The new KOFF Strategy 2021 - 2024 was launched in February 2021. It defines three strategic accents: political relevance, joint learning processes, and internal networking. A look back at 2021 - particularly against the backdrop of Russia’s war against Ukraine - shows how central the chosen accents are. In addition to the suffering of the affected population, this war has triggered dynamics that underscore the political relevance of the issues that the KOFF Platform has been addressing for years.
The question of how Switzerland positions itself in the (international) realm of peace and security was addressed by KOFF at a roundtable with the Swiss Peace Council and the Gesellschaft Schweiz-UNO in the summer of 2021 (p.1). The role of (social) media and how to address polarization and mis/disinformation is another key topic for peacebuilding. KOFF conducted a roundtable on this issue with Fondation Hirondelle and Helvetas in the fall of 2021 (p.3).
The year 2021 not only revealed the political relevance of the topics covered by the platform but also confirmed that joint learning processes are of great value in addressing peace policy and peacebuilding in critical and constructive ways. From today’s perspective, the results of the joint learning process on “Women, Peace, and Security,” coordinated jointly by KOFF, Peace Women Across the Globe, and cfd - the feminist peace organization, are politically relevant. The importance of self-care and the care economy for women’s participation in crises and in peace processes could not be clearer (p.5). Finally, the joint learning process on peace and migration brought major insights on how to integrate migration into peace policy and what a conflict-sensitive migration policy could look like - also in Switzerland (p.7).
This is where the third strategic accent comes into play: internal networking, which has existed among KOFF member organizations active in Central America for a long time. The joint analyses and strategies that emerge from it are central to addressing the diminishing space for civil society in the region, against the backdrop of Switzerland’s withdrawal of bilateral development cooperation from Latin America (p.9).
The KOFF Intervision Group, which was reactivated in spring 2021, also aims to harness the experience and resources in the platform and promote mutual support (p.11). Finally, KOFF collaborated with “Forum for Friedenskultur” in the coordination of the first “Ilanzer Sommer” with the intention to help build a culture of peace in Switzerland that would support peace work in Switzerland despite difficult times (p.13).
Many thanks to the KOFF member organizations and the KOFF team for their tireless efforts. They are more relevant today than ever.
Head of the KOFF Platform