ACCORD, in collaboration with IGAD organised the 2nd High Level Retreat on Mediation with a key focus on experience-sharing between IGAD Roster Members, members of the Pan-African Network of the Wise (PanWise) and the Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs). The Retreat took place from 21-24 August 2017 in Durban, South Africa.
The Retreat aimed at creating a platform for experience-sharing on mediation bringing together seasoned mediators from different regions in the continent where they shared the lessons they have learnt in their engagement in mediation processes. They included representatives from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mediation Reference Group (MRG), Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), former and current members of African Union (AU) Panel of the Wise. Madam Speciosa Wandira-Kazibwe, who is a member of the AU Panel of the Wise and also the co-chair of Femwise Africa, the African Network of Women in Conflict Prevention and Peace Mediation, participated in the retreat.
The Retreat provided a platform for IGAD Roster Members to enhance their understanding of ongoing conflict prevention efforts in other regions of the continent. It also provided the opportunity for participants to gain a deeper perspective of the complexities of mediating conflicts that arise as a result of specific drivers of conflict that includes constitutional crises, election-related violence, struggle over political hegemony, and conflict over scarce resources and exploitation of identities. Throughout the discussions, participants appreciated the need to further consolidate the opportunities that have been created for women (including young women) and the youth, highlighting the need for them to play meaningful and influential roles in the peace processes in the region including as mediators.
Key outcomes of the Retreat were recommendations put forth by the participants. They include: strengthening and/or harmonisation in areas like: women peace and security; youth, peace and security; co-ordination between RECs/RMs/AU and the UN; peace, development and governance; knowledge management and sharing; elections and mediation; mobilization of financial support and partnerships; and national infrastructures for peace. It was further recommended that engagements such as the Retreat should continue in the future to facilitate processes and spaces which will allow sharing of mediation experiences and documenting of good practices on how best to enhance co-ordination and complementarity between institutions and experts from across the continent.
ACCORD remains committed to undertaking and supporting peace efforts and initiatives in the IGAD region and other regions in Africa and strives to continue its collaboration with IGAD and other RECs/RMs to realise sustainable peace.