Interpeace at 2021 Stockholm Forum on Peace and Development
From 4-7 May, the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) are organizing the 2021 Stockholm Forum on Peace and Development on the theme ‘Promoting Peace in the Age of Compound Risk’.
Interpeace is delighted to participate in the annual forum which will explore novel approaches and solutions to promoting peace in the age of compound political, social, economic and environmental risks reinforced by COVID-19.
Health and Peace in times of COVID-19 (Friday, 7 May, 14.00-15.15 CET)
The Covid-19 pandemic is the greatest public health crisis in generations, and responsible for devastating impacts on lives and livelihoods. The emergence of a suite of vaccines represents a beacon of hope that we may soon stem the tide of the pandemic. Multilateral initiatives, such as the COVAX facility, play a crucial role in ensuring an equitable distribution of vaccines to developing countries. This does not, however, guarantee success of efforts at the “last centimeter” to get the vaccines into arms. The pandemic, and accompanying infodemic, have exacerbated existing inequalities and mistrust between groups and with authorities. This is particularly acute in countries affected by violence and conflict. To succeed, the international community and health practitioners need to anticipate and address resistance to and tensions surrounding vaccine campaigns and health systems, as well as access challenges in dangerous contexts. A high-level discussion devoted to the topic of “Bridging Health, Peace and Security: The role of trust and community engagement” will be co-organized by Interpeace during the Stockholm forum together with the Swedish MFA and SIPRI. It will take place on 7 May between 14.00 and 15.15 CET. The discussion will be animated by Scott Weber, President of Interpeace. Minister for International Development Cooperation Per Olsson Fridh, Ms Svitlana Shatalova (Deputy Minister of Health of Ukraine), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Director-General of WHO), Dr Wahid Majrooh (Minister of Public Health of Afghanistan), and Tarja Halonen (Former President of Finland and Lancet-SIGHT Commission chair) are invited to the discussion.
It will explore the necessity to focus specifically on the role of trust and community engagement to the fight against the pandemic and the opportunity this represents to build greater confidence in community cooperation and in governance systems.
Shifting the Paradigm: Power and Responsibility (Wednesday, 5 May, 12.30-13.45 CET)
The international community faces an era of alarming, prolonged and recurrent conflict, and unprecedented humanitarian needs. The age of comprehensive peace agreements is over, yet the approach and design of peace processes continue to be linear and dominated by political processes. The inadequacy of narrowly formulated peace agreements which prioritise political peace on the account of social peace is compounded by the extremely non-inclusive nature of most mediation processes. From Yemen, Somalia, CAR, Eastern DRC to Afghanistan, peace agreements prove incapable of reducing violence or creating more stable political orders.
Principles for Peace initiative hosted at Interpeace is organizing a session on “Shifting the Paradigm: Power and Responsibility – Principles for Peace”, to highlight some of the unintended consequences and traps of the current emphasis on political processes to solve conflict. The session will be held on 5 May between 12.30 and 13.30 CET, and the discussion will be animated by Hiba Qasas, Head of Secretariat Principles for Peace at Interpeace. Ms. Janine Alm Ericson (Swedish State Secretary for International Development Cooperation), Mr. Bert Koenders (Co-Chair, International Commission on Inclusive Peace and Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands), Ms. Naheed Sarabi (International Commission on Inclusive Peace and Former Deputy Minister of Finance Afghanistan), Lieutenant-General (ret) The Honourable Roméo Dallaire (International Commission on Inclusive Peace and Former Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda), Mr. Frederic Gateretse-Ngoga (International Commission on Inclusive Peace and Ambassador, Head of Conflict Prevention and Early Warning Division at the African Union Commission) and Ms. Rosa Emilia Salamanca (Executive Director of Corporación de Investigación y Acción Social y Económica (CIASE) in Colombia) will be among guest speakers. The dialogue will focus on emerging ideas and practical solutions to build more multidimensional, inclusive and long-term approaches to peace processes.
Rethinking peace in the Covid-19 era
Interpeace will also make contributions to two other panels.
A panel discussion on “Vital access to healthcare and vaccines: Challenges in territories controlled by armed groups” organized by Geneva Call will explore challenges and concrete solutions related to the access to healthcare and vaccines for individuals living in areas controlled by armed non-state actors and de facto authorities. Representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières, Interpeace and a local civil society will share experiences and lessons learned as well as discuss the impact of COVID-19 on peace.
A roundtable on synergies between peacebuilding and human rights aims to identify concrete examples of human rights mechanisms and processes that support peacebuilding efforts at the country level. It will put a spotlight on the United Nations Secretary-General’s Call to Action for Human Rights, which was initiated just as the world was overwhelmed with the Covid-19 pandemic. In particular it will look at progress made in its implementation, notably in its contribution to sustaining peace. Moving from reflection to interactive exchange the discussion will explore relationships with local actors, as well as the roles and responsibilities of UN Resident Coordinators in implementing the Call to Action at the country level. This session will highlight challenges they face and opportunities for joined-up action to sustain peace, especially in the context of the global pandemic where mitigation efforts have been used to restrain and restrict free speech, freedom of assembly, access to information and other human rights.