International Day of Peaceedit
Today, people across the world are observing the International Day of Peace. The event was established in 1981 and is dedicated to promoting peace among people and nations. To mark its 20th anniversary in 2001, the UN General Assembly voted unanimously to mark 21 September as a day of non-violence and ceasefire. This year’s theme is the ‘Right of Peoples to Peace’, which marks the 30th Anniversary of the declaration of the same name by UN General Assembly.
Conflict resolution and peacebuilding are significant themes in our work. Next month, we will be hosting a discussion on Measuring peace consolidation. This meeting aims to enable an exchange of knowledge between experts and practitioners with the objective of contributing to the development of best practices in measuring progress towards sustainable peace in the aftermath of conflicts.
Following the UN Secretary General’s request for a review of UN peacekeeping operations in June 2014, our meeting on Promoting effective international peace operations in increasingly complex environments enabled an informal exchange on what the review should cover and how it might be constituted. Discussions called for a strategic shift in peacekeeping operations, and the distinction, and Secretariat boundaries, between peacekeeping and Special Political Missions should be ended. Peacekeepers should have realistic and flexible mandates, with adequate resources; implementation is key and should be approached sequentially. The Security Council should focus more on conflict prevention. These findings can be read in the conference report.
We have also held meetings on conflict resolution and peacebuilding in specific contexts for example in November 2013, Conflict resolution in South East Asia examined responses of governments in the region to domestic conflict. South East Asia is home to some of the world’s longest running sub-national conflicts and these discussions, held in association with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, emphasised that while there is a menu of options for action in conflict resolution and peacebuilding, context in a particular situation is vital and action needs to be tailored to local needs. There is a need for patience, persistence and trust amongst government and opponents in the process of peacebuilding.
Recently our commitment to promoting discussion on peacebuilding has been bolstered by a substantial grant from the Carnegie Corporation to fund two future conferences on peacebuilding in Africa. The first of these will be held in February 2015 focusing on Peacebuilding in Africa: evolving challenges, responses and new thinking. In light of the ever changing landscape of conflict in Africa, this meeting intends to bring together a broad range of actors from Africa to address leading debates on peacebuilding as well as put forward alternative and complimentary approaches to peacebuilding within the African context.
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