Peace Report 2023 \ Still far from peace

Berlin, 12 June 2023.

Press release with the key recommen­dations of the Peace Report 2023

In the second year of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, there is no end in sight to the violence, and the global impli­cations are becoming increa­singly apparent. European NATO countries should prepare for long-term support for Ukraine. This is the assessment of Germany's leading peace and conflict research insti­tutes in their Peace Report 2023, presented today. The insti­tutes also recommend sanctioning the Wagner Group, expanding multi­lateral arms control, and streng­thening unstable societies in the Global South. The Peace Report 2023 presents clear recommen­dations for German policy after the "turn of the times".

Download the press release here.​

There will be no peace in Ukraine for a long time  - on the contrary, it is becoming apparent that the Russian invasion, which is against the inter­national law, will develop into a war of attrition that will continue for a long time. The leading German peace research institutes expressly warn against ceasing mili­tary support for Ukraine and to rely solely on nego­tiations, as  indi­vidual social groups in recent months demand. The conse­quence would be that Russia would continue its expan­sionist drive and the security situation would worsen throughout Europe, the researchers say. Weapons deli­veries and training assistance remain nece­ssary so that Ukraine can defend itself. At the same time, nego­tiations should already be prepared now, which should be linked to extensive security guarantees for Ukraine. The German government could play a central role in this and seek an inter­national nego­tiating ini­tiative.  

An increa­singly important role in violent conflicts worldwide is played by non-state armed mercenary armies, most notably the Russian Wagner Group. Since it often escapes the direct control of its clients, this group employs parti­cular  bruta­lity, under­minining inter­national peace missions and thus contri­buting to the desta­bilization of entire regions, such as in the Sahel. The German government, the peace research institutes demand, should classify the Wagner Group as a criminal group and place it on sanctions and wanted lists.

In 2022, global conflict levels remained high. Half of the armed conflicts took place in Africa. One in two intra-state conflicts there involved trans­nationally operating jihadist groups, such as the so-called Islamic State (IS).

Increasing poverty, the effects of climate change and social pola­rization are further risks to peaceful coexis­tence in Germany, Europe and worldwide. In times of these multiple crises and complex challenges, a change of era understood purely in terms of defense policy, which relies primarily on the expansion of mili­tary capa­cities, would not be sufficient. On the one hand, develop­ment policy strategies must be developed to strengthen the resi­lience of parti­cularly vulnerable societies in the Global South and to guarantee the food security of the popu­lation. On the other hand, Western demo­cracies also need strategies to counteract social pola­rization and protect themselves against disin­formation campaigns and anti-demo­cratic ideo­logies.

Economic inte­gration cannot guarantee peace, but it can at least promote it if certain economic depen­dencies, for example in the energy sector, are avoided. The scientists therefore warn against hastily and uni­laterally reducing trade relations and economic inter­depen­dencies, e.g. between Western states and China. Nego­tiations, dialogue and trade should continue to serve as a means of securing peace. Isolating Russia in major inter­national orga­nizations would not be strategically expedient, despite the blatant breach of inter­national law vis-à-vis Ukraine. Parti­cularly in the current situation, inter­national forums for exchange such as the UN or the OSCE are urgently needed in order to engage in dialogue about de-escalation options and to be able to voice criticism.

In view of the tense global poli­tical situation, everything possible should be done to prevent an arms race and the further proli­feration of weapons of mass destruction and to reduce the risk of esca­lation. Among other things, it is important to ensure functioning commu­nications and the security of command and control structures, espe­cially in crisis situations. States that have not been at the center of arms control policy to date, such as Brazil, India or China, should be more closely involved than they have been to date.

The Peace Report 2023 calls for the more consistent imple­mentation of a value-oriented feminist foreign and deve­lopment policy. It must position itself more decisively than before and openly discuss dilemmas.

The Peace Report is available for download free of charge (in German):

Präsentation in Berlin // Presentation in Berlin

About the Peace Report

The Peace Report is the joint yearbook of the German Insti­tutes of Peace and Conflict Research (BICC / PRIF / IFSH / INEF). It has been published annually since 1987. Researchers from various disciplines inves­tigate the realities of conflicts in various countries around the world. Their analyses are the basis for the Editors’ Statement, which summa­rizes and assesses the results and formulates policy recommen­dations for peace and security policy in Germany and Europe.

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