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Innovation in the Digital Sphere - 2020 Annual Report [EN/DE]

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The strengthening of civil society in politically led peace processes, promoting conflict sensitivity in state bodies and companies, and preserving archives in the secure digital space characterized swisspeace's work in the year under review. Despite the extraordinary circumstances, the continued quality of teaching could be assured, and swisspeace was commissioned with new research projects.

It is a fact that civil society suffers most from armed conflicts. Unfortunately, it is also a fact that civil society actors have no say in political peace negotiations. The people with the most explicit visions of lasting peace are too often excluded in the crucial moment. In 2020, Syrian civil society representatives continued to prepare for the moment when negotiations that have been in prospect for years should begin between the conflicting parties. A Civil Society Support Room was established in Geneva, where the talks are scheduled to take place. The link to the UN mediation process has been ensured. In Cameroon, swisspeace is also supporting the role of civil society in the peace efforts since 2020.

The securing of archives in the digital space continued in 2020. This is important for dealing with the past processes. Dealing with the past is essential for reconciliation as a prerequisite for sustainable peace. The search for missing persons is, in addition to its personal aspects, also indispensable for peacebuilding. swisspeace drafted guidelines on the safekeeping of archives at risk in 2020 and intends to establish a foundation for non-state actors' endangered archives in Basel.

The evaluation of peacebuilding interventions is a quintessential and demanding task. In Cameroon, a new approach was adopted with the use of adaptive monitoring. After monitoring changes, the question is asked whether and how the peacebuilding projects have contributed to them.

swisspeace is an institution where research is conducted in view of real-world needs. Thus, the foundation has developed models aimed at harnessing the peacebuilding potential of institutional reform processes for peace.

The 2020 pandemic-related restrictions were overcome primarily through the use of digital technologies. Order volumes decreased slightly but are expected to increase again in 2021. In essence, the 2021-2025 strategy adopted at the end of 2020 continues the 2016-2020 strategy.

Dr. Jakob Kellenberger
President of swisspeace