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Sunday, 24 August 2014

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'Positive Peace' favours growth of human and social relationships - Secretary to the President

"What we must be doing is restoring trust among communities, rebuild Social Capital and thereby enhance personal and collective productivity, bring lasting peace and prosperity, and improve the quality of life of every Sri Lankan citizen", said Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, while speaking on the importance of social capital at the 'Defence Seminar 2014' at Galadari Hotel, Colombo yesterday (Aug 18).

Elaborating on Positive and Negative Peace, Lalith Weeratunga mentioned that, "Positive peace is filled with positive content such as restoration of relationships, the creation of social systems that serve the needs of the whole population and the constructive resolution of conflict".He also mentioned that, "It is this Positive peace that we will consider as conducive to promote development in Sri Lanka". "The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission made a large number of recommendations towards establishing and enhancing Positive peace in Sri Lanka", he added.

Further speaking on different views held on the partnership between peace mentioned, "It is obvious that no real economic progress can be achieved in a situation of conflict or war".

"When the resources that would normally be used for economic development will have to be diverted for defence and military purposes, or will simply not be available for use" he added.

Weeratunga pointed out that, however, it is interesting to note that despite a debilitating war, Sri Lanka during the years 2006 to 2009 had a remarkable GDP growth. "Once the struggle against terrorism ended in May 2009, we had remarkable GDP growth in 2010 - a massive 8.0 percent", he said.

Explaining on several streams of opinions on development and peace he stated that, "there is an agreement that sustained peace can promote economic development, there is no guarantee that economic development alone will promote sustained peace".

"This is because people in a society, in any country, whether they are rich or poor, will "always want more" leading to inevitable disparities. Hence, there has to be a multi disciplinary approach to development", he said.

Taking the current context into the argument Secretary to the President said that, "development has to take into account not just the monetary value, but also people development and growth, strengthening of social networks, and as some countries do, even go to the extent of developing a Gross National Happiness Index". "The essence of the philosophy of this index is the peace and happiness of a country's people and the security and sovereignty of the nation", he said.In his concluding remarks Secretary to the President emphasised that, "in order for peace and development to be complimentary and to grow as an inseparable partnership, what we must seek to build progressively is a "Positive Peace" and a kind of development that goes beyond a monetary value and favours the growth of human and social relationships, cohesive societies, promote civic engagement and establish trust and reciprocity".

"In such a situation, we will find both a sustainable peace and a sustainable development".

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