Civil society engagement with the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (IDPS) post-Busan
Work is ongoing on the post Busan Building Block on Fragile States, with the next meeting of the International Dialogue Working Group on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Indicators coming up on the 6 and 7 of June in Nairobi, Kenya.*
Open Forum asked Koenraad Van Brabant of Interpeace to share his insights on the latest developments in the international process and how civil society organizations are getting involved.
About 1.5 billion people live in conflict-affected and fragile states. While being beneficiaries of some 30% of Official Development Assistance, these countries are furthest away from achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Much too often, conflict and fragility perpetuates itself in a cycle of poverty and violence, with devastating effects on the people.
Since 2008, the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (IDPS) comprised of fragile and conflict-affected countries, development partners, and international organisations, has worked to establish mutually shared objectives in countries affected by conflict and fragility.
Civil Society has been actively involved as well - Interpeace has been at the forefront by providing the platform for CSO engagement with the International Dialogue. And in the Open Forum process, Conflict and Fragility has been one of the thematic consultations feeding into the International Framework for CSO Development Effectiveness.
At the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, December 2011, participants to the International Dialogue endorsed an agreement on a new global direction for engagement with fragile states – referred to as the New Deal. Its key commitments include:
- Develop a list of indicators for each of the Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Goals (PSGs) to track progress at the global and the country level.
- Focus on new ways of engaging to support inclusive country-led and country-owned transitions out of fragility
- Build mutual trust by providing aid and managing resources more effectively and aligning these resources for results - including enhanced transparency, risk management to use country systems, national capacity building, and improved speed and predictability of funding.
International Dialogue – new work programme
Post-Busan, the IDPS will take different shape and have two main strands:
- Pilot testing the implementation of the New Deal: In 7 countries that have volunteered to do so: Afghanistan, Timor Leste, Sierra Leone, Liberia, South Sudan, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Donor governments may also volunteer to partner with some of them. It is not clear so far if and what may take place in those g7+ countries that have not come forward as pilots – but presumably there is no obstacle in principle to any relevant initiative.
- Ongoing work on the global level: This may be organised into two major ‘Working Groups’:
- Working Group 1 will a) promote the Peace and Statebuilding Goals (PSGs) in key international fora such as the UN General Assembly and the UN Peacebuilding Commission, b) promote the incorporation of PSGs in the post-2015/post-MDG development framework.
- Working Group 2 will a) Develop practical guidance for New Deal implementation – and presumably also receive feedback from the pilot country experiences, and b) develop indicators to assess country level progress towards the five Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Goals. This group has already had its first meeting on 28-29 March in Copenhagen.
Civil Society workshop, 28-30 March 2012, Nairobi, Kenya
Since the beginning of 2012, the internal organisation of ‘civil society’ engaging with these processes has also been undergoing significant developments. Following much broader interest in the International Dialogue since Busan, and recognizing that prior to the Busan High Level meeting, the engagement of ‘southern’ civil society had been mostly sporadic, an informal ‘core group’ of mostly northern civil society organisations organised a CSO gathering, which took place in Nairobi between 28-30 March.
That event was made financially possible by DFID (about 50% of the total cost) and by voluntary contributions from various civil society organisations. Out of some 130 expressions of interest received, the group managed to sponsor 32 participants from southern civil society, particularly from g7+ countries though also from some other that are conflict affected and/or fragile but not part of the g7+ (e.g. Nigeria, Zimbabwe). Several participants are engaged in regional or international CSO networks, and had also been involved with Open Forum or BetterAid processes pre-Busan.
The objectives of that event were threefold:
1. Raise or deepen the awareness about the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding, particularly among CSOs in fragile and conflict-affected states;
2. Explore how peacebuilding and statebuilding play out in a variety of fragile and conflict affected countries, and what role civil society may be playing in that regard;
3. Identify how civil society, particularly that from fragile and conflict affected states, can strengthen its role and engagement with the challenges of peacebuilding and statebuilding in specific countries and perhaps regionally/internationally, and how it can strengthen and broaden its engagement with the global IDPS process post- Busan.
This turned out to be a substantively rich but also catalytic event; one of the most important outcomes is a much stronger engagement of more southern civil society organisations.
CSO involvement going forward
The Nairobi event was followed by a consultative process that eventually identified various individuals who – with the explicit support of their organisation and members/partners- will start playing an active role in a reconfigured ‘core group’. Participants in the Nairobi workshop were also asked to disseminate information about the International Dialogue to other civil society actors in their home countries and through their wider networks, and encourage wider participation and mobilisation. Feedback events have already taken place in some countries like Burundi or Liberia.
As of 18 May, Interpeace has handed over the role of platform provider and ‘coordinator’ of civil society engagement with the International Dialogue to Cordaid and the Global Platform for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPACC). There new ‘core group’ is now constituted of following individuals with their organisational support:
- Cordaid (NL): François Lenfant; Iza Toth (secretariat for the time being)
- GPPAC (NL): Peter van Tuijl; Darrynell Rodriguez Torres (co-secretariat for the time being)
- ACP (Kenya): Paul Okumu
- Wanep (West Africa): Emanuel Bombande
- CDA (USA): Dayna Brown
- Pregesco (DRC / Central Africa): George Tshionza Mata
- FECCIWA (Togo): Tolbert Thomas Jallah
- NGO Forum Timor Leste (Timor Leste): Domingos Ati
- REPAOC (Senegal): Guy Aho Tete Benissan
- National Peace Campaign (Nepal): Shiva Hari Dahal
- NSI (Canada): Jennifer Salahub
- SaferWorld (UK): Larry Attree; Sebastian Babaud
- Interpeace (SWI/US): Graeme Simpson; Koenraad van Brabant
- Alliance for peace building (US): Melanie Cohen Greenberg
- Tiri (UK): Claire Schouten
- World Vision (US/Global): Randall Tift; James Cox
- Conciliation Resources (UK): Sophie Haspeslagh
The central focal point for communications is François Lenfant from Cordaid (who is fluent in both English and French) and who can be contacted at Francois.Lenfant cordaid.nl. He is based in the Netherlands.
For the time being Briefing Papers about the International Dialogue and all relevant documents can still be found at http://www.interpeace.org/index.php/civil-society.
Funds will now have to be raised to support ongoing CSO engagement with the International Dialogue.
* For more information and documentation about the Building Block on Fragile States and upcoming meetings, please click here.