On December 8 2022, in partnership with the Permanent Mission of Mongolia to the United Nations, the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) organised a roundtable discussion titled Building and Sustaining Peace at the Regional Level: The Network Approach to Regional Coordination in Northeast Asia during an advocacy visit of Ulaanbaatar Process participants to New York City.
This discussion was an informal dialogue to share the learning from the Ulaanbaatar Process with global peacebuilding policy experts within the United Nations, Member States and regional organisations. The conversation outlined critical avenues to support regional peacebuilding coordination in policy and shared practical experiences for practical action. The discussion also outlined persistent challenges of regional peacebuilding coordination, and discussed recommendations to develop solutions to strengthen peacebuilding work in Northeast Asia.
During the roundtable, remarks were shared by Ulziibayar Vangansuren, Permanent Mission of Mongolia to the United Nations; Ambassador Enkhsaikhan Jargalsaikhan, Chair of NGO Blue Banner and former Mongolian Permanent Representative to the UN; Sonja Bachmann, Teamleader Northeast Asia and Pacific, UN Department of Peacebuilding Political Affairs (DPPA); Kajita Natsuha, learning designer and facilitator; Kim Jeongsoo, Standing Representative, Women Making Peace and Hwang Sooyoung, Manager, Centers for Peace and Disarmament and for International Solidarity, People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD).
Based on the experiences from Northeast Asia, the following key elements build an effective regional peacebuilding architecture:
- Multi-stakeholder coordination is required and must be based on complementarity among partners.
- The network approach to peacebuilding must be at the core of regional coordination.
- Inclusivity is key for effective regional peacebuilding networks.
The following recommendations have thus been identified for the strengthening of the regional peacebuilding mechanisms:
- The UN should take a more active convening role to bring together regional actors, the UN, national governments, and civil society, among others, to coordinate actions better and ensure a stronger impact of peacebuilding activities. Where regional peacebuilding networks play an essential role in building the foundation for regional dialogue, the UN should provide technical and political accompaniment to ensure the commitment to action.
- Improved funding mechanisms are needed to support the civil society organizations’ network approach. A network approach creates empowering and equitable spaces for exchanging expertise for more impactful and informed action, sharing resources and access points at various levels, and enabling and supporting communities committed to peace. Donors should reflect on how to improve funding mechanisms to support better civil society organizations engaged in regional peacebuilding networks, allowing them, through effective funding, to fill the gaps in the regional peacebuilding infrastructure. It is crucial to ensure that all regions are fairly represented in the international discussion on peacebuilding and are given international attention, as this also impacts funding availability.
- The inclusion of women and youth is key in regional peacebuilding networks and should be supported. Although women are strongly affected by conflicts, they are often excluded from negotiations and peace processes, especially in highly patriarchal contexts. The inclusion of local women within peacebuilding initiatives is essential to ensure that their unique perspectives can have a real impact at the decision-making level. Likewise, the meaningful participation of young people in dialogue on equal terms is essential to achieve and sustain peace. Young people in all their diversities should be considered as drivers for change, and their contributions should be held as relevant and valuable. Donors should prioritise supporting regional peacebuilding dialogues that ensure the meaningful participation of women and youth at all stages of the process. The UN and its Member States should use their influence and international platforms to ensure that the unique perspectives of local women and youth peacebuilders are heard and taken into account in the decision-making processes.
The Summary Note of the discussion is available below.