From 9-11 July 2013, ACCORD’s Peacebuilding Unit flagship program – The African Peacebuilding Coordination Program (APCP) funded by the Government of Finland – hosted 36 international participants in collaboration with the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), at the 2013 Peacebuilding Fund Workshop “Programming for Peacebuilding,” in Cape Town, South Africa.
This workshop served as a platform through which the Peacebuilding Support Office could interact with UN country and other recipients of the Peacebuilding Fund. It paved way through which practitioners from the field could discuss ways in which the peacebuilding fund could best be utilised in support of national structures to best consolidate peacebuilding efforts
In March 2013, the UNPBF released a revised set of guidelines on how the PBF should be used. These new guidelines are seen as an important step towards providing stronger guidance for more effective country programming and this workshop was the first time the UNPBF was able to bring a large portion of the Fund users together to discuss them. The main aims of the three-day workshop were to provide strategic guidance to Fund users on how to use these new guidelines in the development of effective peacebuilding programs, the provision of guidance through sessions and activities by key experts in the peacebuilding field, as well as creating a space for Fund users to share knowledge from past experiences with the PBSO team and Fund users including Liberia, Guinea Conakry, DRC, Burundi and Cote d’Ivoire, who all shared on their experiences, challenges and success stories. The workshop also discussed how to improve the effectiveness of PBF support to peacebuilding efforts in post-conflict or political crisis situations, how to organise Joint Steering Committees and how to target peacebuilding programs. Lively debates took place around issues such as theories of change, results management and risk taking/risk mitigation. The three days, overall, were a unique experience which created space for close exchanges between the PBSO and country focal points, and among Fund users on current good practices to help to establish, in the longer term, a ‘community of practice’.
The workshop has developed a strengthened relationship between ACCORD and the PBSO and provides the opportunities for future workshops, trainings and consultations between the two organisations. The output from the workshop will be a report on challenges facing the PBF and a final version of the new Guidelines accomplished with incorporation of participants’ feedback, which aims to be released in 2014.