The Founder and Executive Director of ACCORD, Vasu Gounden, welcomed Mr. Jan Pronk, the former Dutch Minister for Development Cooperation and the former Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General in Sudan, to ACCORD House on Wednesday, 28 June 2007.
L – R: Mr. Jan Pronk and Mr. Vasu Gounden
Mr. Pronk was in Durban to attend the SANPAD Poverty Challenge 2007 Conference, where he was a resource person. Mr. Gounden met Mr. Pronk when they shared at platform at the Dutch United Nations Student Association Utrecht (DUNSA-Utrecht) conference on international conflicts, entitled ‘A Struggle for Peace’, which was held at the University of Utrecht on 9 June 2007. Mr. Gounden was the keynote speaker.
In the 1970’s Mr. Pronk was a member of Parliament for the Social-Democratic Party (Partij van de Arbeid) and Minister for Development Cooperation. In the first half of the 1980’s he worked as an international civil servant for the United Nations (UNCTAD) in Geneva. He then returned to Dutch politics and again became Minister for Development Cooperation and later Minister of Environment. In 2002 he left Dutch politics and was appointed as a Professor at the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague. From mid 2004 until the end of 2006 Mr. Pronk was the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations in Sudan, where he led the UN peacekeeping operation (UNMIS). Mr. Pronk returned to his position as Professor of Theory and Practice of International Development at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague in January 2007, having been given special leave to take up his UN position in Sudan.
In November 2006 ACCORD, in partnership with the United Nations Mission in Sudan, conducted an in-mission Civil Military Coordination course in Khartoum, Sudan. The course was conducted as part of ACCORD’s African Civil Military Coordination Programme, an on-going programme meant to enhance the Civil Military Coordination capacity of African member states that contribute troops to peacekeeping operations.
While at ACCORD Mr. Pronk addressed ACCORD’s programme Staff (with the exception of those traveling) on his experience in Sudan, as well as discussing generally the causes of conflicts in Africa, including the impact of poverty and development.
Mr. Pronk during his presentation on his experience in Sudan