In 2018, peacemakers were challenged further by a changing landscape of conflicts. The year was marked by increasingly turbulent geopolitics and continued atomisation of conflicts, as well as the rise of new threats such as the weaponisation of social media and cyberspace.
The Annual Report 2018 of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD), released today, presents some of the key initiatives carried out by the organisation in the face of these challenges. In 2018, HD continued to be at the forefront of private diplomacy efforts, supporting and delivering 18 agreements, ceasefires or measures that brought conflict parties together at national, regional or local levels, creating platforms for dialogue across conflict lines or opening up humanitarian access to civilians caught up in conflict.
HD was active in more than 40 initiatives across 25 countries, helping to address some of the world’s most violent conflicts, exploring new troubled territories and pushing the boundaries of peacemaking to address new mediation gaps. From the South China Sea and the Philippines to the Sahel, Moldova, Libya and Spain, HD sought to adapt to the evolving nature of conflicts and crises, all the while keeping a sharp focus on delivering concrete results.
In 2018, HD also continued to promote discussions around emerging challenges in peacemaking and sharing insights from its operational experiences. Along with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, HD co-hosted the 16th edition of the Oslo Forum, considered the foremost gathering of prominent armed-conflict mediators, peace-process actors and high-level decision-makers. The 2018 event brought together more than 100 participants, including UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Somalia’s Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire and Head of the European Union External Action Service Helga Schmid. An Asian Mediation Retreat was also convened in Beijing later in the year, bringing together more than 40 regional scholars and experts for lively debates on regional conflicts and thematic issues.
HD’s 2018 Annual Report also presents the organisation’s new strategy for the coming five years (2019–2023). As the institution celebrates its 20th anniversary, this new strategy will guide the organisation’s development as it enters its third decade. HD will focus on consolidating its work around its highest-value mediation processes, while also investing further in organisational systems to match its institutional growth. Within an increasingly complex conflict environment, HD will not seek to address every conflict and its causes but will rather focus on getting better at what it does best already: focusing on niche projects beyond the frontier of traditional diplomacy.