Executive Director presents to Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation

Vasu Gounden delivered a presentation on the topic "Peace Diplomacy as a tool for South Africa's foreign policy".


On Wednesday 10 February 2016, Mr Vasu Gounden, Founder and Executive Director of ACCORD, delivered a presentation to a Strategic Planning Workshop of the South African Parliamentary Portfolio Committee (PPC) on International Relations and Cooperation. This annual workshop convenes the PPC, senior officials from DIRCO and resource persons on international relations from across the country in order to provide strategic input, highlight key trends in the field and areas for which the PPC should extend oversight specifically.

Mr Gounden presented on the topic “Peace Diplomacy as a tool for South Africa’s foreign policy.” In this presentation, Mr Gounden highlighted key principles underpinning South Africa’s historical and current approach to peace diplomacy, especially as it relates to the African continent. Mr Gounden then examined key national, regional, and international policy frameworks (including the AU Agenda 2063 and UN Sustainable Development Goals) as well as current global trends in order to situate South Africa’s diplomatic position within a rapidly transforming global context. Mr Gounden then examined key case studies in peace diplomacy that are relevant for South African officials, highlighting current progress and challenges and examining opportunities for the PPC to make positive contributions. Following an overall assessment of South Africa’s approach to peace diplomacy, Mr Gounden concluded by offering recommendations to strengthen the work and oversight activities of the PPC with respect to South African peace diplomacy.

This is Mr Gounden’s third opportunity to present to the Committee over the past 12 months. He previously engaged the Committee on issues relating to global conflict trends, specific case studies of on-going conflicts in Africa, the evolution and manifestation of terrorism and radicalism on the continent and their implications for South Africa.

Mr Gounden in addition serves on the South African Council on International Relations (SACOIR). SACOIR was officially launched in 2015 by the South African Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, to serve as an avenue for South Africa’s non-State actors to interface with DIRCO on the development and implementation of South Africa’s foreign policy.