The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) is an international civil society initiative working on conflict prevention and peacebuilding. The initiative emerged in response to a report by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
In his report entitled ‘Prevention of armed conflict’ released in 2001, Annan advocated for the establishment of partnerships between civil society organisations, the private sector, governmental institutions, intergovernmental as well as international organisations as an effective strategy to address the scourges of violent conflict in the world. Responding to Annan’s call, civil society organisations around the world – led by the Netherlands-based European Centre for Conflict Prevention, ECCP – organised, in July 2005, a global conference at the United Nations Headquarters in New York that culminated in the official launch of GPPAC. The conference also adopted the GPPAC Global Action Agenda and Global Work Plan as well as agreed upon the establishment of fifteen regional networks as pillars of the initiative. ACCORD hosts the GPPAC secretariat for Southern Africa.
GPPAC strives to unite civil society organisations working on issues pertaining to conflict prevention and peacebuilding. The main goal in this regard is for a united civil society organizations partnership engaging effectively all other social stakeholders at national, sub-regional, regional and international levels on issues of conflict prevention and peacebuilding. GPPAC intends to achieve this through networking and advocacy, knowledge sharing and dissemination, early warning and early response as well as awareness raising. The far-reaching objective, thus, consists of establishing a new paradigm with regard to conflict emphasising prevention.
GPPAC Southern Africa aims to contribute towards operating a paradigm shift from conflict reaction to conflict prevention in the region. The motivation behind this shift derives from the current prevailing trend in the practice of conflict resolution and management characterised by the omnipotence of the state as the dominant actor on issues pertaining to conflict, security and peace. To this factor, it should be added the inability of African governments to bear the cost of resolving armed and violent conflict, coupled with the cost-effectiveness associated with conflict prevention. The change in the prevailing approach in conflict resolution and management practice is due to enable the building of a multi-stakeholder consensus focusing on addressing the roots causes of conflicts.
As far as Southern Africa is concerned, the GPPAC initiative has provided civil society organisations working on conflict prevention and peacebuilding with a valuable platform for network and advocacy. In the coming years, the network intends to work on its expansion within the region by including countries still outside the partnership, namely Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Comoros. Equally, the network will focus on strengthening national networks within individual country members of GPPAC in Southern Africa.