Geneva Peace Week Meets New York: Building Trust, Building Peace

Geneva Peace Week Meets New York: Building Trust, Building Peace

During a 1.5-day event in New York to be held at IPI, peacebuilders from Geneva, New York, and from the field will engage in discussions on current and emerging challenges to building sustainable peace. As a contribution to the preparations for the Summit of the Future in 2024 and the Review of the Peacebuilding Architecture in 2025, Geneva Peace Week Meets New York will provide an opportunity for the broader community of peacebuilders to discuss and expand the proposals for a New Agenda for Peace and generate ideas for its effective implementation.

The event will draw on the deliberations and findings of the 10th Annual Geneva Peace Week that was held earlier in the month in Geneva (30 October-3 November 2023) and the ministerial meeting on the Summit of the Future held during High-Level Week in September in New York.

The overall theme for the event, “Building Trust, Building Peace” will frame an interactive exchange centered on Revitalizing Prevention. In particular, the sessions will address the workstreams of the policy brief on the New Agenda for Peace, on which Geneva has specific expertise i.e.

  1. Prevention at the global level: addressing strategic risks and geopolitical divisions (boost preventive diplomacy and mediation in an era of global divisions – and address nuclear and armament risks)
  2. Preventing conflicts and violence, and sustaining peace (strengthen the role of human rights, the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, and address climate and security risks);
  3. New approaches to peace and potential domains of conflict (i.e. prevent the weaponization of emerging domains and promote responsible innovation – with a focus on technologies, regulation requirements of AI, Cyber, LAWS, etc. and reflections on future peace operations).

The event is organized by the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform and the International Peace Institute with support from the Swiss FDFA.

Tuesday, November 28th

High-Level Opening Plenary on the theme “Building Trust for a New Agenda For Peace”

The post-Cold War period is over, and we are moving towards a new global order and a multipolar world. Over the past decade, progress in science, technology, and economic development has greatly benefitted peacebuilding work. Nevertheless, our world remains fragile and plagued by internal violence and armed conflicts of far-reaching geopolitical dimensions. They increase its fragmentation and polarization. As U.N. member states are preparing for the Summit of the Future, guided by a New Agenda for Peace, it is crucial to ask how we can restore trust between Member States in our institutions and the multilateral system, and how to counter divisive narratives.

Predictable State behavior can build a solid foundation for peace. In this regard, ensuring the application of existing common norms based on international law is critical. The meaningful inclusion of women, youth, and marginalized groups in peace processes is another way to promote sustainable peace. Trusted knowledge, based on accurate data and scientific evidence, can also contribute to better understanding and decision-making. Speakers will highlight the ways trust can be a critical enabler of sustaining peace.

There will also be a presentation of the deliberations and outcomes of Geneva Peace week by Rapporteur Dr. Adam Day (UNU).

H.E. Pascale Baeriswyl, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the UN
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, President and CEO, International Peace Institute
H.E. Ivan Šimonović, Permanent Representative of Croatia to the UN
Ambassador Nathalie Chuard, Director of DCAF

Annyssa Bellal, Executive Director of Geneva Peacebuilding Platform

Panel Discussion 1: From Proposals to Commitments – The New Agenda for Peace and the Summit of the Future

The Geneva Peacebuilding Platform through the 2023 Geneva Peace Week and the Geneva Consultations on the New Agenda for Peace generated a range of ideas and initiatives aimed at contributing to the development of the New Agenda for Peace and the preparations for the Summit of the Future. This panel will begin with a reflection on the New Agenda for Peace and an update on preparations for the Summit of the Future from the senior UN Secretariat Perspective. Speakers will share reflections on topics of particular relevance for prevention and peacebuilding in turbulent times, on which Geneva-based organizations can share firsthand experience. These topics include mediation, regional prevention efforts, governance, and national prevention strategies.

Helena Ndapewa Kuzee, Deputy Permanent Representative of Namibia to the UN
Alexandra Fong, Chief of Policy Planning at DPPA
David Lanz, Deputy Director, Policy and Mediation Support, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (Mediation)
Hiba Qasas, Executive Director, Principles for Peace Foundation

Annika Hilding Norberg, Head of Peace Operations and Peacebuilding, Geneva Center for Security Policy

Panel Discussion 2: Harnessing Technologies to Build a Better Future

New technologies, like social media, which were meant to bring the world closer together, are being weaponized to further create divisions and sow distrust. But new technologies and fresh ideas can and should be brought to the peacebuilding sector to counter the harmful effects of many of these new technologies. How can the risks linked to new technologies, including AI, be better regulated? And how can these new tools be regulated for good in peacebuilding and sustaining peace? What are the implications of different technologies on the future of peacebuilding?

