Reports on CD4Peace Participation in Geneva Peace Week 2021

As Cultural Diversity and Sustainable Development for Peace (CD4Peace) we were honored to submit a video for the Digital Series: "Creating a Climate for Collaboration" for the Geneva Peace Week 2021. The video focused on the issue of climate refugees from a legal, cultural and social standpoint, and included interviews with Guillaume Charron, the Geneva Director for Independent Diplomat, who is a specialist in migration and Patrick Taran, who is a specialist in migration, human rights and governance. You can watch our contribution on the Youtube channel of the Geneva Peace Week below :

Additionally, members of CD4Peace actively participated in a series of GPW 2021 workshops, all relating to the work and mission of CD4Peace. In the following document, reports on the workshops in which members of CD4Peace participated, are available. 


Report drafted by Amine Meharzi on November 1st, 2021.

The seminar started by emphasizing that peace processes had to be rethought as the current international system is not fit for purpose: Stakeholders in conflicts are stuck in negotiation, local efforts are not connected to other levels, authoritarian regimes have returned while climate change exacerbates the situation.

Ms. Caryn Dasah explained the role of women in the peacebuilding process within Cameroon. Women were subjected to different forms of threats such as kidnappings, gender-based violence or displacements. They came together to speak about peace-related issues. Even though women were active on various topics and possessed expertise, they were still excluded from the peace-building process. However within the women's struggle there were challenges: They shared different ideologies and agendas hindering solidarity building.

Ms. Stephanie Williams acted as a SRSG (UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General) in the peacebuilding process of Libya that was at one side highly internationalized but at the same time highly localized. The UN defined an approach between normativity and reality. She explained that the UN mediation tried to put the interests of Libyans before those of other countries. Moreover, the UN has tried to favour the demands of the average Libyan at the expense of Libya's military and elites. The UN highly relied on the NGOs in the ground who possessed expertise on Libya. 200 Libyan women were invited to an online discussion to share their ideas and expertise.

Mr. Hamza Lawal successfully created grassroots platforms in over 40 African countries such as the Nigerian initiative Follow The Money. This campaign gave a voice to the citizens since the government did not consider the feedback of the most marginalized. His team created platforms where public officials and leaders of the local communities met, discussed, addressed grievances, and shared thoughts. Men, women, the youth, religious and traditional leaders, or key influencers could attend those meetings. This project was a success in Nigeria, Cameroon and Kenya.

Mr. Youssef Mahmoud was a UN Under-Secretary-General and deployed in different countries. He observed two points:

1. Peace agreements sacrificed durable peace at the expense of stability. 2. Local people were not integrated enough in the peace processes.

International actors had to change their attitude and question their assumptions on peace. Peace had to be seen as an internal and not an external phenomenon. Peace was always arriving and should be constantly nurtured. Marginalized groups, such as youth and women, should be involved in decision-making. Global problems could not be resolved with orthodox thinking based on democracy and sustainability. Decision-makers should not jump into examples and import solutions that functioned elsewhere. Peace was a constant process which grew and had setbacks. Peacebuilders had to look at what works and not on what went wrong. Peace will not come overnight. Considering the elites' interests will give a quick solution that builds short-term stability. However, it will not help to have long-lasting peace.

CD4PEACE – GENEVA PEACE WEEK - Integrating Gender on Peacebuilding: How are we doing and what works? (1st of November 2021)

Sources on the speakers can be found here

Report drafted by Sinan Uyan on November 4th, 2021.

This dialogue was opened by the opening remarks of Carole Frampton-de Tscharner, Organisational Development Lead of the PeaceNexus Foundation. She started with greetings and explained the background behind the idea of this discussion.

Then the moderator Sofia Close, Head of Gender and Peacebuilding, Conciliation Resources presented the key findings of the "Integrating gender in the DNA of peacebuilding" report.

1. Gender integration exists along a spectrum: When integrating gender into peacebuilding, organisations are situated across a spectrum ranging from gender discriminatory to gender-transformative approaches. An organisation should set its level of ambition for gender integration and note that at any point in time, governance, operational and programming parts of an organisation may sit at different parts of the spectrum.

2. Balance the technical with the Political: Integrating gender into peacebuilding is not a technical exercise. It is also inherently political, as the focus is on shifting power dynamics to ensure greater inclusion and gender equality. Both technical and political dimensions of change are important and mutually reinforcing.

