, Myanmar, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Africa, Syria, Tunisia, Ukraine, the United States of America and the United Kingdom, with targeted polling additionally undertaken in Northern Ireland. The UK was the most worried about terrorism of all the countries surveyed. More than a quarter of Britons do not feel that the UK is a ‘peaceful and secure place to live in’. 40% of UK respondents felt prospects for peace and security will get worse in the next five years. The report found people in the UK: are most concerned about terrorism and criminal violence. had some of the highest levels of perceptions of political exclusion: 41% of respondents felt less able to influence the political decisions affecting them, compared to five years ago. They blamed this on a lack of trustworthy information and corruption in politics. perceived some of the lowest levels of access to economic opportunities, with 40% saying they felt unable to improve their or their family’s economic situation. When asked about the most effective ways to build long-term peace internationally, a third of British respondents prioritised ‘dealing with the reasons why people fight in the first place’, followed by a fifth who emphasised ‘supporting societies and communities to resolve conflict peacefully’. When asked how the UK government should promote peace: 32% said it should ‘deal with the reasons why people fight in the first place’, followed by 25% who said it should ‘teach peace, tolerance and conflict resolution in schools’. They chose these over military interventions, which was amongst the least selected options, according to Britishcouncil. Harriet Lamb, CEO of International Alert added: “At a time when conflict is on the rise, the poll shows strong popular support for peacebuilding approaches, which focus on dealing with the reasons why people fight in the first place.

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