The Founder and Executive Director of ACCORD, Vasu Gounden, was invited by the Royal Norwegian Government to be a respondent to Mr. Gahr Stores address during a seminar on "States in fragile environments: Common engagement for conflict resolution and development", that took place on 24 November 2009 at the University of Pretoria. The seminar was part of the official programme of the State Visit of Their Majesties The King and Queen of Norway, who were in attendance at the seminar. Mr. Gounden was the only respondent on the agenda for the seminar.
Norway is cooperating with South African partners on conflict resolution, reconstruction and the building of state capacity to counter the effects of fragility. This cooperation is based on the recognition that people living in fragile environments must build their own capacity. It also promotes the need for the international community to work together to assist the efforts of the affected people. The co-operation is not limited to the bilateral level. In Sudan, for example, Norway and South Africa are about to embark on a tripartite co-operation agreement with the government of Sudan to train that country's police service in the North, the South and in Darfur. Non-governmental organisations are also proactively included as development partners in various conflicts in the region. In the Norwegian funded Training for Peace programme, which has run at ACCORD since 1995, ACCORD has been actively engaged in the training of civilian experts and police in order to strengthen the capacity of African states to contribute to the civilian component of Peace Support Operations.
The seminar aimed to reflect on current challenges in the region and to identify ways forward as the Government of Norway strengthens its partnership to contribute to the building of more stable states, sustainable peace and human and economic development.