On 16 June 2020, ACCORD facilitated a discussion with a High-Level panel of experts on the role the European Union (EU) can play to support mediation in Africa. This session was held virtually during the EU Community of Practice on Peace Mediation Meeting, which over 3-days, had over 770 mediation practitioners register from around the world.
The ACCORD session, titled “Mediation in Africa: What Role for the European Union Commission (EUC),” was moderated by ACCORD’s Executive Director, Dr Vasu Gounden and the panellists included: Ambassador Said Djinnit, the first Commissioner for Peace and Security at the African Union (AU); Ambassador Koen Vervaeke, the Managing Director for Africa at the European External Action Service (EEAS); Ms Bineta Diop, the Special Envoy of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on Women, Peace and Security (WPS); and Ms Mukondi Mpeiwa, a Senior Policy Officer in the AU Mediation Support Unit and Coordinator of FemWise Africa – the 450 strong – Network of African women in mediation and conflict prevention.
The session and discussions offered insights into the topic and shared different perspectives and opinions, making for a lively conversation about the role that the EU and AU should play, especially in the face of new and unpredictable threats such as COVID-19, in conflict prevention and mediation in Africa. In brief, the session emphasised the importance of building a shared vision and strategic partnerships – especially at the grassroots. Moreover, the discussion underlined the need for new, creative and adaptive tools and mechanisms to strengthen partnerships at all levels to deliver conflict prevention and mediation objectives and build resilient African societies.
ACCORD, represented by Dr Gounden, is part of the Steering Committee of the 2020 Community of Practice for EU Peace Mediation which includes Jonathan Cohen (Conciliation Resources); Julia von Dobeneck (European University Viadrina) Antje Herrberg (EEAS) Andreas Hirblinger (Graduate Institute, Geneva) David Lanz (swisspeace); Hanna Lepisto (EEAS), and Kathrin Quesada (mediatEUr).
ACCORD’s session and the event aim to contribute to the on-going revision of the Concept for EU Mediation and the drafting of the EEAS mediation guidelines. The key takeaways from the meeting are available to view on the Community of Practice website.