Since 1974, Cyprus has remained divided between the Greek-Cypriot community in the south and the Turkish-Cypriot community in the north. Interpeace has been working in Cyprus since 2009 with the aim of fostering greater linkages between the high-level peace negotiations and the local population’s needs and aspirations in the two Cypriot communities – in line with Interpeace’s track 6 approach.
Today Interpeace works in partnership with two local organizations to support the Peace Process in Cyprus: the Centre for Sustainable Peace and Democratic Development (SeeD) and the Cyprus Dialogue Forum (CDF).
SeeD grew out of Interpeace’s initial initiative, ‘Cyprus 2015’, and with support from Interpeace and UNDP-ACT, SeeD was established as the first bi-communal think tank in Cyprus in 2012. In 2017/18, SeeD has been implementing the Security Dialogue Initiative, focused on the development of alternative options for the security dossier in the peace talks. SeeD developed and presented a new, comprehensive security architecture for Cyprus, both to the key stakeholders within the negotiations and to the wider public. This framework focused on a prevention approach, with a view to building the long-term resilience of the population and of Cypriot institutions. Based on initial findings about different constituencies’ concerns and priorities, SeeD has also added a component on women, peace and security to this initiative. Interpeace is providing support to SeeD in the design and implementation of this initiative.
SeeD has also evolved into a peacebuilding think tank, which is making the innovative tools it has developed in Cyprus over the years available to other contexts. These tools include evidence-based instruments, such as participatory polling and the Social Cohesion and Reconciliation (SCORE) Index through which participatory research is conducted and brought to bear on policy decisions and enables more effective engagement between decision-makers and the wider public. The SCORE Index was developed in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme Action for Cooperation & Trust (UNDP-ACT) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). It measures the state of peace in a society and supports policy decisions for national and international stakeholders in countries facing peacebuilding and statebuilding challenges.
In 2017/18, the programme has also supported the Cyprus Dialogue Forum. The Forum is a permanent dialogue platform bringing together policy makers and civil society of the two communities and from different sectors. It represents a “safety net” for the negotiations by providing all actors involved in the process with a permanent space to broaden the Track 1 level talks.
In 2019, Interpeace will focus on sharing the results and lessons learned from the programme, both internally and externally through a policy paper and a letter to the Secretary-General. These will highlight the need to support a peacebuilding process in Cyprus, to create the conditions for the resumption of formal negotiations while responding to the factors of failure of previous processes.