UN Geneva Diplomats Engaged in Comprehensive Peacebuilding Training

What is the role for diplomats in Geneva? During a one-day training, Geneva-based diplomats were invited for the second consecutive year to learn more about the multifaceted aspects of peacebuilding and ongoing policy processes aimed at strengthening the UN’s engagement in sustaining peace.

Situated on the second floor at the historic Villa Barton, the training took place on 2 July and had over 35 diplomatic missions registered. It was organised by the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform (GPP) and the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation (DHF), with support from the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations.

The day commenced with welcome remarks from Dr. Annyssa Bellal, Executive Director of the GPP and Sigrid Gruener, Programme Director at DHF and Jonas Pasquier, Deputy Permanent Representative for Multilateral Affairs at the Permanent Mission of Switzerland.

Dr. Annyssa Bellal, Executive Director at the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform.

‘The overall objective of the training was to equip diplomats with essential knowledge and tools to enhance their engagement in peacebuilding efforts, emphasising the integration of disarmament, human rights, and humanitarian perspectives in sustaining global peace’, says Sigrid Gruener.

The first session, facilitated by Sigrid Gruener and Céline Monnier from New York University’s Center on International Cooperation (CIC), covered the basic foundation of the UN’s work on peacebuilding. The session saw interactive discussions and presentations, engaging the participants, including Tormod C. Endresen, Norway’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva:

‘This is why I joined the training, to get an overview of resources and discuss with colleagues how we can engage in an effective way, beyond the talking,’ he said and continued with a reflection on the international humanitarian system that to a large extent is coordinated out of Geneva:

‘The response is in a state of permanent overstretch. As a significant stakeholder in this, Norway realises that we need to bring the humanitarian needs down. Prevention and mediation of armed conflict is one of the more effective things we can do to this end. I think many colleagues are looking for the most effective entry points we have as Geneva-based diplomats’.

Andrea Quezada, counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Chile to the UN, speaking with Tormod C. Endresen, Permanent Representative of Norway to the UN and Sigrid Gruener, Programme Director at DHF, in between the sessions.

The following session focused on Disarmament and Peace, with Dr. Nicolas Florquin from Small Arms Survey presenting an overview of small arms transfers and international efforts to curb illegal activities and reduce harm.

Dr. Nicolas Florquin from Small Arms Survey.

After lunch, Morten Koch Andersen and Manuel Galvis from the Raoul Wallenberg Institute delivered the third session titled Human Rights and Peace that focused on the correlation between human rights and armed conflict and the importance of accountability to International Humanitarian Law.

Later in the afternoon participants engaged in a ‘speed dating’ session with local experts from various organisations, including the International Labour Organisation, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent, and others. This session aimed to foster connections and share insights on peacebuilding efforts.

The final session, presented by Awa Dabo, Director and Deputy Head of the UN Peacebuilding Support Office within the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, outlined the process and timeline for the 2025 Peacebuilding Architecture Review. The day concluded with insights on the upcoming Geneva Peace Week and closing remarks from the organisers.

Tormod C. Endresen found the training highly beneficial, noting, ‘The training helped me better understand the need to connect Geneva and New York institutions and resources.’

The training was made possible by the work from; Tatiana Avanthay (GPP), Gabriela Buser (GPP), Annyssa Bellal (GPP), Sigrid Gruener (DHF), Andrea Aeby (Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN) and Dany Diogo (GPP).