Empowering Civil Society in a Volatile World

Earlier this month, a CSPPS-delegation consisted of a subset of its membership and representatives from the CSPPS Secretariat convened in Berlin, Germany, for an intense and busy, but above all uplifting week.

To kick off this hectic series of events and meetings, the CSPPS Annual Conference: Empowering Civil Society in a Volatile World, was held on 4 June. In a hybrid format, CSPPS members and partners were brought together to reflect on the Platform’s work and to identify and discuss future strategic priorities for the period ahead. Featuring a variety of speakers from the CSPPS membership but also from constituency partners from the IDPS, a multitude of perspectives were put forward. 

After CSPPS’s coordinator, Peter van Sluijs looked back at  the Platform’s past two years, the floor was given to several members of the Platform to share their reflections on the current state of peace, justice and inclusive societies through a more local lens by giving an overview of their own context. Together, they discussed how actions, successes as well as challenges to achieve SDG16 are manifested across various nodes of the Platform.


‘The commitment of the Platform to amplifying the voices of grassroots organizations on the global stage is not only empowering but also essential for inclusive and sustainable peace.’ Chalachew Worku, CSPPS Ethiopian focal point [Positive Peace for Ethiopia].

Following these insights, participants dove into the tripartite partnership for peace that CSPPS is engaging in, namely the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (IDPS). It was an opportunity for partners of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (IDPS) - the g7+, the OECD-DAC International Network on Conflict and Fragility (INCAF) and the UNDP - to reflect on current prospects for the partnership to move forward as discussed also in Paris. In addition, they took part in discussions on ways in which the IDPS can address current geopolitical dynamics of peace and conflict, learning from each other and bringing new narratives to the forefront to achieve our common goal of peace.

‘IDPS and the tripartite Dialogue should also relate itself to tackling challenges, we need to include Climate Change challenges and opportunities in our efforts and offer solutions through multi stakeholder dialogues.’ Ekkehard Forberg, CSPPS German focal point [World Vision International].

Conference ended in looking at strategic priorities and thematic focus areas that also were recorded in the Berlin Statement issues at the end of the Conference [you can read the Statement here].


‘The path the platform is taking is the right one. The awareness and lobbying efforts are reaching the right ears, and this should give us more energy to continue applying pressure. After the Conference, I am filled with energy and hope, and I see many new prospects for the future of the platform and my organisation, IIDA.’ Hibo Yassin, CSPPS Somalian focal point [IIDA].

The CSPPS Annual Conference was held in Berlin, alongside the 2024 FriEnt Peacebuilding Forum organised by the Working Group on Peace and Development (FriEnt), the CSPPS focal point in Germany. In addition to the participation of members of the CSPPS delegation at the FriEnt Forum, the platform had the opportunity to host a side event focusing on the following question: ‘How to Build a New Climate for Peace’. Selected speakers from a wide range of backgrounds engaged in a Davos-style conversation about the multiple perspectives and concrete possibilities for shifting power towards an environment conducive to the collective achievement of a sustainable peace. 

Representatives of CSPPS members explained how art as well as trauma and mental health support can play an important role in peacebuilding. Sharing their knowledge and experience, they drew on their own work to demonstrate that less common methods of peacebuilding can have a significant impact.

‘I realised how important it is to introduce art into communities in order to establish peace. We need to help members of communities make connections, break down barriers and build bridges using art and sport as tools. It's important to support these programmes financially to eliminate conflict and learn to live together. Art brings joy to people who have a great need to have fun, offering a space where everyone feels free. Bringing people together also helps them to realise that in the end they all have the same problems.’ Roseline Benjamin, CSPPS Haitian focal point [IDEO].

The climate and peace nexus was also a topic of discussion. Analysed in the European context, the intersection between peacebuilding and climate action led to insightful conversations about the need to combine conflict sensitivity and climate mitigation, and to ensure that funding reaches local organisations.

BMZ’s Senior Policy Officer, also took part in the side-event organised by the Platform to further discuss partnerships between civil society actors and government stakeholders. The outcome of this conversation was a common agreement on the need to work in synergy by coming up with a consensual narrative and sharing successful stories in order to showcase the role of civil society actors.

‘During the conference, we recognised the significant potential of storytelling as a powerful tool. It is evident that we need to enhance our efforts by investing in creative mediums to amplify our reach and garner support for our mission through the impactful narratives of lives touched by our work.’ Gwendolyn Myers, co-chair of the Executive Committee of the CSPPS [Messengers of Peace].

Finally, emphasis was also placed on the need to give priority to conflict prevention rather than conflict resolution. Preventing conflict not only reduces casualties but it also saves money. Participants therefore stressed the importance of raising awareness among donors, so that more funds are allocated to conflict prevention efforts.

Partnering for peace 

As a representative of an international network of civil society organisations, the CSPPS delegation in Berlin did what it does best: networking. Strengthening multifaceted cooperation is a crucial step in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As part of its commitment to the promotion of peaceful, just and inclusive societies, CSPPS has engaged with a range of stakeholders and partners present in Berlin.

In context of the wider operationalisation of the BMZ grant agreement, the CSPPS delegation had the opportunity to meet its counterparts at the The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany. 

Part of the delegation also met with a Member of the German Parliament with the Green Party to discuss opportunities for collaboration at international level.

Additionally, CSPPS’s coordinator and co-chairs engaged in a dialogue with the Advisory Board to the Federal Government for Civilian Crisis Prevention and Peacebuilding, to share inputs from civil society actors from the Global South. 

The several meetings and events in which the CSPPS took part last week in Berlin offer good prospects for the future work of the platform and partnerships for peace.

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