In Search of Peace: From Cyprus to the Middle East

Although developed originally for the Cyprus context, the “Social Cohesion and Reconciliation” (SCORE) Index will have a real added value, only if it can become a global index, allowing comparisons between different conflict and post-conflict situations in the region and beyond. To explore the prospects for the expansion of the SCORE methodology, SeeD’s senior researcher Giorgos Filippou has recently visited Israel and the Palestinian territories. His mission trip not only enabled him to validate the fundamental assumptions of the index in an overseas context but also provided an amazing learning experience on various aspects.

“The Center for Sustainable Peace and Democratic Development” (SeeD) is developing a revolutionary way to measure reconciliation, called the “Social Cohesion and Reconciliation” (SCORE) Index. Commissioned by UNDP-ACT, the SCORE aims to measure the impact of peace-building activities while taking the pulse on the underlying social factors that can influence the outcome of peace processes. Although developed originally in Cyprus, the SCORE Index will have a real added value only if it can be applied to other situations around the world where societies have emerged from conflict. To explore the prospects for adapting the SCORE methodology beyond the shores of Cyprus, a joint SeeD and UNDP-ACT team recently visited Israel and the Palestinian territories, in coordination with the local UNDP office.

The SCORE index

The SCORE index can identify the most important social cohesion variables, which need to be addressed in order to strengthen the impact of reconciliation work.  This tool will enable policy makers and practitioners in peace-building to better understand the social context to their work, and in particular focus their interventions on particular groups of people, geographical areas, and social factors where their efforts can really make a difference.

SCORE is being developed initially in Cyprus, but experts in the field have already identified the potential for the SCORE methodology to be applied in multiple country contexts. In each case a SCORE assessment will support the peace building efforts in the respective society and/or regions of specific countries. This capacity to use a standard SCORE methodology in multiple countries will provide a capacity to draw international comparisons between different conflict and post-conflict scenarios, through the lens of comparative learning and the management of complex peace and development situations.

Visit to Israel and Palestinian Territories

Coordinated with the local UNDP office and the local think tank, “Arab World for Research and Development” (AWRAD), the mission to Israel and the Palestinian territories provided a true learning experience and significant contribution for the validation process of the Index in an overseas context. “It was clear from the first day, that the situation over there is far more complex than in Cyprus, due to the ongoing violent conflict. It is a fragmented entity geographically and ideologically, with different parts having different degrees of autonomy and control over their internal affairs. The ethnic, religious and socio-political forces are significantly different, which is why the inclusion of all social groups remains essential for the local adaptation of the Index” says Giorgos Filippou, SeeD senior researcher.

What are the next steps?

Given the fact that there is significant interest from local academic institutions and authorities in Israel and the Palestinian territories, as well as Bosnia, the prospect of expanding the SCORE to the region is promising.

Who are we? SeeD - Center for Sustainable Peace and Democratic Development   

SeeD is a peace-building think tank, with regional scope, which grew out of the UNDP_ACT-funded “Cyprus 2015” project, which was launched in May 2009 with the intention to create a bridge between public opinion and the policy level of the Cyprus peace process. In partnership with UNDP-ACT, and using novel “Participatory Polling” methodology, and now the “SCORE Index”, SeeD provides unique tools for effective and sustainable policy recommendations that inform the peace-building policy debate while ensuring citizen participation in, and ownership of, the peace process.  

The SCORE Index is a joint project of UNDP’s Action for Cooperation and Trust in Cyprus (UNDP-ACT) and SeeD.

 

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