In line with its objective of providing training in the skills of negotiation, conflict prevention, resolution and management, ACCORD, in partnership with the African Union (AU) and the United States Institute for Peace (USIP), has hosted a capacity building workshop for experts and practitioners in mediation of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). The training workshop, which took place in Durban (South Africa) from 24-28 February 2014, aimed at enhancing the mediation skills of participants in general as well as providing a reflective environment for debating on the case of the Central African Republic (CAR).
Since its formation in 1983, ECCAS has metamorphosed from an organisation whose original brief was that of preparing the region for economic integration to one that is now among others, mandated to promote peace, security and stability. This mandate was notably reiterated in June 2012 during the 10th Heads of States Summit meeting in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. This Summit listed the development of capacities to maintain peace, security and stability as essential prerequisites for economic and social development. Therefore, ECCAS now has a sharp focus on the prevention, management and settlement of conflicts. The organisation also aims at facilitating mediation and dialogue efforts in the Central African region.
ECCAS’ quest to fulfil its mandate with respect to mediation and conflict prevention has not been without challenges. Such obstacles include the dynamic and volatile peace and security environment in CAR and as such there was a need to reflect on and test the conflict management tools that are required in such instances. It is in the spirit of responding to these difficulties that the training workshop was organised. The event provided a platform for reflection on different mediation experiences by the participants. It also exposed them to perspectives that enabled better understanding of the processes of dialogue and mediation in Africa, especially in CAR.
ACCORD shall continue to partner with the AU, ECCAS and other Regional Economic Communities with the aim of contributing to the implementation of the Africa Peace and Security Architecture. The bolstering of mediation capacity will remain a key focus of the envisaged follow up activities with ECCAS in particular.