The ECPD international project on reconciliation and tolerance emerged from a major ECPD educational and research project entitled: 'The Balkans in the 21st Century – Pathways to Building Peace and Security' ('The Balkans 21'), as a part of the ECPD long-term plan and programme of work, 'The Balkans 21' is considered to be an umbrella under which separate educational programmes, research projects and international meetings arise and Reconciliation and Tolerance is one of them.
This programme is articulated by two international forums: the ECPD International conference and the ECPD International Permanent Study Group both pursuing the same goal: national/ethnic reconciliation and religious tolerance as a prerequisite for peace, stability, economic and social development.
In accordance with the SG meeting and the second Conference suggestions, the ECPD Academic council and the ECPD Executive board decided to have the Third SG meeting in Prizren, Kosovo on 16-17 Jun, 2007. (The second SG meeting was held on the day preceding the second Conference, that is on 26 October, 2006). The SG was augmented by well known experts dealing with social and other West Balkan issues. Numerous provisional government and Kosovo academia representatives also took part at the meeting. Although the meeting was entitled 'National Reconciliation and Human Security in Western Balkans', intended to cover the whole region, there was a tendency to put the Kosovo case in focus. However, the SG members consider themselves as both ambassadors of peace and goodwill as well as independent scholars sustained in striving to foster the process of reconciliation and to strengthen Human Security for all, not only in Kosovo. The meeting in overall was very successful and many new and valuable ideas on the SG future work and the work of the third Conference were brought out.
The third Conference was held in Belgrade on 26-27 October, 2007. RECONCILIATION AND HUMAN SECURITY in Western Balkans was the main topic. Reconciliation, in this case, should be considered as improvement of the relationship among both ethnic and religious groups, as well as among states and entities in the Western Balkans. But Human Security is a more complex concept. Its realization includes living with dignity, protection and empowerment of communities and individuals, and two kinds of freedom: Freedom from Fear and Freedom from Want. Freedom from Fear is again an extremely complex notion because threat to one's freedom could come from his own surroundings, from various kind of violence, including armed conflicts, from natural disasters. The third Conference, however, should focus its attention to attaining Freedom from Fear stemming from national and religious disputes and mutual misunderstanding. Freedom from Want/poverty/privation is less complex but also hard to get abreast with. A human 'want'/desire/wish might be unlimited. But speaking about Freedom from Want in the Western Balkans the third Conference should focus its attention towards achieving a decent and/or higher quality of life.
The third Conference was devote to discussions in detail importance of the Reconciliation and the principles of Human Security for building peace and security in the Western Balkan area. In the same time, Conference directed main subject matters and mode of the SG work in the coming up period, as well as of the next two conferences (2008 and 2009).
It is expected that Conference 2008 will produce concrete proposals for Reconciliation and Human Security in the Western Balkans, while the Conference 2009 will be declaratory in character with participation high ranking officials from UN Human Security Commission, EU and other organizations to affirm the importance of principles of Human Security to be applied to the Balkan region and recommend to governments, regional administration and entities as well as other organizations to implement the concrete results and conclusions arrived in 2007 and 2008 conferences.
Organization, conduct and work of the ECPD International Conference and the ECPD International Study Group were supported by several Japanese organizations/Foundations, Universal Peace Federation – European Branch, Government of Montenegro, Municipality of Belgrade, as well as of Prizren. Significant part of these activities expenditure was covered from the ECPD reserve funds.