3. Leadership and organisation-wide commitment are the cornerstones for change: Organisational commitment is demonstrated by technical support and incentives for gender integration to staff at all levels, ensuring adequate resourcing, and outlining a deliberate strategy for gender integration – one that is incorporated into the overall organisation strategy. Staff have an important role in pushing the gender agenda forward in practice.

4. There are multiple entry points for embedding gender integration: Drivers of change are both internal and external, and include leveraging donor push, demonstrating success through concrete examples, and seizing opportunities created by external events or internal organisational change processes.

5. Align support and tools across the programming cycle: Gendered conflict analysis and monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) are important to create space for reflection on how peacebuilding interventions include gender, and learning should be integrated across the programming cycle.

After those key findings Carole Frampton-de Tscharner presented again the Gender Integration Spectrum

Gender-discriminatory approaches are exclusionary and prejudiced actions based on perceptions that women, sexual and gender minorities and men are not equal.

Gender-unaware approaches do not see gender as a significant factor in interactions between people or as a driver of violence or conflict. There is a failure to recognise that the roles and responsibilities of women, men, and sexual and gender minorities are ascribed to, or imposed upon, them in specific social, cultural, economic and political contexts.

Do No Harm approaches recognise that peacebuilding efforts are not neutral. Actions affect the gender dynamics in how an organisation is working, either for better or for worse. There is an obligation to pay attention to these dynamics to ensure gender inequalities are not unintentionally exacerbated.

Gender-sensitive approachesidentify the specific needs of or issues affecting men, women, and sexual and gender minorities in a specific context and account for these when designing and implementing interventions in order to avoid reinforcing norms and practices that cause and fuel gender inequality.

Gender-responsive approaches reflect an understanding of gender norms, roles and inequalities when analysing the causes, actors, impacts and dynamics of a conflict and take these into account when designing and implementing interventions.

Gender-transformative approaches are intersectional, and challenge and address the underlying structural causes and factors of gender inequality, such as norms and power relations, and explicitly aims for gender equality.

This spectrum of gender integration is a tool that can help to map out where an organisation's governance, operational and programmatic practices are currently situated and fix objectives for the longer term.

For more in depth information about those findings, you can consult the full report by clicking the link here.

After this presentation participants shared their own experiences inside their organisation:

• Sabrina Quamber, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue

• Katharina Jautz, Berghof Foundation

• Diana Trimino, Safer World

• Charlotte Onslow, International Alert

In those presentations they focused on the Gender integration in practice where they expressed that gender integration:

• Was driven through bottom-up demand and top-down encouragement • Require dedicated capacity and resources

• Needs tailored and context specific interventions to be effective

• Needs internal and external factors to push for gender integration inside the organisation: advocates inside and donors, peers pushing the gender integration agenda • Crucial role of feminist leaders and gender champions

• Key to have an organisational commitment to gender from the top

• Providing sustained accompaniment to and engagement with the teams • Peace rooted in gender equality now an objective in new strategy (Saferworld, Diana Trimino)

• Add gender analysis in conflict analysis toolkits and promote intersectional approach

• Make an institutional Gender Mainstreaming review, findings on intersectionality and power relations across the organization lead to a gender Mainstreaming Action Plan (Charlotte Onslow, International Alert)


Report drafted by Amine Meharzi on November 3rd, 2021.

Ms. Annika Erickson-Pearson, Head of Community Management in the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform, began the seminar by sharing the topics of the session: The promotion of interinstitutional work and highlighting mainstream issues of sustainability, climate security and environmental peacebuilding.

Mr. Oliver Brown, Associate Fellow in the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, presented the essence of the future White Paper. The goal was to create a draft that encompassed different sectors and that aimed to achieve environmental peace. It should show the different views and perspectives on how to deal with future issues. Policymakers were invited to read the final 20 to 50 pages summarizing the different ideas of the NGOs and experts.

Discussion within the Breakout rooms

The moderator, Mr. Peter Wetherbee led the discussions and posed questions in the plenum. 1) How should environmental peacebuilding evolve in the next five years?

• Creation of grass root movements in locations of environmental conflicts. • Favoring community-based governance for the environment, from extraction to resource allocation

• Achieving a common agenda across all peacebuilding entities

• Achieving the Ecocide recognition under the Rome Statute in order to restore degraded environments and provide livelihoods for local communities.

