From 25-29 November 2014, the Northeast Asian network of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) came together in the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar. The network undertook a range of activities and engaged with a variety of local actors.
GPPAC is a global network of civil society organizations from around the world that work on conflict prevention and peacebuilding. Peace Boat hosts the Regional Secretariat for Northeast Asia of the network, with focal points in Beijing, Hong Kong, Kyoto, Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei, Tokyo, Ulaanbaatar and Vladivostok. The GPPAC process in Northeast Asia is a pioneering initiative, particularly in its goals to forge and strengthen cross-border ties between civil society organizations, and to improve communication channels with governments not traditionally responsive to civil society initiatives in the field of peace and security.
The first highlight of the programme was on 26 November, when the International Conference: Dimensions to create a Nuclear-Weapon Free Northeast Asia was held in the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Economic Cooperation of Mongolia. Denuclearization is an ongoing high priority for GPPAC Northeast Asia, and the opportunity to learn from the experience of Mongolia’s unique single state nuclear-weapon-free status has been a vital step in the development of the region. This discussion allowed GPPAC members and other actors to learn more about the situation of Mongolia’s nuclear-weapon-free status, and consider how it can be best utilized as a conflict prevention mechanism in the region. The Final Document from this conference is available here.
Following this, the GPPAC Northeast Asia Regional Steering Group (RSG) is meeting on November 27-28. Held annually at various locations throughout the region, this meeting provides the opportunity for GPPAC Northeast Asia RSG members to gather in person and discuss regional trends in the fields of peace, conflict prevention, security and disarmament over the past year, and exchange information and updates on each other’s’ activities.
As GPPAC approaches its ten year anniversary next year, this is a chance to reflect upon the achievements and challenges of the past decade, and look towards strategic planning for both GPPAC Northeast Asia and GPPAC globally for 2015-2020.
Meeting in Mongolia is a key opportunity for GPPAC Northeast Asia to continue its process of dialogue and engagement, including with members from the DPRK. The meeting will finally include concrete preparations for a future dialogue process led by GPPAC civil society members with the aim to work together for the shared vision for a peaceful and stable Northeast Asia. This will cover various issues, most importantly looking at how to build confidence towards regional cooperation for stability and sustainability. It will also be an opportunity for members to learn about dialogue and mediation overall, and assess its current state in the region.
For more information about GPPAC and Peace Boat’s involvement, see here.