A Peaceful 2019!
The year 2018 posed a number of challenges for conflict prevention and peacebuilding worldwide. We are living in a more polarized and volatile world, with greater risks of violent outbreaks. The return of ‘great powers’ politics with dynamics similar to those of the cold war; the rise of nationalistic discourses which emphasize fear of the other and exclusion; the proliferation of authoritarian regimes which systematically close spaces for dissent; the persistence of violent extremism; the recurrent risk of violence around elections; and the failure of some states to deliver basic public services are some of the factors contributing to this perception.
With the constant stream of worrying news, it can be easy to miss the positive, but at the international level:
- After decades of seemingly intractable conflict, the governments of North- and South Korea and the US moved to ease tensions and advance towards the normalisation of relations.
- Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a landmark peace agreement, ending twenty years of conflict.
- The number of conflict-related deaths and levels of militarisation have been falling for several consecutive years (source: UCDP and GPI).
Peacebuilding is essentially about re-building relationships that have been broken by fear and mistrust.
And from training teachers in peace education in the Western Balkans; to school children bridging divides through videomaking in Kyrgyzstan to intergenerational dialogues for peace in Colombia, around the world, GPPAC peacebuilders made changes at the community level.
Peacebuilding is essentially about re-building relationships that have been broken by fear and mistrust. This includes efforts to rebuild trust among people, but also between people and institutions. In that regard, the year 2019 will require great efforts by peacebuilders to keep convening and creating spaces for dialogue, to bring a different narrative, and to emphasise a greater understanding of the other as opposed to excluding them. To show stories of hope, collaboration and collective growth as opposed to stories of fear, division and isolationism.
As we start a new year, we are reflecting on the power of collective action. What will enable us to tackle great challenges head on, is working together both within the GPPAC network and with other actors, developing joint understanding and identifying ways to contribute to resolving problems together. In 2019, GPPAC remains committed as always to peacebuilding worldwide. Among others, we will continue to:
- Work on SDG 16 on peaceful and inclusive societies, and the Sustaining Peace agenda
- Build civil society capacity for conflict prevention through peer learning
- Mainstream gender and youth within our network, and advocate for inclusive peacebuilding beyond it
- Engage with governments and intergovernmental organisations to prevent conflict and build peace
We thank you for your ongoing support of our work, and we wish you a happy and peaceful 2019!