High level conflict prevention and mediation experts discuss issues of conflict prevention and peacemaking.
In an effort to improve security arrangements within the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), ACCORD and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) jointly with IGAD, organised the IGAD High Level Retreat: Strengthening Conflict Prevention and Peacemaking, held from 10-15 October 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Retreat focused on strengthening mediation capacities to address the complex peace and security challenges within the region by bringing together members of the IGAD mediation roster, IGAD Secretariat, the current IGAD special Envoy to Sudan, representative from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and ACCORD experts as well as experts from various United Nations (UN) agencies and from other IGAD partners.
The retreat discussed the evolving landscape of conflict and the ways in which this impacts on the field of mediation. IGAD has played a key role in resolving the conflicts within the region, thus the Retreat reflected on the experiences from the past mediation processes, the past and current challenges of mediation and preventive diplomacy. The retreat further discussed opportunities for addressing the challenges facing mediators and mediation efforts in the region leveraging on the experiences of other regions and actors like COMESA, the AU and the UN on conflict prevention and mediation.
The Retreat provided a landscape to discuss the importance of youth inclusivity and gender and mediation as both are central actors and ‘right holders’ in any process that addresses peace, security, human rights and sustainable development. During the discussions participants unequivocally called for a move to address the acute gender imbalance in the field of mediation and the need for strengthened technical expertise in gender issues.
The Retreat provided recommendations to further strengthen IGAD capacities as participants acknowledged that mediators and their teams must have a broad range of knowledge and skills in order to deal with the numerous challenges, dilemmas and complexities they are usually confronted with. The retreat provided a platform for sharing of experiences allowing members of the roster to learn from the mediators who have supported various peace processes in the region and in other parts of Africa.
The African Union (AU) in partnership with ACCORD annually holds a similar retreat bringing together high level conflict prevention and mediation experts and practitioners to discuss different issues in mediation, preventive diplomacy, conflict prevention and peacemaking. ACCORD thus remains committed to supporting IGAD in strengthening its mediation capacity and the mediation capacity of other RECs, levering on its engagements with the AU.