GPPAC Northeast Asia’s Week in Ulaanbaatar
From 25-29 November 2014 our Northeast Asian network came together in the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar. The network undertook a range of activities and engaged with a variety of local actors.
GPPAC Northeast Asia
GPPAC is a global network of civil society organizations from around the world that work on conflict prevention and peacebuilding. In the Northeast Asian part of the network, the Regional Secretariat is hosted by Peace Boat in Tokyo, and it has focal points in Beijing, Hong Kong -Special Administrative Region of China-, 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 Northeast Asian Region of GPPAC is home to over one-quarter of the world's population, and source of several potentially explosive armed conflicts.
With the Cold War era political structures remaining in East Asia, the development of regional networks founded on civil society structures has been severely inhibited in the region.The evolution of a Northeast Asian conflict prevention community is therefore a significant means in itself to promoting a culture of prevention.
Priorities for Regional Action
• Resolution of the crisis of the Korean Peninsula
• Support for an end to the political stalemate across the Taiwan Strait
• Facilitation of dialogue regarding territorial disputes, including the Senkaku/Diaoyu/Diaoyutai islands, Kuril Islands/Northern Territories, Dokdo/Takeshima and more
• Protection of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution and spreading its ideals
• Addressing the increasing militarism and nationalism in the region
• Strengthening regional efforts for denuclearisation
• Fostering historical understanding and reconciliation with regard to events and war crimes during Japan's period of imperialist aggression
• Advocacy for sustainable development and a human security approach
• Promotion and implementation of peace education
Read more on GPPAC Northeast Asia here.
On 26 November, 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. The opportunity to learn from the experience of Mongolia's 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.
On 27 and 28 November the GPPAC Northeast Asia Regional Steering Group (RSG) met. 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 update on each other's' activities.
As GPPAC approaches its ten year anniversary next year, this was 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 was also a key opportunity for GPPAC Northeast Asia to continue its process of dialogue and engagement, including with members from the DPRK. Although GPPAC has held meetings in Ulaanbaatar on two prior occasions, this was the first opportunity for representatives of the partner organization from Pyongyang to attend a GPPAC meeting in Mongolia.
Finally, the preparatory meeting of the Ulaanbaatar Process attempted to develop a shared vision for a peaceful and stable Northeast Asia, and an agenda for a future dialogue series. This covered various issues, most importantly looking at how to build confidence towards regional cooperation for stability and sustainability. It was also an opportunity for members to learn about dialogue and mediation overall, and assess its current state in the region.