Ulaanbaatar Process

Civil society dialogue for peace and stability in Northeast Asia

The Ulaanbaatar Process is a unique civil society dialogue for peace and stability in Northeast Asia. Coordinated by the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) Global Secretariat, GPPAC Northeast Asia Regional Secretariat Peace Boat, and the Mongolian NGO Blue Banner, this process promotes effective regional Track 2 dialogue, seeking to strengthen the role of civil society as a complement to the long stalled yet newly progressing Track 1 process, towards the development of an institutionalised regional peace and security mechanism for Northeast Asia.

Building on the recent momentum of events on the Korean Peninsula, the prime objective of this project is to increase the capacity and space for civil society organizations in the region, by lobbying for their key role in promoting lasting peace and stability, building their capacity to work together and with other relevant stakeholders (governments and international organizations) to support the peace process on the Korean Peninsula, and ensure meaningful and sustained civil society participation in this process.

Since 2021, the “Ulaanbaatar Process: A Civil Society Approach to Building Peace in Northeast Asia” is being carried out with funding provided by the European Union’s Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP). This is being implemented by the GPPAC Foundation in cooperation with Peace Boat, the Regional Secretariat for Northeast Asia, and the Mongolian NGO Blue Banner, for a 3-year period. Please see here for more details.

Opening of the 2019 Ulaanbaatar Process meeting, at the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Achievements

  • The only standing platform that regularly brings civil society representatives from both North and South Korea to meet and engage with each other in peace dialogues. The Process has seen uninterrupted participation by both DPRK and ROK participants even amidst a complete stop in inter-Korean dialogue, made possible through the regional approach creating a safe, broader space for engagement as direct contact between the two countries was prohibited.
  • Despite ongoing regional tensions, Northeast Asia is one of the few regions in the world without any intergovernmental regional organisation. Without such forums and open spaces for dialogue, civil society organizations are not as effective in influencing/having access to their governments and international organizations. The Ulaanbaatar Process is filling part of that gap by providing safe space for civil society organizations from the region to exchange views and shape the way forward, and supporting an environment in which a regional organization can be created in the future.
  • Establishing relations with Track 1 level dialogues, including with support of the Government of Mongolia such as hosting of meetings at the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Mongolian State Palace.
  • Series of two publications on Peace and Security in Northeast Asia, collections of essays published in 2017 and 2019 by expert members from each of the participating countries – a rare publication including perspectives from both Koreas, as well as all other Six Party Talk countries. Chapters focus on for example denuclearization, the role of youth and women, and civil society dialogue and multi-track diplomacy in peacebuilding in Northeast Asia. The styles, opinions and visions contained in these publications are as diverse as the Northeast Asian region itself and the fact that they have been offered willingly, and in good faith, is a testament to the success of the ongoing Ulaanbaatar Process.
    Publication 1 (2017): https://medium.com/reflections-on-peace-and-security-in-northeast
    Publication 2 (2019): https://medium.com/perspectives-on-peace-and-security-in-a-changing
  • Agreements and recommendations from all participating organisations on issues such as promoting a nuclear-weapon free zone, peace on the Korean peninsula and promoting women participation in peacebuilding. Building upon the trust and commitment developed in the past years, participants have agreed on the utmost importance of sustaining this civil society process, based on principles of inclusivity, respect, collaboration and openness.


Reports on previous Ulaanbaatar Process meetings

August 2019: Making a habit of dialogue – GPPAC Northeast Asia and the Ulaanbaatar Process V meet in Mongolia

December 2018: GPPAC Northeast Asia Regional Meeting 2018: Peacebuilding in Northeast Asia