Issue No: 02/2023

Conflict & Resilience Monitor – 30 March 2023

The Conflict and Resilience Monitor offers monthly blog-size commentary and analysis on the latest conflict-related trends in Africa.

Photo: UN Women/Joe Saade

In this month’s edition of the Monitor, we begin with a piece from Huang Xia, the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region of Africa.  He writes a piece about the current peace efforts in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the regional dynamics at play and the role of the United Nations. 

Staying in the eastern DRC Dr Kizito Sabala writes about the deployment of the East African Community (EAC) Regional Force and how it will interact with other forces already deployed to the region.

Moving across to the Lake Chad Basin, Siobhan O’Neil and Chika Charles Aniekwe reflect on the reintegration of ex-Boko Haram combatants and communities’ reception of the ex-combatants. 

Our fourth article is an update on the ongoing transitional processes in Sudan.  Yonas Berhané write about the current efforts to transition Sudan to civilian rule in the context of the recently signed agreements.  

From Sudan, we move to Mozambique and Cabo Delgado for our fifth article.  Craig Moffat has written about the recent visit of the Peacemaking Advisory Group (PAG) to Cabo Delgado and the Group’s efforts to facilitate dialogue amongst the stakeholders to the conflict. 

Following that, Cedric de Coning and Andrew E. Yaw Tchie have written a piece on the Africa Standby Force (ASF) and its role in Africa’s evolving conflict landscape.  Instead of making use of the ASF, states have chosen to use ad-hoc security initiatives, such as those in the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin.  This then requires a rethinking of the role of the ASF and the African Peace and Security Architecture.

As we head towards the end of Women’s Month in March, our final two pieces for the Monitor reflect on key issues within the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda.  Pravina Makan-Lakha, writes about the recent efforts of Ethiopian women to ensure their meaningful representation during the peace processes following the conflict between the federal government and Tigray Peoples Liberation Front, as well as a reflection on the work of women’s peace networks in Mozambique and South Africa.  Finally, Karabo Mokgonyana, writes about the burden that climate related conflicts in Africa place on women.

Chief Editor: Conflict & Resilience Monitor​
Managing Editor: Conflict & Resilience Monitor
Assistant Editor: Conflict & Resilience Monitor​
Photo: MONUSCO/Michael Ali
Peace and Security

Striving for peace in Africa’s Great Lakes region: Ongoing efforts to resolve the current crisis

  • Xia Huang

Ten years ago, on 24 February 2013, countries of the Great Lakes region signed the Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the region. They committed to end, once and for all, the scourge of recurrent violence and instability that plagued the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with impacts across the region. The Framework laid the foundation, for the first time, for lasting peace in eastern DRC and for a peaceful coexistence between neighbouring countries.

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Peace and Security

The Role, Progress and Challenges of the EAC Regional Force in the Eastern DRC

  • Kizito Sabala

The arrival of the Burundian forces as part of the first contingent of East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in August 2022, was meant to shore up the political settlement facilitated by the former Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta.  According to the plan, the region is to mobilise between 6,500 and 12,000 soldiers to work in cooperation with the Congolese military (FARDC) and administrative forces to support the political dialogue between rebels and the government, provide civilian protection, enforce peace agreements and contain, defeat and eradicate negative forces in the country. It includes creating a buffer zone in liberated areas between the March 23 Movement (M23), and FARDC. The M23 is associated with the Tutsi ethnic group and claims to be fighting to protect Tutsis from Hutu extremists and blames the DRC government for reneging on the promise to incorporate its fighters into the national army.

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Photo: UNICEF/Mulugeta Ayene
Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR), Reconciliation

Receptivity and Reintegration of Ex-Boko Haram Associates in the Lake Chad Basin Region

  • Dr. Chika Charles Aniekwe
  • Dr. Siobhan O’Neil

Over the past 18 months, the Nigerian government has estimated that some 90,000 people have left Boko Haram areas. The large numbers of new arrivals has put stress on the infrastructure to reintegrate low-risk defectors from the group in Maiduguri, overwhelming existing facilities and support structures. The recent mass exits from Boko Haram also present an inevitable yet unique opportunity to take stock of earlier efforts to encourage defections from Boko Haram factions and promote community reconciliation and reintegration with former group members.

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Peace and Security

Latest developments in the transition to a civilian government in Sudan

  • Yonas Berhané

On 19 March 2023, Sudan’s civilian forces, Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), and the Parliamentary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) struck a deal to form a new transitional administration and signed the final agreement paving the way for the transfer of power to a civilian government on 11 April 2023.

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Photo: GCIS

Dialogue as a conflict transformation tool in Cabo Delgado

  • Craig Moffat

In February 2022, the Peacemaking Advisory Group (PAG) undertook a mission to Mozambique to engage various state and non-state actors. The objective of the mission was to gauge the willingness for the commencement of a dialogue process as a conflict transformation tool to address the insecurity in the northern Mozambique province of Cabo Delgado. The PAG seeks to create a safe and non-partisan platform for the promotion of dialogue and consultation between critical stakeholders while also pursuing measures to deescalate intercommunal tensions and unlock the province’s development potential.

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Adapting the African Standby Force to Africa’s Evolving Security Landscape

  • Cedric de Coning
  • Andrew E. Yaw Tchie

The growing threat of violent extremist and other forms of insurgencies in the Sahel, Great Lakes, Horn of Africa and Southern Africa, and the way in which these groups operate transnationally, has changed the security landscape in Africa. In response a number of new types of operations have evolved. These new operations challenge some of the fundamental assumptions of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and the standard models of international peace operations.

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UN Photo/Manuel Elías
Women, Peace & Security

Reflecting on the Status of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda at the Global, Continental, National and Local level

  • Pravina Makan-Lakha

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is instrumental in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women. The CSW provides a platform for advancing the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, by highlighting the links between gender inequality, conflict, and peace. This includes addressing the impact of conflict on women and girls, advocating for their participation in peacebuilding and decision-making, and promoting the protection of women’s rights in peace agreements and post-conflict reconstruction efforts.

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Photo: UN Women/Joe Saade
Women, Peace & Security

The Role of African Women in Climate related Conflicts

  • Karabo Mokgonyana

Climate change is an undeniable conflict threat multiplier that is already increasing food insecurity, water scarcity and resource competition while disrupting livelihoods. It is spurring migration through urbanisation, for example, small farm holdings no-longer remain viable following droughts or disasters. Additionally, issues relating to land degradation and grabbing, and over exploitation of the environment create conflicts within communities that may lead to violence. Climate change has the effect of escalating social, political and economic tensions in fragile and conflict-affected settings and has the potential to spark new conflicts in Africa. Diverging interests and values among various stakeholders give rise to climate conflicts (also known as environmental conflicts) over issues like, public land use and preservations, private land development, water quality or quantity, air quality, habitat for species, waste disposal, natural resource use and management and environmental hazards.

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