• Creation of an international court for the environment, nature, and sentient beings similar to the ICC in order to hold governments accountable for their pollution. Fines should be set at a certain level so that companies no longer engage in such practices. Such a mechanism could refrain the asymmetry and restore accountability, trust, and reconciliation.

• Achieving coordination between private companies, governments and individual producers to build a shared vision about sustainable practices.

• Engaging in a multi-disciplinary approach that mediates environmental processes. 2)What should local communities have in five years?

• Local ownership of the peace for local communities: Local people should become decision-makers and actors of their "own peace" once that stability returns. • Information: Local communities should be able to share best practices and ideas and collaborate on environmental peace.

• Awareness of their indigenous rights such as ownership rights.

Finally, Ms. Annika Erickson-Pearson concluded by stating that there were external as well as internal issues that blocked the implementation and conversation on environmental peacebuilding. Restoring accountability and empowering local communities were the most important issues to focus on.

CD4PEACE – GENEVA PEACE WEEK 2021 REPORT Women Peacebuilders: Achieving Last Peace: Reflections on the Last Year (3rd of November 2021)

Sources on the speakers can be found here.

Report drafted by Daniel Zakaria.

The event, opened by Ms. Ariel Eckblad, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department, aimed to initiate a macro evaluation of last year's situation on the results achieved by women in peacebuilding activities.

Various aspects were taken into consideration by Ms. Fauziya Abdi Ali, President of Women in International Security (WIIS) and Horn of Africa (HoA), and Benjamin Moeling, from the U.S. permanent mission in Geneva, such as providing women with technical support, training, and workshops linked to the gender equality question. Nonetheless, it was mentioned that the social distance generated by the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the situation. Thus, civil society must collaborate by implementing support for the education system and by dragging the attention to possible constructive actions to include women in effective collaborations.

Along with the achievement of the objectives scheduled at the beginning of the current year, Ms. Rajaa Altalli, Co-founder of the Center for Civil Society and Democracy (CCSD), stated the need to prioritize and address the sorrows that marginalized communities are constantly facing. Accordingly, despite the great number of challenges left by the pandemic, social inclusion must be widely engaged. Nonetheless, women have been affected in several fields. As an example, throughout South America as well as many other countries, domestic violence has drastically increased due to the long lockdowns. It was firmly expressed the necessity to find common targets and ensure the participation of women in every professional discussion.

It becomes, therefore, essential for everyone to learn how to collaborate, implement our sustainable ideas, and to plant seeds for effective peacebuilding processes. This session featured diverse on-the-ground voices to illustrate advances and challenges over the last year and identify opportunities.


Sources on the speakers can be found here

Report drafted by Amine Meharzi on November 4th, 2021.

Ms. Francesca Bosco, collaborator in the Cyber Peace Institute, opened the meeting. She stated that the nature of conflict evolved and so the peace mediation area has become a high-tech field. Peace mediators nowadays have to use digital tools such as social media and rely on artificial intelligence. However, the use of artificial intelligence might have societal impacts on individuals.

Mr. Siddhartha Singh, data scientist for the Cyber Peace Institute, explained artificial intelligence and machine learning. Artificial intelligence on one hand is the science to make machines solve problems that could initially only be solved by humans. On the other hand, machine learning is a subfield of artificial intelligence and uses data to solve specific tasks such as fraud detection. However, these new technologies can be sensitive in peace mediation as human equity, dignity and security could be in danger. It is important to use only the advantages of artificial intelligence, such as knowledge identification or data mining. However, peace

mediators must deal with the decision-making because sensitive issues are at stake. Mr. Singh stressed the importance of including private companies as stakeholders during conflicts. Wide inclusivity may help achieve peace-finding. Finally, he specified that the general public had to be taught on cyber security and artificial intelligence to contribute to peacebuilding and fighting the asymmetries.

Ms. Katja Ahlfors, Director at the Centre for Peace Mediation at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, shared the evolution of peace mediation. The whole field of conflicts changed because non-state actors are involved in contemporary conflicts. They took over the place of states in conflicts. Secondly, new tools of war such as drones and robots shape today's conflicts. Thirdly, technology evolved at high-speed and affected society while the mentality of people changed slowly. These changes divided society as a certain part of the population questioned technological changes. Therefore, Ms. Ahlfors stressed the importance of focusing on trust building with the new technologies. In order to minimize risks and to achieve cyber peace, Ms. Ahlfors emphasized the need for cooperation between all actors, especially with private companies.

