Forward to a new era

Published on Tuesday, 11th of May 2021


CMI’s Chair of the Board Alexander Stubb. Photo: Riku Isohella

2020 was an extraordinary year. The world was hunkering down because of global pandemic and the paradigm shift in world politics was accelerated. A range of potentially destabilising realities are making their presence felt throughout the world, including climate change and the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic. These will continue to have a major impact in the coming decades. In addition, the global power structure is changing – the geopolitical order is shifting, with new regional powers and new alliances emerging, while the global influence of the USA is being challenged by China.

The international rules-based system and international organisations are in need of renewal. The divisions within the United Nations Security Council underline this. As tensions and distrust in global politics are increasing, the role of independent actors like CMI is even more important, on several peacemaking levels.

Three major policy issues will be on the European agenda over the coming years. Number one is the control of data. We live in the middle of a digital revolution, and it is not exactly clear how to cope with this. Number two is climate change, yet another transnational and global issue that affects all of us in one way or another. The third major policy issue is the most acute right now – health. We have experienced what happens during a pandemic, and we need to pay special attention to overall health and wellbeing. These three issues will also affect CMI’s work.

Despite the global restrictions, remote work and connecting with conflict parties through various tools, CMI was even able to grow in 2020. We participated in 10 peace processes and had close to 300 partners globally – a fact which highlights the collaborative nature of peacemaking. As our founder President Ahtisaari says: “Peace is never achieved by one actor only.” This is reflected in our strategy: peacemaking needs partners, donors and friends all over the world, and this will become even more important in the future.

In sum, CMI had a good year 2020 as the organisation also started its transformation into a foundation, went through a thorough strategy process, and sought a new director. As a result, in 2021 we will turn a page in our history. A tangible outcome of this is that CMI will in future be the CMI – Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation. The foundation will also have a fresh strategy and a new CEO, Ambassador Janne Taalas. In 2021, there is more need for the CMI and the organisation will be better prepared than ever to increase peace in the world.

This article was published in our Annual Report 2020