Conflict & Resilience Monitor
Feature Articles on COVID-19
During the global crisis ACCORD's analysis will be focus on the impact of the pandemic on conflict potential in Africa
As South Sudanese celebrated the tenth anniversary of independence on 9 July, their ambitions to build a nation that they fought for and that many have scarified their lives for, have not yet been realized. Many challenges still undermine the nation building programmes and the people’s aspirations.
On 9 July 2021, South Sudan commemorated its 1o-year anniversary as an independent, sovereign state. The celebrations across the country were quiet. The exuberant scenes of 2011 gave way to pensive stocktaking as South Sudan emerges from a vicious cycle of civil war and a weakened economy brought to the brink by the COVID-19 pandemic. What has remained however is the resilience of the people of South Sudan, and their ability to look toward a future of peace, stability, and development. Their hope rests on the permanent ceasefire which has continued to hold since 2017, and the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), signed in 2018 following the breakdown of the previous peace agreement.
IGAD upgraded its presence in various IGAD Member States namely; Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda to full time presence instead of ad hoc engagements or small liaison offices, while Djibouti remains the seat of the Secretariat and the Executive Secretary. The IGAD presence in the Republic of South Sudan started with a liaison office at the sub-national regional government of southern Sudan in 2005 to follow up on the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), and upgraded to a small Juba Liaison Office after South Sudan’s independence on 9 July 2011.
Thursday, 27 May 2021 marked a watershed moment for Somalia. It was the day Somali leaders met under the auspices of the National Consultative Council and announced a breakthrough in dialogue to resolve the impasse over the holding of federal elections. The deal provided an important implementation framework for the famous 17th September Agreement on parliamentary and presidential elections.
Following months of political impasse and rising tensions over the holding of elections in Somalia, the leaders of the Federal Government of Somalia and of the country’s Federal Member States signed a key agreement on 27 May that paves the way for elections. This was the culmination of several weeks of consensus-building efforts led by Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble.
Strengthening Partnerships for African Solutions for African problems: Implications for peace support operations
The expression “African Solutions for African problems” has become something of a cliché. It is frequently invoked when trying to develop effective solutions to address peace and security challenges on the continent. It is a phrase that has also been misused by some leaders to advance their interests while trying to avoid scrutiny of their actions in handling their own domestic peace and security challenges and invoking the phrase in an effort to engage the African Union (AU) to provide a face-saving mechanism which perhaps they hope to influence.
Indeed, in 2020, as we were planning to celebrate major instruments for the advancement of women’s rights to peace and development, namely the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action and the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325), the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic erupted, causing deaths and disruptions all over the world. The pandemic demonstrated once more that in times of crisis, women and girls bear the brunt of the impact and are the ones at the front of the risk.
We live in a peculiar moment in history in which prevailing threats to peace and stability have collided with a pandemic that occurs once in a century. For the African continent, it is rather a precarious moment in which our realities and limitations have come to the fore, more than in previous decades.
The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting negatively on the structure of governance around the world. As it shatters the lives and economies of many nations around the world, the virus has become a devastating and deadly behemoth of sort, collapsing systems and initiating more crises in our nations.
An African Peace Engineering Corps can help the continent respond to COVID-19 and other such emergencies
When in 2013, the devastating Ebola Virus Disease broke out in Guinea, it did not only spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia; it also threatened the world. By the time the outbreak ended in 2016, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, had lost over 11,000 people and $2.8 billion in GDP losses, according to the World Bank.
The Group of Five for the Sahel, commonly known as the G5 SAHEL was created in 2014 by the governments of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger as a platform to collectively address the development and security challenges confronting them. When carefully analysed, one can see some similarities between Cabo Delgado’s growing challenges with violent extremism and the case of the Sahel.
COVID-19 has undoubtedly presented the biggest test of the resilience and relevance of Higher Education institutions in recent times. With the necessity for behavioural change to halt the spread of the virus, Higher Education institutions have been forced to think differently and contribute innovative responses to the pandemic.
Like all other parts of the world, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic since 6 March 2020 and all eleven member countries had registered their first cases by 6 April 2020. In addition to a number of steps taken by ECCAS, plans are also moving forward to establish a sub-regional body for the coordination of health issues in ECCAS.
Mediation in situations of civil conflict are never easy. It requires travel, both air and on the ground, sometimes to far off areas where the terrain may not be easy to traverse. It also requires confidential face-to-face discussions and, when momentum towards an agreement is detected, then time becomes a valuable commodity, and shuttling between parties to narrow differences, and edge towards a compromise, becomes vital.
When it comes to climate change, Africa and Europe have one thing in common: countries in both regions are either signatories or parties to the Paris Agreement, which entered into force in 2016. This is not a trivial matter. It means that the 2017 Abidjan AU-EU Summit climate ambitions were based on a firm and approved framework. The EU, Africa’s main trading partner, has demonstrated its ambition to lead the climate transition with its European Green Deal. Africans should commend these policy goals and emulate them as much as possible, while at the same time warning their Northern partners about the possible negative impact of several Green Deal related EU legislations on the continent.
Just a few months ago, many South Sudanese were breathing a sigh of relief, believing that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic had largely passed them by. Today, a virulent second wave is sweeping through the country causing huge harm to people’s health and wellbeing, damaging the already dire economy, and further interrupting the stagnating peace process. The number of cases is headed towards the 10,000 mark and there have been more than 100 deaths, although the true number of people affected by the virus is likely to be much higher given testing is largely limited to travellers and those with symptoms.
Tomorrow, 11 March 2021, marks a year since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a pandemic. A year ago, the world as we know it and our daily routines were disrupted to an unprecedented extent overnight. In an effort to curb the spread, governments across the world put in place lockdowns, quarantine measures, stay-in-place orders, closed workplaces and education institutions. Almost immediately, it became very clear that although the pandemic was a great equalizer in the sense that no one was immune to the virus, it was also a great destabilizer of many socio-economic and development trajectories and social justice agenda, least of all: our mission for gender equality. In many ways, the pandemic has exposed so many of our shortcomings in our quest for a fairer and more equitable world.
In the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region, the pandemic has widened inequalities within, and between Member States. Labour-intensive service sectors such as retail trade, restaurants and hospitality, sports and recreation and transportation have been severely affected by measures to contain the pandemic. Activity within labour-intensive sectors are expected to remain subdued in the short to medium term. The low-skilled, low-wage workers in both formal and informal sectors are least able to withstand an economic shock. A full recovery in the labour market may take a while, worsening income inequalities and increasing poverty.