Launch of Ulaanbaatar Process for Dialogue in Northeast Asia

Launch of Ulaanbaatar Process for Dialogue in Northeast Asia

The inaugural meeting of the Ulaanbaatar Process took place in Mongolia from 23-24 June, 2015. It gathered peace activists and experts from China, Japan, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea, Russia, the United States of America and Mongolia for a 2-day open and frank discussion on Northeast Asian peace and security issues and the role that civil society can play in addressing them. 
 
Initiated by GPPAC, such a civil society dialogue process was first proposed by GPPAC's Northeast Asia regional network at its inception in 2005. With the aim of supporting the creation of peace and stability throughout a Northeast Asia charged with fierce rhetoric, steeped in fear of military escalation, and lacking institutional mechanisms for peace and security, the Ulaanbaatar Process is uniquely positioned to serve as an effective regional Track 2 dialogue among civil society from throughout the region, including from all member states of the Six Party Talks. 
 
Central to the Ulaanbaatar Process is the emerging strategic role of Mongolia within the Northeast Asian context. A UN-recognized single-state Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone with friendly diplomatic relations with all Six Party Talk states and the rest of the region, Mongolia plays a significant and unique role to facilitate for this regional dialogue. The Mongolian government has supported GPPAC by hosting regional GPPAC meetings in 2007, 2010 and 2014 in Ulaanbaatar, focusing on issues including reducing nuclear threats through regional dialogue. GPPAC's Ulaanbaatar Focal Point, the NGO Blue Banner, shares the responsibilities of coordination of the process with GPPAC Northeast Asia.
 
The inaugural meeting of the Ulaanbaatar Process saw constructive debate and knowledge-sharing on issues of concern to the entire region, including the creation of a Northeast Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone, the replacement of the Korean War armistice with a permanent peace treaty and the role that the women and men of civil society can continue to play in helping achieve these goals. A major outcome of the meeting is a work-plan for the Ulaanbaatar Process in the months and years to come. 
 
The second Ulaanbaatar Process meeting is planned to be held in 2016 to deepen dialogue while seeking greater complementarity with other ongoing processes, including Track 1 or 1.5 dialogues. The civil society driven Ulaanbaatar Process seeks to offer a safe space and venue in which to reflect on how civil society can be strengthened and best contribute to the peace and security of the Northeast Asian region.