This first e-discussion is now concluded, but contributions can still be made (without moderation) until the end of June. You can also use the main Southern Voice & UNDP group page to share new thoughts and ideas with all group members. We hope you will be able to contribute to the other e-discussions happening in this group – currently on accountability, rule of law and human rights (until 31 May).
Peace and Security
The past year witnessed an uptick in conflict and violence globally. More specifically, experts are cautioning against political violence during the pandemic. This is especially true in countries where health challenges intersect with wars or unstable political conditions that could lead to new conflicts or exacerbate existing ones.
Reports from those on the front lines have shown that all types of violence against women and children, and particularly domestic violence, have intensified. More dangerously, access to information and support services pertaining to violence has been further curtailed due to pandemic restrictions. Resources have often been diverted to relief efforts.
There has also been an increase in challenges to democracy and democratic institutions. For example, the militarisation of the COVID-19 management and an increasing trend towards authoritarian governance can have long-lasting consequences. It can lead to abuses of power, the silencing of dissent and an undermining of systems of accountability. Similarly, ongoing processes of peace and transition have been slowed down or halted. Here, too, the energy and focus of states and non-state actors have been diverted to the pandemic relief and recovery efforts.
In this discussion, we invite you to share your reflections on how the pandemic has impacted state-sponsored and community-level conflicts, household and gender-based violence, and the increasing online violence, and what is needed to recover and get back on track to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. There might be multiple themes emerging from the discussion, and many different trends and counter-trends, depending on specific contexts and political realities. However, we hope this forum can help provide a space to articulate the range of experiences that people are facing and outline a way forward.
Below are a few questions to help frame the discussion:
- What has been the impact of the pandemic in fragile and conflict-affected contexts? Have there been any gains because of the disruption caused by the pandemic? How has it impacted peace processes, for example? What needs to be done to prevent further backsliding in the progress towards more peaceful societies?
- Widening inequalities, increasing poverty and limited access to public services have frayed social cohesion and fuelled political grievances and protests in many contexts. What is needed to rebuild trust and the social contract? How can social cohesion be strengthened?
- The pandemic has led to an increase in the use of technology, which has brought both positive impacts in society but also boosted tools for political polarization, instigating violence and online abuse. What are some ways that technology and digitization can be harnessed to further peace and security? What are some of the risks of this process, and what safeguards need to be put in place?
- What are the specific implications for gender, youth and the compromise to ‘leave no one behind’?
The moderators for the e-discussion will be:
- Natasha Palansuriya, CEPA Sri Lanka
- Monica Rijal, UNDP Crisis Bureau
- Ulrika Johansson, UNDP Oslo Governance Centre
We look forward to a fruitful e-discussion with you!
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