Context

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).

With the support from Interpeace and UNDP-ACT, SeeD was established as the first bi-communal think tank in Cyprus in 2012. In 2017/18, SeeD implemented the Security Dialogue Initiative, focused on the development of alternative options for the security dossier in the peace talks. 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.



Goal

Since the beginning of its engagement in 2009, Interpeace has focused on connecting Track 1 level negotiations with civil society and the wider population. This has been done through Interpeace’s partner the Centre for Sustainable Peace and Democratic Development (SeeD) and other partners. The programme has seen cycles of heightened activities followed by scaling back to a mere monitoring of the context in line with developments in the context and the availability of funding.



Promoting women’s inclusion in the peace process

To further promote an inclusive discussion on security, SeeD's Security Dialogue Initiative (SDI) concentrated its efforts on investigating gendered insecurities and women’s inclusion in the peace process. SDI made this research output available on the role of women in the Cyprus peace process. Research findings showed the close relationship toxic masculinity, which encompasses militarization and normalization of violence, has with women’s exclusion in decision making and intergroup relations. Successful outreach was conducted on the findings, diseminating them among the UN, international and local actors. The Women, Peace and Security policy brief is hoped to serve as a useful reference document for the resumption of the negotiations.

Fostering mutual understanding through the Cyprus Dialogue Forum

The programme supports the Cyprus Dialogue Forum (CDF), which is a permanent dialogue platform bringing together policy makers and civil society of the two communities and from different sectors. In the period that followed Crans-Montana, CDF succeeded in maintaining and even increasing its bi-communal work, therefore confirming its key role as a “safety net” to the peace process when the Track 1 process stagnates. Currently, the programme has focused 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.

Resources