Best Wishes from the GPPAC Northeast Asia Regional Secretariat
2020 has been a challenging year for peace, and for many of us. On behalf of the GPPAC Northeast Asia Regional Secretariat, hosted by Peace Boat, we would like to express our solidarity and gratitude to you all!
GPPAC made a collective call for an inclusive, people-centered peacebuilding response to the COVID-19 pandemic – watch it here in the words of peacebuilders from around the world, including members from GPPAC Northeast Asia.
We followed this with discussions in the Northeast Asian region, highlighting in our statement that the pandemic has clearly demonstrated the need to redefine security to that which is not nation-based but human-centred. Moreover, that now more than ever, regional cooperation is needed to deal with common threats including diseases, nuclear weapons and the climate crisis.
In 2020, collaboration for peace on the Korean Peninsula continued to be our key priority. GPPAC Northeast Asia joined the launch of the Korea Peace Appeal, coordinated by many of our partners in Korea, to call for an end to the Korean War. Throughout the year, GPPAC has worked with the appeal on various webinars, selfie campaigns, op-eds and more. If you haven’t yet please add your voice in support of the appeal here!
As our activities had to make the shift to virtual spaces in 2020, we also convened a series of webinars in November and December with the support of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Asia Global Dialogue on non-traditional security and COVID-19 in Northeast Asia, with GPPAC NEA members sharing their insights on themes including civil society activism under the pandemic, cross-border cooperation in disasters, COVID-19 and confidence building, and the impacts of the pandemic on women’s security. For some holiday viewing, please take a look at the videos of each of these webinars, linked above!
And finally in 2020, together with Ulaanbaatar Focal Point Blue Banner, GPPAC Northeast Asia continued our civil-society led dialogue the Ulaanbaatar Process in a series of virtual sessions in November and December. Although the online format meant that full inclusive participation by members from all parts of the region was not possible, this was a productive opportunity for members to reaffirm their ongoing priority – that peace for the Korean Peninsula and for Northeast Asia is urgent, and that civil society, governments and other actors must work together towards this goal. Read the statement issued by participants here.
As we enter the new year of 2021, we recognise the ongoing challenges that the pandemic and the various divisions it has brought about will continue to pose to peacebuilding. At the same time, there are also positive steps awaiting us, including the Entry into Force on January 22, 2021 of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons!
We believe that GPPAC has an important role to create together innovative and effective ways to continue our work in such circumstances, and look forward to expanding cooperation with all of you and other partners on the Korean Peninsula, in Northeast Asia and worldwide, in order to achieve a more sustainable, lasting peace for all.
Wishing you all the very best for a peaceful, happy and healthy New Year in 2021!