Club de Madrid Member Tarja Halonen, former President of Finland, and Abdurrahim El-Keib, former Prime Minister of Libya and Club de Madrid nominated Member, were the keynote speakers at the World Bank Fragility, Conflict and Violence Forum 2015 opening session on “The Politics of Peacebuilding: Lessons from Promoting Shared Societies”, jointly organized with the Club de Madrid on February 11, 2015 in Washington DC.
Participants in the panel, in addition to the two Members, were: Oscar Fernández-Taranco, UN Assistant Secretary General for Peace Building Support; Makhtar Diop, Vice President for Africa of the World Bank; and Betty Bigombe, Senior Director of Fragility, Conflict and Violence of the World Bank. The session was moderated by Vasu Gounden, Executive Director of ACCORD (African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes).
The session co-organised by the Club de Madrid focused on the political aspects of offering support to fragile states, going beyond the conception of peace building as solely a technical challenge. The speakers reminded the participants that peace building needs to understand the pressures and constraints of national leaders in situations of fragility. As former leaders, the Members of the Club de Madrid were well placed to lead this session and they have experience of offering support through the many programmes of the Club de Madrid. President Halonen shared the main ideas and approaches of the Shared Societies Project aimed to build resilience by addressing the challenge of social inclusion, as fragility is often a consequence of social exclusion and marginalisation of some groups or sections of society. Prime Minister El-Keib shared his knowledge as a transitional leader in Libya, a post-conflict nation-building experience where the absence of inclusive society had led to fragility, conflict, and violence.