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Annual Meeting

2012 Annual Meeting of the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform


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Operationalizing Resilience in Peacebuilding Contexts:
Approaches, Lessons, Action Points

The Annual Meeting 2012 explores the operational experience to achieve higher levels of resilience of communities and institutions, and asks about the action points necessary to strengthen such efforts in peacebuilding contexts. This theme connects the wide use of the ‘resilience’ concept in various policy communities, but also critically examines its applicability to peacebuilding contexts. Approaches to resilience can vary significantly and range from a narrow understanding of the concept as the ability to return to an original form or state, to a broader understanding that highlights the adaptive and transformative capacities of a system in the face of crises or chronic stresses. For peacebuilding, the resilience concept implies a certain tension between its static and transformative connotations, as illustrated by the struggles between a resilient political order, and the social forces that want to change it.

The Annual Meeting acknowledges the wide normative agreement that the resilience of communities and societies is desirable, but recognizes that there is a need for a better cross sectorial and institutional exchange of operational experience. The Annual Meeting, therefore, draws together the best practice of different actors, while elaborating the particularities of strengthening resilience in peacebuilding contexts. These contexts can be marked by the stresses of post-conflict environments, high-levels of armed violence, and multiple political processes that address imminent tension or work towards long term systemic transformations.

The expected outcome of the Annual Meeting is to:

  • Draw together the operational experience from different sectors and institutions to achieve higher levels of resilience of communities and institutions;
  • Gain a better understanding of the applicability of the resilience concept in peacebuilding contexts; and
  • Identify a series of action points to strengthen resilience in peacebuilding contexts.

The Annual Meeting speaks directly to a variety of policy communities that have adopted ‘resilience’ as an overarching concept, especially in relation to development, climate change, disaster risk reduction, and conservation. It also speaks directly to the implementation challenges of the priority actions and policies highlighted in the Secretary-General's 2012 Report on Peacebuilding in the Aftermath of Conflict, especially to ensuring inclusive approaches to peacebuilding. The Annual Meeting also speaks to the Programme of Work 2013-2014 of the OECD’s International Network on Conflict and Fragility (INCAF), in particular to deepen analysis in key areas of, and improve policy coherence and partnerships for, peacebuilding and statebuilding.

The Annual Meeting is the Platform’s yearly flagship event and has the objective to contribute to the networking of peacebuilding resources across sectors and institutions. It brings together a variety of actors and representatives from civil society, government, international organizations, business, and academia.



Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva

Fred Tanner, Director, Geneva Centre for Security Policy; and Member of the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform Steering Committee

Alexandre Fasel, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Switzerland in Geneva, and Member of the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform Advisory Board

Jonathan Woolley, Director, Quaker United Nations Office, Geneva; and Member of the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform Steering Committee

Ken Menkhaus, Professor of Political Science, Davidson College, Davidson (Keynote address)

Marcus Oxley, Head of the Global Network of Civil Society Organisations for Disaster Reduction, London

Rudolf Muller, Deputy Director and Chief, Emergency Services Branch, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Geneva

David Jensen, Head of Programme, Environmental Cooperation for Peacebuilding, United Nations Environment Programme, Geneva; and Member of the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform Advisory Board

Brian Ganson, Senior Researcher, The Africa Centre for Dispute Settlement, University of Stellenbosch Business School, Cape Town; and Senior Fellow, Center for Emerging Market Enterprises, The Fletcher School, Tufts University, Medford

Nims Obunge, Chief Executive, The Peace Alliance, The Dream Centre, Tottenham Town Hall, London

Vivien Rueda, Director, Asociación Alianza Joven, Guatemala City

Azmi Thassim, Founding Member, Business for Peace Alliances, Sri Lanka


The Annual Meeting 2012 has been made possible with the financial support of:

  • The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
  • United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA)
  • The Office of Public Affairs of the Permanent Mission of the United States of America in Geneva
  • The Permanent Mission of Canada in Geneva
  • Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Geneva Office