Mr. Jonathan Harlander, Senior Project Manager, stated that technology has transformed highly. Due to the pandemic, the world of work has had major changes in a positive and negative sense. Artificial intelligence will be integrated in future processes. Mr. Harlander stressed the importance of specifying the use of artificial intelligence as a tool. It should be used in order to further cooperation between private actors and mediators, as it had already been done in Yemen. Mr. Harlander stated that new technology will face challenges in the future in terms of peace-building. For instance, actors with low or no connectivity will have no access to the hardware with data and, therefore, will be excluded from new technology. Mr. Harlander stressed the importance of using new technology to help vulnerable people and not put them more at risk. Data privacy is highly important in his eyes. For instance, people must be kept anonymous when formulating a controversial statement. Finally, Mr. Harlander stated that besides trust-building, the audience had to be educated on artificial intelligence and its impacts. Additionally, organized forums and meetings may help sensibilize the masses on cyber security and artificial intelligence.

CD4PEACE – GENEVA PEACE WEEK REPORT - Construire la paix grâce à une meilleure gouvernance de la terre en Afrique de l'Ouest. Creating a climate for collaboration ways forward for environment, climate change, and peace (4th of November, 2021).

Sources on the speakers can be found here

Report drafted by Sinan Uyan on November 4th, 2021.

This discussion addresses the theme of land governance. In semi-arid sub-Saharan Africa, environmental degradation is a major threat to peace and security. The availability of fertile land, water, and pasture is threatened by increasing population and climate change. Added to this is the competition involving armed groups challenging the authority of states in this region.

In today's discussion, three panelists from West Africa and a moderator will reflect on their personal experiences in building a more sustainable and secure future for rural communities and the states themselves.

• Olivia Lazard, Environmental peacemaking and mediation expert, Visiting Researcher at Carnegie Europe, moderator

• Alexis Kaboré, teacher-researcher at the Department of Sociology of the University Pr. Joseph Ki-Zerbo of Ouagadougou, panelist

• Safouratou Moussa Kane, Secretary for the promotion of the Niger branch of the Network of Pastoralist Organizations, panelist

• Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim, Senior Consultant Analyst Sahel, panelist

The discussion began with Safouratou Moussa Kane, who explained that in Niger, in the different regions where she has worked, there is a problem related to land ownership and the sharing of land among different communities. Customary law is often preferred to national law. This poses problems with people competing for the ownership of agricultural land, which is becoming increasingly scarce due to climate change. Nomadic communities that depend on this land to raise their livestock are also in dispute with the local community that used to share the land under customary law.

Alexis Kaboré, explains that in Burkina Faso, there is also this problem related to the application of customary law. In some regions of the country, the land registry does not exist, so landowners fight and struggle to obtain papers proving ownership of the land.

Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim explains that the creation of nature reserves by the state has driven out populations who lived off the natural resources available on these lands, in favor of tourists who pay to hunt. These reserves have become a favorite place for terrorist factions that defy the government. The fact that these groups have control over these areas means that some of the people driven off their land are joining the ranks of these armed groups in order to reclaim their land, thus increasing instability in the region.

CD4PEACE – REPORT OF THE GENEVA PEACE WEEK 2021 – Monitoring and countering Disinformation for Peacebuilding: tools, methodologies, and case studies (4th of November 2021)

Sources on the speakers can be found here.

Report drafted by Marc Enzo Belligoi on November 4th, 2021.

The first speaker was Mr. Brice Ndangoui, Editor in Chief of the Ndeke Luka Radio Station, located in the Central African Republic, which focuses on countering disinformation and providing a reliable source of information in African countries. Mr. Ndangoui stressed the threat which journalists face in many African countries as well as the increase of disinformation (which worsens the stability and security of many countries), challenges for which the journalists are not well prepared to face. Therefore, as Mr. Ndangoui detailed, radio Ndeke Luka works on providing journalists with tools to combat disinformation and training on how to fact-check information, as well as works on partnering with civil society, artists, influencers, etc., in order to increase awareness on misinformation.

