ACCORD, in partnership with the European External Action Services (EEAS), participated in the Community of Practice on Peace Mediation 2021. In its third edition, the Community of Practice provided an opportunity to discuss the implementation of the 2020 EU Peace Mediation Concept and related Guidance. This collaborative online event brought together practitioners from the EEAS, with individuals and professionals working with the European Union (EU) around the globe. The EU Community of Practice on Peace Mediation 2021 ran from the 27th to 29th of April 2021.
Dr Vasu Gounden, Executive Director and Founder of ACCORD, played an instrumental role in this online engagement by forming part of a panel of speakers at the opening session of the event on 27 April 2021. Furthermore, ACCORD hosted a session entitled, “Peace-making Challenges in the Horn of Africa”, which took place on Thursday, 29 April 2021. The session was co-chaired by Dr Vasu Gounden, and Mr Ben Crampton, Chief of Staff to the EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa. A highly esteemed panel of speakers were convened for this webinar; including Dr Monica Juma, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Defence; Mr Abdul Mohammed, Chief of Staff to the African Union (AU) High Level Implementation Panel for Sudan and South Sudan; Ambassador Alex Rondos, EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa; Mr Rene Van Nes, Head of Unit Integrated Approach for Security and Peace (ISP.2) at EEAS; and The Honourable Hanna Tetteh, United Nations (UN) Special Representative of the Secretary General to the AU.
Ambassador Alex Rondos spoke of the need to build capacity to analyse the contemporary issues that are faced, and build communities of trust made up of influential, independent people. In this regard, Mr Abdul Mohammed added that African institutions are fundamental to addressing the situation in the Horn of Africa, and should see the EU, and the EEAS, as indispensable partners for multilateralism in peace and development in Africa, he added that the EU is one of the most reliable strategic partners Africa has had in recent times but that a serious examination of institutional weaknesses is needed, across the board. Further to this, The Honourable Hanna Tetteh stressed the need for mediation and prevention to occur in concentric circles, so that individuals in the space are able to reflect, work, and consult with each other. While stressing the need for the more pre-emptive action, using the principle of preventative diplomacy, Honourable Tetteh added that the restructuring of the AU’s Peace and Security Department, and Political Affairs Department will take time as the synergy required between the two bodies will not be developed overnight. The discussions served to strengthen and enhance the understanding of the synergy of national, regional, and continental responses to the conflict in the Horn of Africa, including the role of the African Union (AU), Inter-Governmental Agency for Development (IGAD), EU, EEAS, and other regional/continental mechanisms. Furthermore, the panel shared lessons on scenarios to resolve the conflicts in Tigray and Darfur, and what role the AU, utilizing ‘homegrown solutions’, may play in these scenarios.
ACCORD’ substantive and technical support to this webinar continues its contribution to collaborative efforts at the international level to mitigate the emerging conflicts currently threatening peace and stability on the African continent. These collaborative efforts are expected to compliment the approaches being undertaken by the AU and Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs).