Cooperation for Peace: Civil Society & Regional Organisations Joining Hands
The changing nature of armed conflicts and the emergence of new security threats, requires the response and involvement of regional organisations. They need to be better equipped to not only respond to the security concerns of their member states, but also to the security concerns of the people within those states.
To support this transformation, Regional Inter-governmental Organisations (RIGOs) need to increase their involvement in preventing and managing conflicts. In order to do this, creating spaces to work with civil society organisations (CSOs) with expertise in peacebuilding is critical. The involvement of civil society organisations enables the inclusion of a people-centred, bottom-up perspective, helping to address the root causes of conflicts and work towards sustainable peacebuilding.
On 19 and 20 September, as part of GPPAC’s long standing effort to increase cooperation between regional organisations and civil society, representatives from regional organisations, the United Nations and CSOs from around the world met during the third global conference on cooperation between RIGOs and CSOs. The meeting took place in Washington DC at the headquarters of the Organization of American States. This event was a joint effort between GPPAC, the Organization of American States, International IDEA and Community of Democracies. The theme of how to articulate efforts to achieve greater peace, justice and strong institutions and advance in the 2030 agenda was at the heart of the discussions.
“I am certain that this new era of cooperation with GPPAC will yield new synergies and open opportunities for a more efficient, effective and closer collaboration in the development of specific policy actions based on local and national experiences to achieve sustainable democracy and bring more rights to more people”, said Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro.
A significant outcome from this conference includes the signing of a cooperation agreement between GPPAC and the Organization of American States (OAS). This will allow GPPAC members in the Americas and beyond to work together with the OAS on issues such as the development of joint conflict prevention initiatives, the protection of civic space, the promotion of greater social cohesion and inclusion in democratic processes.
Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, said “I am certain that this new era of cooperation with GPPAC will yield new synergies and open opportunities for a more efficient, effective and closer collaboration in the development of specific policy actions based on local and national experiences to achieve sustainable democracy and bring more rights to more people.”
At GPPAC, we believe that the cooperation with the OAS will not only allow us to join efforts in the promotion of greater peace and democracy in the Americas, but it can also be an inspiration for other regions on how effective collaboration between a regional organisation and a network of civil society organisations can be articulated.
As the number of risks that need to be collectively managed increases, multilateral forums need to become a vehicle to bring together different views and articulate different actors that can contribute to build peace and prevent armed conflict. Cooperation agreements like the one recently signed between the OAS and GPPAC can be a significant step towards shaping a new form of multilateralism for the XXI century. A multilateralism which is more open, inclusive and people-centred.