Mr. Sacha Meuter, Head of Policy and Research at the Foundation Hirondelle, spoke on understanding the information needs of marginalized audiences and on the need to strengthen a bottom-up process of information. In this regard, Mr. Meuter detailed a research project implemented in Burkina Faso, which the Foundation Hirondelle later replicated in other African countries, in which they created a network of information with Internally Displaced People in rural communities. The network was created by providing access and training to the WhatsApp platform, and then to encourage the own IDPs to send information to local journalists who, in turn, verify and relay the information to radio stations.

Mr. Alex Krasodomski-Jones, Director of the Center for the Analysis of Social Media, began his statement by stressing the rise of misinformation worldwide and the need to face the challenge. Mr. Krasodomski spoke on the key role that technology (such as data collection, data classification, research dashboards, etc.) can play in order to tackle misinformation, however, he stated that such technologies need to be accompanied by In-Country Experts (such as journalist, civil society, and Academia) in order to understand the local concerns and the specific issues in need to be faced.

Ms. Caroline Elliot, Senior Projects Manager at BBC Media Action in Zambia, spoke on the effects of misinformation in Zambia, as well as the projects that are being implemented to tackle misinformation in the country. Ms. Elliot detailed their efforts on establishing and training a network of 80 media professionals across the country to help identify misinformation in their communities, as well as training them by providing tools on how to fact-check information. Additionally, they partnered with seven radio stations and a TV station in order to ensure that the information they provide is properly verified and does not spread misinformation.

Ms. Mona Duale, Senior Program Advisor for Interpeace in Somalia, stated that misinformation is widespread in Somalia and that the majority of journalists lack the education and professionalism to face the challenge. According to Ms. Duale, the literacy level in society in regard to misinformation is limited and the rise of social media has exacerbated the spread of misinformation, especially among youth, which endanger the peacebuilding programs and initiatives by destabilizing the country. Finally, Ms. Duale spoke on the efforts of Interpeace to counter misinformation, such as the training of journalists, influencers, artists, etc., as well as engaging the diaspora into the peacebuilding efforts.

CD4PEACE – REPORT OF THE GENEVA PEACE WEEK 2021 – Leadership for Peace – Operationalizing the findings and recommendations of the Geneva Peace Week 2021 (5th of November 2021)

Sources on the speakers can be found here.

Report drafted by Marc Enzo Belligoi on November 5th, 2021.

Ms. Annika Hilding Norberg, Head of Peace Operations and Peacebuilding of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, opened the seminar by stating that the objective was to discuss which sort of leadership is required to implement and promote the idea presented throughout the Geneva Peace Week.

The first speaker was Mr. Mike Hardy, Professor of Intercultural Relations at Coventry University, who began his statement by stating that "there is no better time than now to focus on leadership" and that the "biggest threat to human security is our inability to face the challenges and threats that we face". Mr. Hardy also spoke on how state leaders, who are responsible for helping us, are blind to many of our cultural and societal needs and contexts.

Ms. Gwendolyn S. Myers, Founder & Executive Director of Messengers for Peace in Liberia, spoke on the role of youth and NGOs on peace operations and mediation programs. Ms. Myers emphasized that the peacebuilding programs exist, however there is a lack of will by governments and the private sector to execute them. Therefore, there is the need for young people, especially women, to engage with such peace programs and promote them.

Following the intervention by Ms. Myers, the seminar was divided into four groups, each discussing a different topic, and afterwards, all the groups came together to summarize what they had discussed.

Group 1. Creating a climate for collaboration: There is the need for inclusion not only at a community level but also at global level, as well as the need to make sure that information and best practices are shared. Additionally, youth and young leadership must be present, that includes encouraging youth, promoting education, and dealing with issues relating to mental health, which is an important topic for youth.

Group 2. Moving beyond securitization: promote leadership efforts and practices which put people at the center, which are guided by empathy, and which do not shut down conversation. Also, the need to define and inform what the term securitization really means.

Group 3. Harnessing the digital sphere for peace: the group argued that new technologies are a two-edged sword and, therefore, must be used responsibly. Also, they talked about the importance of the technological literacy of our leaders.

Group 4. Confronting inequalities and advancing inclusion, peace and SDG 16: finally, the fourth group talked on the importance of engaging with youth and with locally lead organizations, promoting a bottom-up approach. Also, the need to create spaces where mental health can be talked about as well as promote human lead leadership.


Cultural Diversity and Sustainable Development for Peace