The GPPAC network: A beam of hope in our world today
As I was preparing my move from Kenya to the Netherlands to lead GPPAC, Russia’s tanks were rolling into Ukraine. The subsequent war in the heart of Europe has transported the painful reality of war forefront to the world stage. This is in addition to the myriad of armed conflicts currently waging from Iraq, Yemen, and Afghanistan to Myanmar or Venezuela. The horror and human cost of these conflicts are further magnified by the economic and environmental destruction that ensues.
On a planet seemingly engulfed in such terror, pain and devastation the crucial voices of local peacebuilders appear to be drowned out, and at times peacebuilders are even targeted with hate and distrust. Yet local peacebuilders courageously forge ahead despite the challenges in the firm belief that conflicts can be prevented and a just and inclusive peace sustained. That has been the story of GPPAC for nearly two decades. That is GPPAC today.
The power of the GPPAC network
It is an absolute honour to start as Executive Director serving a global network of peacebuilders whose uniqueness lies in its ability to exchange and learn from its members’ local expertise. I have witnessed GPPAC placing great emphasis on local peacebuilders’ cumulative learning journey in an effort to amplify their expertise and mobilise collective action at all levels. And I have seen the passion with which local peacebuilders share and exchange with global institutions and decision-makers to bring the network's local learnings and achievements to the global decision-making platforms such as the United Nations.
It is universally recognized that inclusive locally-led peacebuilding works, it prevents violent conflict and creates inclusive and sustainable peace. And GPPAC's unique network approach has proven time and again to successfully champion local peacebuilding. The network approach is deeply enshrined in GPPAC’s structure as it is owned and led by its members following a call in 2001 of former Secretary-General Kofi Annan for civil society to unite their efforts for peace. Today, the Global Secretariat serves its members in 15 regions that define priorities and co-design peacebuilding action with like-minded partners and donors.
Silver lining in a bleak world
It is undeniable that the world today is darkened by horrendous conflict, war and human suffering. Yet the courage, resilience and stubborn persistence of peacebuilders across the globe are a multitude of shining beams that refuse to be silenced.
The tenacious energies of a network of people building peace, such as GPPAC, carry excitement, hope and genuine faith in humankind despite the gloom that engulfs our planet.
Alvito de Souza