Pathways to sustainable peace
By Kalliope Agapiou Josephides
Conceptual unity and diversity in actuality (Unité de concept et diversité de fait) as acknowledged by Fernand Braudel in attempting to conceptualise the complex realities of the Mediterranean, fully applies to Cyprus. Its conceptual unity as an island-state contrasts with its own complex realities, protracted conflict, and anachronistic divides in a united Europe.
Last month’s 5+1 informal meeting was convened by the United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) in Geneva “to determine whether common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem within a foreseeable horizon”. As ‘not enough common ground’ was found to allow for the resumption of formal negotiations, the UNSG declared not giving up, and that he would convene a second meeting in two-three months.
The Mediterranean Women Mediators Network/Cyprus called upon all parties to the 5+1 meeting to ensure a positive result for the way ahead. It highlighted the importance of mediation, the equal and meaningful participation of women and inclusion of the gender perspective as essential elements that will increase the chance of success not only for the 5+1 Geneva meeting, but also for ensuing negotiations.
This needs to be an integral part from the very beginning if the peace process is to be successful. It requested the full implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda adopted on the basis of UN Security Council resolution 1325 as is deserved by the women and the entire civil society of Cyprus, calling on all the parties to act in a collaborative and team spirit in order to fulfil the responsibility they carry.
The letter delivered in Geneva was addressed to the UN secretary-general, the foreign ministers of the three guarantor powers – Greece, Turkey, UK – and the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders. The regional Mediterranean Women Mediators Network issued a statement stressing the need to include women from both communities in the negotiations for a more inclusive and resilient peace process.
Women Mediators Networks across the globe mobilise glocally in favour of durable peace. The Global Study Preventing Conflict, Transforming Justice, Securing Peace (2015) offers an in-depth analysis of pathways to sustainable peace, illustrating how UN Security Council resolutions and international law in general, offer to parties in conflict a sound and trustful framework for negotiations towards durable peace.
Cypriot women do not have the place they deserve in the peace negotiations for the future of their country. This has been the case for decades of previous negotiations, and unfortunately in 2021 at the Geneva 5+1 informal meeting. This absolutely needs to change for upcoming negotiations.
A feminist approach to peace and security, by considering and building on the intersectionality between gender and social hierarchies at play such as nationality, ethnicity, religious affiliation, marital status, disability and age offers a dynamic and deeper understanding of social phenomena and women lived experiences of conflict, to the benefit of durable peace.
A compound set of mutually reinforcing pathways and gender sensitive mediation can help parties to navigate the complex relationships between peace, security, democracy and social justice. Peace and democracy is not an unrealistic dream, but a noble, inspiring and mobilising concept that can and will be achieved with hard work and commitment. And to quote Eleanor Roosevelt: For it isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it.
And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.
Dr Kalliope Agapiou Josephides is a founding member of the Mediterranean Women Mediators Network/CYPRUS ANTENNA
Jean Monnet Chair Holder (2001), University of Cyprus