On 26 November Ms Marjaana Sall, the Minister Councillor at the Finnish Embassy in Pretoria, along with Mr. Asko Luukkainen from the Africa and Middle East Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Finland, visited ACCORD House.
On 26 November the High Commissioner of India to South Africa, High Commissioner Bhatia visited ACCORD House, accompanied by the Indian Consul General in Durban.
The International Steering Group and Executive Committee of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) held meetings in Soesterberg, the Netherlands, from 6-13 October 2007. The meeting brought together the fifteen Regional Secretariats.
On 20 February 2007, after two days of deliberations about the current and future challenges facing Africa generally, and the peace-building field, and specifically ACCORD, in partnership with the Nairobi Peace Initiative-Africa (NPI-Africa) and the West African Network for Peace-building (WANEP), signed a Memorandum of Understanding documenting the intention of the three organizations to establish a forum called The African Alliance for Peace-building (AfAP). The aim of the forum will be to address common concerns that confront the field of peace-building in Africa.
Having worked together on the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) process leading up to the Global Conference that was held at the United Nations in New York in July 2005, ACCORD, NPI-Africa and WANEP had the opportunity to work together, along with other regional African NGO’s, to articulate a common position on conflict prevention and peace-building. This was further strengthened by ongoing collaboration that resulted in the Africa Consultation in Nairobi and the drafting of the All Africa Agenda.
It is intended that the forum shall be coordinated by a steering committee comprised of a representative from each of the founding parties. The role of convener will rotate on an annual basis among the three parties; the first convener is Mr. George Wachira, Senior Research and Policy Advisor, NPI-Africa.
The forum is based on three principles:
- Addressing common interests in the peace-building field in Africa;
- Refraining from engaging in activities that compete with those of its constituent members; and
- The modus operandi of the AfAP will be one of impartial engagement with state and non-state actors.
The forum has listed the following as its objectives:
- Exploring, articulating and promoting ethical standards and foundational values for peace-building in Africa;
- Providing a forum for mutual peer education and interrogation, promoting joint learning and reflection aimed at sharpening action and engaging with common challenges facing peace-building practice and peace-building organizations and networks; and
- Developing strategies for and undertaking joint lobbying and advocacy with the AU, UN, financial institutions and funding partners.
The immediate focus of the steering committee will be to develop membership criteria and a list of potential activities.
L-R standing: Dorothy Ndung’u, Programme Coordinator: Research, Learning and Policy, NPI-Africa; Kwezi Mngqibisa, Programme Manager: ACCORD; and Karabo Rajuili, Programme Assistant: Research Unit, ACCORD. L-R Seated: Emmanuel Bombande, Executive Director, WANEP; Vasu Gounden, Founder and Executive Director, ACCORD and George Wachira, Senior Research and Policy Advisor, NPI-Africa.
As part of the GPPAC process, ACCORD was the first member of an African NGO in the history of the United Nations Security Council to address the Council. This was the second of three presentations that Vasu Gounden, the Founder and Executive Director of ACCORD, made at the UN Headquarters in New York within a five month period in 2005. In July 2005 Mr. Gounden provided one of the closing addresses at the GPPAC Global Conference, and in December 2005 he was invited to address the UNSC at its seminar on cooperation between the UN and African regional organisations in the field of peace and security. In February 2005 ACCORD arranged the Southern African Regional Meeting for GPPAC, which was held in Pretoria, South Africa. ACCORD also served on the Southern African Regional Steering Committee.
The African Peacebuilding Coordination Programme at ACCORD will host a Stakeholders Forum in Durban, South Africa, from 26-27 November 2007. The purpose of the forum is to consult a variety of practitioners and experts on the findings and recommendations emanating from the field research conducted by ACCORD in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Liberia and Sudan, and to obtain their advice on the proposed work plan of the programme over the next three year cycle.
ACCORD is conducting a needs assessment in Sudan for the African Peacebuilding Coordination Programme (APC) from 19 August to 9 September 2007. Mr. Walter Lotze, an intern with the Peace and Security Unit and the APC Programme, will be conducting field research in Khartoum and in Juba, meeting with various stakeholders in the peacebuilding process.
The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict will be holding the Southern Africa Regional Steering Group Meeting (RSG): “Civil Society & Government Partnerships in Conflict Prevention: Perspectives from Southern Africa” which will be held at the Burgers Park Hotel in Pretoria, South Africa on the 11&12 May 2006.