The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) is a member-led network of civil society organisations (CSOs) active in the field of conflict prevention and peacebuilding. GPPAC works through 15 regional networks across the world. Members include representatives of local, regional and international civil society organisations and networks involved in the relevant field. Wherever possible, the network engages in active partnerships with governments, intergovernmental and private sector organisations and other relevant stakeholders to pursue conflict prevention and peacebuilding activities.
ACCORD has been a member of GPPAC since 2005, but revitalised its engagement in the initiative in 2011. The institution forms part of the re-constituted eleven-member regional network for Southern Africa, and also hosts and coordinates the regional secretariat.
History and objectives of GPPAC
The GPPAC initiative emerged in response to a 2001 report by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan titled Prevention of armed conflict. In this report, Annan advocated for the establishment of partnerships between CSOs, private sector organisations, government institutions and intergovernmental and international organisations as an effective strategy to address the scourges of violent conflict in the world. Responding to Annan's call, in July 2005 civil society organisations around the world – led by the Netherlands-based European Centre for Conflict Prevention, ECCP – organised a global conference held 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 and agreed on the establishment of 15 regional networks to form the pillars of the initiative.
GPPAC strives to unite civil society organisations working on issues pertaining to conflict prevention and peacebuilding. The initiative's main objective is to achieve and sustain strong partnerships and collaboration among civil society organisations in their regions and globally in order to coordinate the efforts of various organisations and people working together to reflect on, improve and implement effective civil society strategies for conflict prevention and peacebuilding worldwide. GPPAC works to achieve this through networking and advocacy; knowledge sharing and dissemination; and early warning and early response, as well as awareness raising.
GPPAC Southern Africa
The GPPAC Southern Africa network aims to contribute to the achievement of a paradigm shift from reacting to conflict to conflict prevention in the region. Towards this end, between 2012 and 2015, the Southern Africa network will largely focus on two key priority areas for civil society engagement in conflict prevention in the region:
- contributing to programmes and initiatives focusing on improving democratic and electoral processes, tolerance and freedom, and
- engaging with, and influencing key stakeholders in strategic policymaking positions to positively address land and ethnic conflicts, election disputes and successful reintegration of ex-combatants following armed conflict
The network also emphasises the importance of supporting civil society to utilise effective strategies, based on what has been shown to work, or not to work, in other countries and regions, in order to achieve the priority areas identified. These strategies include peace education; sensitisation, training and capacity building of civil society actors and media personnel; community dialogues and outreach activities; briefings with parliamentarians and political party representatives; and national symposia aimed at encouraging societal cohesion.
The GPPAC initiative provides important spaces and platforms for civil society organisations working on conflict prevention and peacebuilding to undertake networking and joint advocacy initiatives across countries, regions and globally.