Between 22 August and 2 September 2011, ACCORD held a Joint Peacebuilding Training and Study Tour to South Africa for key peacebuilding stakeholders from five African countries. The participants exchanged professional expertise and enhanced their knowledge on the topic of "Elections, Governance and Conflict" during two weeks of conferencing in Durban and Johannesburg.
The event, which was funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, brought together 15 participants from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Liberia, Sudan and South Sudan for numerous in-depth training sessions facilitated by ACCORD staff and external experts. Deeper insights on the specific history, institutions and context of peacebuilding in South Africa were gained during visits to the Apartheid Museum and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) - elections being a key theme of the study tour.
Through animated discussions and an exchange of perspectives and experiences, the participants identified common problems and best practices in peacebuilding, looking specifically at the implementation of peaceful elections and good governance in their home countries. They also forged new professional relationships and friendships.
In light of incidents of electoral violence in several countries on the African continent in recent years and the threat this poses to peacebuilding efforts, it is particularly important to strengthen the ties between peacebuilding actors from different countries. The study tour will thus support an increase in coherence and coordination of peacebuilding efforts going forward, and the development of shared visions and strategies for dealing with common challenges through adaptable and genuinely African peacebuilding solutions.