An Introduction to ACCORD

The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) is a non-governmental conflict management institution based in Durban, South Africa. ACCORD was established in 1992 to impact on the process of negotiation and conflict resolution in South Africa. The Institution's focus has since broadened to include the whole of the African continent, and its activities stretch from the SADC in the South, through the Great Lakes region to West Africa and the Horn of Africa in the north-east. ACCORD strives to offer innovative and effective African solutions to African challenges. Through its work over the last twenty one years ACCORD has developed a comprehensive peace model, officially recognized by the United Nations in 1996 as a viable model for Africa.

ACCORD's activities are divided between an Interventions Department and a Knowledge Production Department. Within the Intervention Department there are a range of activities further divided into Peacemaking, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding. The Knowledge Production Department is responsible for a range of publications that include a quarterly magazine Conflict Trends (now in its fifteenth year of publication); books and occasional papers and research reports. In 1999 ACCORD published the first accredited African Journal on Conflict Resolution (AJCR) on the Continent, which is published biannually and which is now in its fourteenth year of publication.

ACCORD has developed a successful track record over its twenty one year history, working with former President Nelson Mandela in facilitating the role of civil society in the peace process in Burundi and with former President Masire on the DRC. ACCORD also worked in preparing rebel groups for the negotiation process in Burundi, facilitated by the South African Government.  In September 2005 ACCORD was the first African NGO in the history of the United Nations Security Council to address the Council.

ACCORD also hosts several special initiatives. The Africa Peace Award is an event that honours an individual, group or country. The Award recipient is selected based on three criteria: 1) The protection of and respect for human rights; 2) Peaceful settlement of disputes and; 3) Good Governance of public affairs. The first Africa Peace Award was presented to the Community of Mpumalanga (KwaZulu Natal) in 1993, the second to then President Nelson Mandela in 1995 and the third award was presented to the Nation of Mozambique in 1997. The fourth Africa Peace Award took place in June 2000 and was awarded to the Nation of Nigeria.  The fifth Africa Peace Award was presented to the Children of Africa, with a special focus on the children of the DRC, in June 2003. The sixth African Peace Award was presented to the Nation of Burundi in June 2006.  The seventh Africa Peace Award was awarded to the Nation of Sierra Leone in 2010. The eighth Africa Peace Award was awarded to the Nation of Ghana in 2012.

ACCORD is planning the construction of a permanent Conflict Prevention Centre, the first in Africa. Our vision is of a retreat, conference, training and research facility that will provide a peaceful setting and a comprehensive range of services that can accommodate high level conflict interventions, continuous training and research. The Centre would also be a venue for policy makers, academics and practitioners to gather on a regular basis to discuss conflicts, formulate policy and evolve practical responses to conflicts in Africa.

ACCORD has a full time staff capacity of over one hundred (100) Staff divided between ACCORD's Head Office in Durban, South Africa, its Burundi Country and Rural Offices (in 2003 ACCORD opened its first office in Burundi) and its Country Office in Juba, the Republic of South Sudan (opened in 2012). ACCORD also has a small group of Fixed Term Consultants, in addition to been able to call on a network of Associates and Consultants, throughout Africa, to assist and provide expertise on the range of activities undertaken by ACCORD.

ACCORD's Board of Trustees, headed by Madame Graca Machel (President FDC, Mozambique) comprises of H.E. Ambassador Sibusiso Bengu (the former South African Ambassador to Germany and former Minister of Education); Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu (member of the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation Board; Chairperson, Pan African Capital Holdings, former Chairperson of the NEPAD Steering Committee  and the former Economic Advisor to former President Mbeki); Professor Jairam Reddy (Chairperson of the Council of the Durban University of Technology and former Director, United Nations University International Leadership Institute); H.E. Ambassador Billy Modise (former South African Ambassador to Canada and former South African Chief of State Protocol); Mr Josias de Kock (former Chief Financial Officer for Premier Foods and a former Chief Risk Officer for Sanlam) and Mr. Vasu Gounden (Founder and current Executive Director of ACCORD). Professor Jakes Gerwel, (former Chair, Mandela-Rhodes Foundation and the former Head of the Office of former South African President Nelson Mandela), one of the five founding Trustees of ACCORD, passed away in 2012.

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