Dialogue between policy makers from fragile states opened in Helsinki

Organized in Helsinki, Finland, a conference dealing with the role of civil society in the New Deal implementation brought together civil society representatives, representatives of governments and traditional leaders from Sierra Leone, Somalia and Afganistan, as well as professionals of international development cooperation. The conference opened up a dialogue which the participants decided to continue and expand on a country level.

The participants identified good practises to strengthen the role of civil society in peacebuilding and statebuilding in fragile states. The role of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in fragile states was also discussed.

During the conference, solutions to coordinating dialogue between the state and the civil society on a country level in Afganistan, Somalia and Sierra Leone were developed. Also, international processes were identified; processes, such as the development forum for vulnerable states (IDPS) and projects under the UNDP, which could further the process launched at the conference on a long-term basis. Jussi Ojala, Finn Church Aid Senior Advisor in peace work sees potential global consequences in the achieved results.

“This conference could be seen as starting point to a process that aims at improving the relationship between the state and the society through dialogue, not only in the countries present in the conference, but also more widely in fragile contexts around the world”, Ojala describes.

The conference was organised by Finn Church Aid, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (CSPPS). The conference was organised with the help of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the UNDP, and its aim was to bring together representatives from the state and the civil society to look for solutions which would permit the civil society participate more in the building of fragile states.

The press release of the conference was published here and the concept note of the conference can be accessed here.