Strengthening institutional capacities on mediation in the East African Region through best practices and lessons learnt in the continent.
ACCORD participated in the East African Community (EAC) Retreat, on the theme: Reflections on Experiences, Best Practices and Lessons Learned from Mediation, Negotiation and Dialogue Processes. The Retreat was held in Mombasa, Kenya from 12-15 June 2018. The convening of this Retreat falls in line with the EAC goal of strengthening the capacity of its Partner States Officials and the EAC Secretariat Staff in mediation and preventive diplomacy, and is therefore a key component of EAC’s Strategy to advance its peace and security agenda. In supporting these efforts, ACCORD facilitated sessions and contributed to discussions during the Retreat.
The Retreat aimed at creating a platform for experience-sharing on mediation, bringing together seasoned mediators from the EAC where they shared the lessons they have learnt in their engagement in mediation processes. The African Union (AU) (including the Panel of the Wise), Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) also shared their mediation experiences at the Retreat. The Retreat also brought together practitioners in the field of mediation and mediation support as well as the academia.
The Retreat provided a platform for the participants 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 changing conflict landscape and specific drivers of conflict that includes violent extremism, radicalisation, constitutional crises, election-related violence, struggle over political hegemony, complex inclusion and inclusion of actors and issues, conflict over scarce resources and exploitation of identities.
Key outcomes of the Retreat were recommendations put forth by the participants. Broadly, they include recommendations on: a) mediation policy and mediation strategy; b) institutional framework (including coordination and harmonisation); c) funding/finances; d) widening the pool of mediators/roster; e) approach to mediation/how to mediate; f) knowledge management/learning/capacity building; g) gender; and h) African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). More specific recommendations under these broad themes were submitted to the EAC.
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 mediation and co-ordination and complementarity between institutions and experts from across the continent. The Retreat strengthened ACCORD’s understanding of the peace and security dynamics in the east African region as well as the peace processes going on in the region. The Retreat also provided a platform for ACCORD to share its mediation support experiences in Africa as well as learn from mediators and other practitioners in the field.
ACCORD remains committed to undertaking and supporting peace efforts and initiatives in the EAC region and other regions in Africa and strives to continue its collaboration with the Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs) to realise sustainable peace.