ACCORD and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mediation Support Unit (MSU) co-hosted the Retreat and Mediation Training for the SADC Panel of Elders (PoE) and Mediation Reference Group (MRG) in Durban, South Africa. The training platform aimed to strengthen the capacities of the members in mediation and conflict prevention as they conduct mediation efforts in the region, and took place from 16-19 November 2022, in Durban South Africa.
This training that was held from the 16-19 November 2022 accommodated members who were unable to attend the first training held from 3-6 April 2022. H.E. Dr Joyce Banda, Former President of Malawi, and a member of the Panel; as well as the MRG members, Mr Jean-Eric Rakotoarisoa, Republic of Madagascar; Brigadier General (Rtd) Joel George Martins, Republic of South Africa; H.E. Ambassador Haymandoyal Dillum, Republic of Mauritius; H.E. Ambassador Mpeo Mahase-Moiloa, Kingdom of Lesotho; and H.E. Ambassador Joey M. Bimha, Republic of Zimbabwe attended the retreat. Ambassador Joseph Andre Nourrice, Deputy Executive Secretary – SADC Secretariat, chaired the proceedings.
ACCORD’s Senior Advisor, Ambassador Welile Nhlapo and Mr. Philip Visser co-facilitated the training where they reflected on, response to conflict; the role of the mediator; and structuring agreements. Members of the PoE and MRG, with the guidance of Ambassador Nhlapo, examined the countries of Mozambique, Lesotho and eSwatini, critically analysing the triggers of violence. As a Former member of the MRG, and Founder and Executive Director of ACCORD, Dr Vasu Gounden presented on the overall conflict analysis of the continent and placed emphasis on the importance of understanding the causes and complexities of these conflicts. These deliberations drew different perspectives to the ways in which conflict mitigation and conflict prevention needs to be addressed.
Among the takeaways was the need to further develop mediation and negotiation skills and unpack the conflicts occurring in the SADC region to better inform interventions. As part of its support to the SADC Secretariat, ACCORD will continue to provide technical and substantive assistance in support of mediation interventions to the SADC region.