Maria Victoria (Mavic) Cabrera Balleza, CEO of Global Network of Women Peacebuilders
Anne Marie Buzatu, Executive Director, Information and Communication Technology for Peace (ICT4P)
Howard Wachtel, Senior Director and Head of Policy, UN and International Organizations at Microsoft

Adam Lupel, Vice President and COO, International Peace Institute

Panel Discussion 3: Addressing Climate Change through Just Transitions

Climate impacts affect all areas of human life and ecosystems. As temperatures rise, resources will become scarce, environmental thresholds will be surpassed, and extreme weather events will become more frequent and intense. As the SG has pinpointed, climate is a threat multiplier. Climate change compounds challenges such as food and livelihood insecurity, poverty, and displacement, themselves drivers of conflict. Immediate action is needed to adapt to the wide range of adverse impacts of climate change impacts. Early warning systems, new technologies, accurate data, and evidence can help build trust, prevent possible escalations of violence, and face these risks. What lessons can be learned to create more justice and equity in the face of climate change?

H.E. Domingos Estêvao Fernandes, Deputy Permanent Representative of Mozambique to the UN
Christophe Hodder, UN Climate Security and Environmental Advisor to Somalia (Virtual)
Catherine-Lune Grayson, Head of Policy Team – Policy and Humanitarian Diplomacy Division, International Committee of the Red Cross (Virtual)

Jimena Leiva Roesch, Director of Global Initiatives and Head of IPI’s Peace, Climate, and Sustainable Development Program

Wednesday, November 29th

Panel Discussion 4: Promoting Human Rights and Inclusive Societies

The social contract between governments and their people and between groups in society is eroding. Sustainable development and human rights are cornerstones for sustainable peace, to guarantee inclusion, and protect against marginalization and discrimination. In the year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 75th anniversary, and in order to ensure a solid foundation for the NA4P, the following questions need to be looked at: How to strengthen the role of human rights in building trust towards peaceful and inclusive societies? How can human rights in their entirety – economic, social, and cultural rights as well as civil and political rights – be at the heart of prevention strategies? What role for the UN, Member States, donors, and civil society in overcoming fragmentation across sectors and pillars in the UN system?

Opening Remarks:
H.E. Leonor Zalabata Torres, Permanent Representative of Colombia to the UN

Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwon, Special Representative to the UN and Director of the ILO Office for the UN
Dr. Roshni Menon
, Acting Director of the Inequality and Exclusion Program, NYU Center on International Cooperation
Lorna Merekaje, Director of the South Sudan Democratic Engagement Monitoring and Observation Programme (SSuDEMOP) (Virtual)
Graeme Simpson, Interpeace, New York Office

Florence Foster, Quaker United Nations Office

Panel Discussion 5: AI for Peace – Harnessing the Complementarities between New York and Geneva

With its focus on humanitarian action, global governance, and disarmament, the international Geneva ecosystem is well-suited to contribute to the development of robust ethical standards for the use of AI, including in peace-related activities. These standards should ensure transparency, accountability, impartiality, and protection of human rights, while using AI’s data processing power to identify potential conflict patterns and improve both the prevention and the response. With its policy innovation capabilities, the New York ecosystem has a lot to contribute to this field. It can work towards international consensus to ensure that AI’s role in peacekeeping missions and diplomatic initiatives is both effective and ethically sound. The closing panel will examine how this collaboration may look in practice, and how the New Agenda for Peace could foster this collaboration.

Further, addressing the increasingly rapid and far-reaching developments in science and technology constitutes a challenge that the international community must meet in particular with regard to the use of AI in warfare. The elaboration of norms and regulations – whether politically or legally binding – to meet this challenge is needed. The New Agenda for Peace recommends, as a first step, that negotiations on autonomous weapons systems should result in a tangible normative outcome as swiftly as possible over the next few years. To be implemented, it will be important that the work undertaken in Geneva in the past years [within the framework of the Convention on certain Conventional Weapons] be taken forward. For its part, the resolution adopted by the 1st Committee of the UNGA for the first time underlines not only the importance of the work undertaken in Geneva but also that this issue is of importance for the entire UN membership, notably stressing the necessity of a dialogue between Geneva and New York on this issue.

H.E. Maritza Chan Valverde, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the UN
Eleonore Fournier-Tombs, Research Lead for the UN Secretariat of the Advisory Body on AI
Ambassador Amandeep Singh Gill, Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology
Peggy Hicks, Director, Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures, and Right to Development Division, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (Virtual)

Annyssa Bellal, Executive Director, Geneva Peacebuilding Platform

Closing Session

Awa Dabo, Director and Deputy Head, UN Peacebuilding Support Office
Itonde Kakoma, Interpeace President
H.E. Pascale Baeriswyl, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the UN