The founder and Executive director of ACCORD, Vasu Gounden, was invited to be a resource person at a conference entitled “Making the difference: Strengthening capacities to respond to crises and security threats” which was hosted by the European Union (EU) in Brussels on 03 and 04 June 2009. Every two years the EU brings together policy makers and practitioners in conflict prevention and crisis response from the international community to examine and learn from responses to crises and security threats.
There is a growing understanding over the last ten years that conflicts and other crises require comprehensive responses that address all relevant dimensions, be they civilian, social, economic, political or military. The main aim of the meeting this year was to look at what works best and “what makes the difference” , with a view to identifying effective approaches to the strengthening of crisis response capacities.
The format for the conference was plenary sessions along with parallel breakaway working sessions. Mr. Gounden was a panel discussant in the session focusing on Mainstreaming mediation in EU peace building, which aimed to explore the concept of mediation as part of the external relations tool box of the EU in the framework of its crisis response and peace building activities; reflecting on past and current EU mediation efforts and placing them within the wider international context with a view to identifying best practices; looking at possible ways of strengthening the EU’s mediation capacity and exploring the range of potential mediation actors, cooperation between the actors and opportunities for strengthening mediation support activities.
In March 2009 ACCORD hosted a conference in Ethiopia entitled “Mediating Peace in Africa: Securing Conflict Prevention” which was funded by the Government of Finland.