10/02/2021 |

PyeongChang Peace Forum Briefing

On February 8, GCOMS participated in Parallel Session Nº10 of the PyeongChang Peace Forum 2021 ‘Global Civic Agenda on Peace & SDGs 2021’ (English/Korean), where Quique Sánchez, in representation of the International Peace Bureau and GCOMS, presented their agenda for 2021.

Mr Anselmo Lee as moderator presented his conference as a global civic agenda for 2021. He introduced the different speaker of the session.

The first speaker: Gargeya Telakapalli, programme coordinator of people’s health movement, opened his presentation was about “defending multilateralism: World Health Organization and the Covid19 Pandemic. It was important for him to remind us what is the World Health Organization and his purpose. In context of pandemic, it is: “to act as the directing and co-ordinating authority on international health work”. More precisely providing technical help to countries on the science of prevention, diagnosis, treatment including health system preparedness / response.

This pandemic revealed few important things: Our public health system in general was not strong enough. Secondly, every country is facing the pandemic differently. According to an estimation, poorest countries in the world will have access to vaccines around 2022 or 2023.

After this brieve introduction, Mr Lee gave the floor to several actors of the civil society.

Watch the conference on YouTube

Quique Sánchez Ochoa, Officer and researcher for Centre Delás for Peace Studies. As coordinator of the GCOMS (Global Campaign on Military Spending), he decided to speak about military spending and human security. The main goal of the campaign is to bring attention to the public of the large amount of money spent every year by governments (World spending in 2018: 1.82$ trillion). The second step is to open a discussion on how this money could be used in a better way. By doing so, national civil society will maybe affect decision-making and ask for a reallocation of founds. There is different area where this money could be used:

  • Human security-oriented spending: people-centred; economic, food, health, environmental, personal, cultural and political uncertainty
  • Social safety net spending; SDGs; universal public services, healthcare, education, housing, renewable energies…
  • Economic and environmental cooperation;
  • Development aid and humanitarian relief;
  • Diplomacy, transparency, monitoring, resort to legal arbitration, mediation, multilateral organizations, demobilization, disarmament efforts, conflict prevention and transformation.

Mr Sánchez concluded his presentation by inviting everyone to join the Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS: April 12 – May 9). Later this year, he reminds us as well the important World Peace Congress taking place in Barcelona from 15 to 17 of October.

Mr Anselmo Lee as moderator underlined that G20 countries are the biggest exporters and importers of weapons. The question is: How can you engaged these countries?

Mr Riccardo Morro representing Gcap and as C20 Sherpa was in charge to give an answer. C20 is a civil society organisation playing the role of mirror to the G20. This year and last year have been too relevant because of the outbreak of the pandemic. This pandemic revealed inequalities across the world. According to Mr Morro this pandemic can in one hand facilitate the growing of solidarity but it can also facilitate the emergence of nationalism. C20 is even more important during this difficult time. They organised the Kick Off meeting and shared some priorities for the next few years:

  1. Finance: G20 got a financial responsibility to facilitate the widening of a fiscal space for all countries and particularly for countries in the global south.
  2. Health: we need public effort to threaten public health system, in order to consider for example vaccines as global public good.
  3. Climate and planet: in November Cop26 will take place in Glasgow. This is another opportunity to gather the member of G20.
  4. Human rights: in particular the 2030 agenda. G20 have the opportunity to “shape the way to implement the agenda in comprehensive way.”
  5. Strong education towards citizenship, through 3 poles: digitalization, anti-corruption, gender issues.

Mr Riccardo Morro concluded by saying that C20 is a platform of discussion where civil society can express herself and therefore shared his reflexion with G20’s annual meeting.

Marianna Belalba Barreto from CIVICUS organization has followed the discussion. CIVICUS is an organization who wants to strengthening citizen action and civil society around the world. During her presentation Mrs Belalba Barreto introduced us to CIVICUS monitor. It is a tool created by CIVICUS and civil society organizations who aim to track civil spaces in real timing. CIVICUS annual report show us that civil spaces around the world continues to deteriorate. According to the data collected, only 3,4% of the population live in a country where there is a healthy civil space!

She finally reminded us how important it is to develop and create spaces as GCOMS or C20 where civil society can express herself and stand for their voices.

Oli Henman as global coordinator for Action for sustainable development took the lead of the presentation. No need to recall the 17 sustainable goals for 2030 here. Mr Henman underlined the importance of mobilization in order “to bring citizens and civil society together to inspire and to commit to action that empower all peoples for a more just and sustainable world, especially those who have been marginalised.” The importance of civil society is crucial to understand where the gap is and to progress to reach these 17 goals. Oli Henman decided to close his presentation by putting to the agenda the key moment of this year 2021:

  • G7 in June
  • Week of Action in September
  • G20 in October
  • Cop26 in November

As an answer to the latest presentation, Yasmina Gourchane member of the coalition for the UN We Need (C4UNWN). She insisted on the fact that “peaceful and inclusive civil society are keys for sustainable development”. Mrs Gourchane as a defender of civil society movement, introduced us to the multilateral collaboration hubs. The aim of these hubs is to provide a space for collaboration in order to establish new reformed proposals to strengthen the UN system.

Finally, Aishwarya Machani as the convenor of the young Thinkers track opened her presentation by using Antonio Guterres quote: “Covid 19 is not only a wake-up call, it is a dress rehearsal for the world of challenges to come”. Aishwarya Machani explained us why young generation should take part of the discussion. She brought three guiding principles: Meaningfully engage with young people, work closely with existing initiatives and finally not consider it as “just another consultation”. According to Mrs Machani, “our generation is even more concerned”. Through this process, young people should be recognised and supported as changemakers and in the future it should brink a new common agenda for the next and future generation.

Mr Anselmo Lee as moderator choose to end this session by a symbolic action. He asked everyone to join his fingers and raised them against dictatorship and for the people in Myanmar.

You can watch the full conference here.