CMI’s 2020 Annual Report: Providing a lead in bringing together conflict parties virtually

Published on Tuesday, 4th of May 2021

Throughout 2020, CMI managed to adapt to the limitations imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic and continue its work successfully. CMI provided leadership both in terms of finding digital solutions in its work and by creating safe physical environments to bring together conflict parties. As illustrated by our Annual Report 2020, CMI made 28 tangible contributions to peace worldwide, resulting in better peace processes, better peacemakers and better ways of building peace.

As with all other sectors, 2020 saw peace mediation shift into the virtual sphere. Convening conflict parties virtually is now a given for the future. Virtual meetings are generally cost-effective, better for the environment and offer more scope for broader interaction.

Virtual spaces will not of course wholly replace but rather complement usual practice in convening parties to conflicts. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions,  in-person missions and face-to-face meetings still took place at the behest of CMI’s partners and stakeholders where they were seen as crucial to operational success.

CMI provided leadership both in terms of seeking digital solutions and by creating safe physical environments to convene conflict parties. CMI-supported dialogue platforms backed local action on mitigating the impacts of Covid-19 pandemic on peace processes. CMI developed and conducted participatory virtual dialogues and shared these practices with key peacemaking actors. CMI also provided safe physical spaces for dialogue for conflict stakeholders to complement the virtual platforms.

“The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are increasing insecurity, tensions, and conflict across the globe,” says Alexander Stubb, CMI’s chairman of the board. “There’s an urgent need to step up efforts to build peace. Despite difficult circumstances, CMI has continued to assist conflict parties successfully through virtual means and selected physical meetings to bring about positive change.”

Dividends of long-term commitment

The value of CMI’s long-term commitment and partnerships, trust and deep understanding of national and regional contexts became particularly evident 2020. CMI made 28 palpable contributions to peace, in places such as Ukraine, Palestine, Libya and the Red Sea region. Its work generated better peace processes, better peacemakers and better ways of building peace. These inputs share three characteristics:

1) Support to long-term political transition processes

In Ukraine, CMI’s support for public forums for peace process related dialogue and policy development has received much encouraging feedback from a range of stakeholders. In Libya, CMI’s long term support to the ability of political parties and movements to organise is gaining increasing traction as the path towards holding elections is becoming more definite.

2) Strengthening regional peacemaking

In Eurasia, CMI is contributing solidly to practice of peacemaking in the OSCE region through several support mechanisms and links between the actors from conflict-affected countries and regions, and with broader peacemaking system around EU and OSCE. In Africa, CMI’s input is generally linked to overall efforts of supporting the African Peace and Security Architecture. In the Middle East, we have increasingly started to link national level processes to key players influencing peacemaking in the region.

3) Providing soft approaches to debate global security policy

CMI has contributed through its unique angle to fostering discussions on security policy, for instance, in the European framework and in the Red Sea region. Leveraging of CMI’s role as an informal actor, and convening informal and often discreet discussions, has provided notable added value. Similarly, CMI’s use of key design elements building on its expertise – such as a focus on process design, inclusion and addressing asymmetries – have been seen as a valuable addition to the search for comprehensive solutions to complex challenges.