Guest Commentary | The world is facing the highest number of violent conflicts since WWII

by Sangita Bora
Guest Commentator

In the chronicles of human history, one unsettling truth remains unchanged: the world continues to be trapped in a vicious cycle of conflicts, disease, and disasters. Each one driving the other in a grim dance of misery where humanity is relentlessly caught in the events of self-inflicted suffering. Despite the scars of battles that run deep, we still lead ourselves in a world ravaged by conflicts, big and small, in almost every corner of the globe.

The world continues to witness heart-wrenching scenes from war-torn zones...

Earlier this year, in the 9250TH Meeting of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, briefed that “Six out of seven people worldwide are plagued by feelings of insecurity, the world is facing the highest number of violent conflicts since the Second World War and 2 billion people — a quarter of humanity — live in places affected by such conflict.” A harrowing truth derived out of years of conflicts, fueled by greed, arrogance, and division along lines of race, religion, and ethnicity.

The world continues to witness heart-wrenching scenes from war-torn zones demonstrating how conflicts disrupt societies, displace populations, and leave behind the ruins of once-thriving communities. Meitei vs. Kuki-Zo conflict in Manipur, Russia vs. Ukraine, and Israel vs. Palestine, all show nothing but exemplify this destructive pattern. These conflicts across zones are creating fertile ground for the spread of disease, as healthcare systems crumble, sanitation deteriorates, and access to clean water becomes scarce.

While we have now let our guard down against COVID-19 pandemic which cost millions of lives, let's not rule out the possibility of another deadly pandemic breaching into our lives again. Because, "This will not be the last pandemic, nor the last global health emergency" said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization in a press release from October 1, 2020.

Amidst all eyes and talks currently on the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza, a stance observed in all other past crisis. The question we should be asking is, are we fated to react only after a situation has descended into complete chaos? Have we conveniently ignored the proverb - "Prevention is better than cure"? Sadly, yes and we have already laid the foundation for our extinction.

A world at war cannot hope to control the deteriorating state of the environment.

As humanity aspires for greatness while standing on a fragile foundation, another existential threat quietly looms: the environmental catastrophe. Many detrimental human acts add to it, and military operations during conflicts are one of them, leaving a profound ecological impact that extends beyond the mere emissions of greenhouse gases. The destruction wrought by warfare is multifaceted: from soil and water contamination, air pollution, toxic waste, nuclear hazards to ultimately contributing to climate change. In times of war, nature often becomes an unintended casualty, suffering grievous wounds that echo long after the guns fall silent.

A world at war cannot hope to control the deteriorating state of the environment. As nations grapple with disputes, territorial ambitions, and ideological conflicts, the health of our planet at large continues to deteriorate. "The era of global warming has ended, the era of global boiling has arrived", declared UN Chief António Guterres on 27 July. On September 14, 2023, NASA announced that Summer 2023 was the hottest on record. Record breaking climatic events have become the 'New Normal' for us. Question is until when? Doom looms upon us, ever nearer, as the day approaches when our survival will be at stake.

Breaking the world's persistent cycle of conflicts and crisis lies in a holistic approach where world leaders don't just talk the talk but walk the walk. This approach involves strengthening diplomacy and cooperation, conflict prevention and sustainable development to mitigate poverty and inequality. We are well behind schedule in realizing that our existence as a species hangs in the balance, dependent on the choices that we make today – choices that will either safeguard our world and humanity's legacy or jeopardize our very survival.

Sangita Bora, the nomadic wordsmith, hailing from the scenic landscapes of Assam whose quest for knowledge and opportunity keeps her on a perpetual journey, city to city, experience to experience. Currently in Delhi, thriving as a Senior Associate Technology at Publicis Groupe, where she combines her innovative spirit with her technical expertise. A passionate thinker and an aspiring writer, Sangita weaves her experiences and insights into thought-provoking narratives that resonate with readers from all walks of life.