Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, June 1st, 2020

Peaceful Co-Existence: A Tool for Sustainable Development

The notion of peaceful co-existence is, like all such notions in the social sciences, better understood contextually and thematically. Peaceful co-existence ensures economic prosperity for all social groups. In addition, it lends itself to manipulations and different usages. It is a good servant, indeed, a handy compass, at the control and command of its master. It serves the mighty as well as the weak, the big as well as the small. More importantly, it has been in existence since human settled experiences. In other words, the desire for peaceful existence is part of humanity and has dominated and continued to dominate international, national and local/community efforts at promoting the well-being of the people. 
For a peaceful co-existence, the neighboring countries shall develop specific principles to protect and defend their independence. For example, China, India and Myanmar have issued five principles of peaceful co-existence as pillars on which to base their developmental aspirations.
The five principles were built around” mutual respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states; mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs; equality of members; mutual benefit and peaceful co-existence. The popularity of these principles and their relevance in today’s world can be seen from their almost unconditional endorsement by the United Nations in its charter.
Sustainable Development
The failure of traditional development strategies, which were basically (top-down), to meaningfully impact positively on the lives of the rural populace, has resulted in the search for, and adoption of an alternative development approach, which applies “bottom-up” strategy to development. As a concept, sustainable development is that development which meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It is development which protects the environment, advances economic prosperity and social justice. The practical implications of this orientation, is that sustainable development frowns at all activities that degrade or have the potential of degrading the environment, and demands that these activities be stopped. It is, therefore, not surprising that sustainable development is fanatically environment-friendly and advocates and pursues activities and policies that are intended to renew and improve the environment. More importantly, sustainable development preaches, among other things, capacity-building among local beneficiaries of development projects, to ensure that these projects will continue in existence and remain functional even when external assistance is withdrawn or ceases. As a result, sustainable development cherishes and calls for effective broad participation as a means to sustain the development process, hence the actual meaning of the “bottom-up” approach.
Therefore, sustainable development is that development which meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This scenario plays itself out only in conditions of peace and peaceful co-existence. Lack of peace or its converse, a situation of conflict, armed struggle, war and even threats of these, is not and cannot be conducive to development. Crises destabilize human settlements, economic activities, social interactions; conflicts unnecessarily raise tensions and create uncertainties. Apart from all these, conflicts destroy human lives, vital infrastructure, and natural resources.
Peace, on the other hand, promotes development in several ways. Under peaceful conditions people are more at ease and can easily activate their humanity. They can meaningfully think about their present conditions and ways of improving their future. They can invest in economic ventures, participate in social and political activities and think about future generations.
Peace ensures peaceful co-existence and sustainable development among the people and nations. The relative peace and harmony across the borders, and the opening and sustaining of the routes across the borders, is not possible without peaceful co-existence. Finally, we hope that the current peace talks lead to a durable peace in Afghanistan to enable the country to play its strategic role to connect the regional countries and beyond together. Peaceful Afghanistan means, peaceful co-existence and economic prosperity for the region and beyond.