Panel Discussions - Monday, September 23, 2013
Peace and Security in the Sahel: The Role of Civil Society
On September 23, 2013, a ministerial roundtable was held at IPI to discuss the role of civil society in facilitating peace and security in the Sahel region. One of the key insights discussed was that the countries of the Sahel, along with the international community’s support, have the primary responsibility to address the multifaceted challenges that led to the crisis in Mali and continue to weaken the region. Unless civil society is engaged, however, there will be no sustainable peace in the Sahel.
Held under the Chatham House rule of nonattribution, the roundtable brought together minsters and civil society groups from across Africa with officials from the African Union, the European Union, and the United Nations. The meeting, co-organized with the Government of Denmark, the African Union, and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, produced six main points:
1. Partnering with civil society to advance good governance, ensure security, promote development, and provide humanitarian assistance is critical for building strong, accountable states and restoring the social contract. Stabilization and a sustainable restoration of peace by the involved governments can only be achieved through systematic, continued inclusion of all groups of civil society. This is the precondition for broad public support to peace agreements—and sustainable peace.
2. Northern Mali has been freed, and the country is stabilizing, but the crisis is not over. The Preliminary Agreement signed in Ouagadougou on June 18th this year, the successful presidential election, and plans to reform the Dialogue and Reconciliation Commission provide opportunities to broaden the dialogue between the Malian government and armed groups, and to engage with civil society (in particular, women, the youth, religious and traditional leaders, and academic and research institutions), as well as the media. This participation can contribute to the development of a comprehensive plan for a sustainable exit from the crisis.
3. Countries in the region need to create protected spaces that would allow civil society groups to function effectively and better define the appropriate partnership between them and elected leaders. A meaningful integration of civic education and other forms of training will help ensure a more informed engagement of civil society leaders.
4. In their efforts to expand and restore state authority across their territory, countries in the Sahel face a balancing act between decentralization and autonomy and between the urgency of securing their territories and the equally pressing necessity of providing basic social services to the population. Active participation of civil society can contribute to achieving the right balance.
5. Civil society actors that organize their activities around the republican principles of democracy, human rights, and good governance, rather than around identity or ideology, are much needed. Civil society groups committed to the principles of accountability and transparency are more likely to make meaningful and credible contributions across the region. The international community can help by providing civil society with adequate resources and improving their capacity.
6. To maintain focus over the long term, Mali should consider entering into a (New Deal) compact among the state, citizens, and international partners that would ensure all the energy and resources already mobilized remain channeled in the right direction.
The Global Observatory
As Russia and the West Joust, Ukraine Risks Deeper Divisions and More Violence
The longer this stand-off continues, the greater the risk that divisions will harden into permanent fault-lines and doom Ukraine to a bitter and potentially violent disintegration.
Key Global Events to Watch in April
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.
2014 Top 10 Issues to Watch in Peace & Security: The Global Arena
A list of ten key issues to watch that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2014, compiled by IPI's Francesco Mancini.
The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.
April 05, 2014
IPI Opens Middle East Regional Office
International Peace Institute President Terje Rød-Larsen inaugurated IPI’s new Middle East Regional Office with a recognition of the area’s critical importance to the world and the rapid political changes underway in the countries of the region, and he asserted that IPI has an “important role” to play there.
April 03, 2014
In Horn of Africa, Links Between Disaster, Conflict, and Displacement
What are the links between climate change, conflict, and the displacement of people? A panel of experts discussed this nexus and its implications in the Horn of Africa at the International Peace Institute on April 3rd in an event cosponsored by the Nansen Initiative.
March 26, 2014
Derek Plumbly on Lebanese Resilience Amid Rising Challenges
Lebanon has exceeded expectations in dealing with the continuing fallout from the crisis in neighboring Syria, said Derek Plumbly, United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, on March 26th. Speaking at the International Peace Institute, Mr. Plumbly praised the Lebanese people for “actually sustaining a measure of stability in their country.”