Mission & vision

The Mission of ICCN is to foster Peace Process through democratic reforms in Georgia, to strengthen civil society, achieve civil integration (focusing on minority and gender issues), and implement and support peacebuilding at grassroots, as well as middle and decision-making levels in order to ensure conflict prevention and transformation before during and after the conflict.

The Vision of ICCN: Democratic reforms and conflict resolution by peaceful means in Georgia are developing in difficult environment, and territorial integrity of the country is impaired. The state declares Peace Process, Reconciliation and Integration a high priority, but even these remain declaratory. Civil society’s participation is underrepresented and a significant change for sustainable peace decelerated. This situation requires mobilisation of the civil society to ensure establishment of liberal-democratic value system where conditions for a dialogue are created. ICCN is actively involved in civil society’s efforts to influence public opinion, decision-making and its vision is that civil society will find enough strength and persistence to oppose the negative tendencies and ensure the path of democratic reforms.

Prevention and peaceful resolution of conflicts ICCN's first objective is to see that conditions for the prevention and peaceful resolution of conflicts are improved and non-violent approaches promoted and practiced. A major problem in this regard is the lack of analysis on emerging conflicts. Peaceful and non-violent resolution of conflict is often perceived as weakness and defeat. Just before August 2008, the Georgian government conducted a strongly militaristic campaign. Discourses centred on who was guilty while the roots of conflict were ignored, leaving people without other alternatives to understand, manage and resolve concrete conflict situations in housing, health, schools and discrimination in daily life. In this way, a culture of dialogue and understanding is sorely missing.

The role of the media is especially important in this context. Free, professional and ethical media are lacking even though a country at war particularly needs peace-oriented media professionals. Journalists need in-depth information related to concrete events from a human-centered point of view. They also need stronger awareness of standards of professionalism and ethics in conflict situations.

Mobilizing resources for conflict prevention is also an important issue. As a result of the Georgian-Russian conflict, new waves of IDPs and returnees form Kartli and South Ossetia emerged. These people went through war and now still experience a difficult and stressful situation. Their needs are not addressed, and they lack appropriate knowledge and skills to better understand ongoing processes and to peacefully defend their cause in a conflict situation. ICCN's strategy is to discuss with journalists about their professionalism and ethics while reporting on conflicts, and to provide IDPs and refugees with appropriate knowledge and skills to understand ongoing processes and to better deal with conflict situations.

Respect for an integration of minority groups ICCN's second objective is to support ethnic and religious minority groups so that they can enjoy cooperative relationships within the larger community and can participate as active citizens in civic life. One major problem in this regard is that the political and civic integration of minorities has not yet been achieved. Acceptance and recognition of minorities in Georgian society is still not fully developed. Patriotism is propagated as contradictory to diversity. In some cases ethnicity also coincides with a religious group. Thus, the role of the Georgian Orthodox Church is especially important. It is very influential, and propagates a nationalistic, faith-based ideology. Women’s joint inter-ethnic effort to achieve more influence in political and social life on the local level can be an important factor for transformation. But in a number of communities settled by ethnic minorities – such as the Azeri community in Kvemo Kartli and the Armenian community in Javakheti – women’s role is restricted to reproduction and domestic tasks with no opportunity to participate in community and larger social life.

ICCN sees the need for perseverance in working, both on the central and community levels, towards national integration as a value. Tolerant attitudes and concrete peaceful and fruitful coexistence experiences are to be disseminated. ICCN's strategy is to address both minority and majority groups and involve both sides in changing attitudes towards more tolerance and openess to diversity. Information about different ethnic and religious groups (cultural and social aspects) are thus shared, in turn ensuring and promoting participation of minorities in political, social and cultural life. Special emphasis will be put on incorporating and empowering women of minority groups in such activities.

Open space for civil society ICCN's third objective is to see that civil society in Georgia maintains an open space for social and political debates, promoting democratic values, checks-and-balances on power, gender equity and sustainable use of the environment. One major problem in this regard is that the principles of democratic governance are still poorly shared and practiced in society. Concepts such as human rights, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and the rule of law are not yet clearly understood, institutionalized and implemented. The role of civil society actors (ICCN included) is important in this regard. They need to reinforce processes of democratic development, implying a transformation of our traditional mindset and way of life. ICCN's strategy is to raise civic consciousness about liberal values through active discussions in society, and to involve the stakeholders of those values in discussions of their concrete problems and needs.

Organisational development ICCN's forth objective is to see ICCN transformed into a strong organization with a programmatic approach, good management, clear procedures, and financial sustainability. In the first 10 years of its existence, ICCN functioned as a pioneer organisation in Georgian society. A coalition of NGOs was formed, a research bureau was maintained, and the message of peace and reconciliation was spread throughout the country. This has contributed to the Rose Revolution, which was a step forward in fighting corruption and bad governance. During this intense period, the organization’s human reserves were heavily drawn upon and no time or money was available to strengthen the organization through learning and development processes necessary for its consolidation. The evaluation process in 2006 showed the relevance and strategic value of ICCN, but at the same time revealed organizational weaknesses: “The evaluation team is of the opinion that it would be advisable to strengthen the organisational- and institutional capacity of ICCN. Also in terms of stages of organisational evolution, it would be advisa­ble if (…) the institutional capacity of ICCN as such would receive proper attention and be defined by both the organisation and its funding partners as a priority in order to enhance the organisa­tional sus­ta­inability.” “There is scope for improvement with regard to the overall strategy of ICCN as a non-state actor, the internal governance of the organisation, the internal structure, clarity on the leadership of the organisa­tion, human resources development in general and competencies with regard to project cycle manage­ment in particular, organisational learning and some practical issues such as office space and technical support systems.” During the strategy-definition process of October 2008, main issues to be dealt with on short notice were identified. Referring to leadership, internal governance and internal structure, it was agreed that the management structure of the organisation is currently too fluid. This fluidity has been instrumental in adapting to difficult circumstances in the beginning, but its current disadvantage is that a clear division of responsibilities is not in place, leaving room for a lack of accountability and indecision in job descriptions and remuneration. Regarding project cycle management, it was agreed that procedures for reporting, planning and monitoring are too weak to guarantee the continuity of complex working processes and result-oriented cooperation between staff. This is visible also in the lack of a reliable documentation system. A third weakness to be addressed is human resources development. ICCN cannot reach a higher level of organisational learning, knowledge sharing and methodological development if there are no resources and opportunities for learning and systematic reflection for the staff. Finally, as a result of these failures, the provision of financial resources is more unstable than would be desirable or necessary. The strategy of ICCN is to give priority to these four issues in the coming years, integrating them into the annual planning, and assigning responsible staff for progress monitoring. The improvements will be gradually developed and implemented with the assistance of external consultants.

International Center on Conflict and Negotiation


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