Women's Month in South Africa gives us an opportunity to reflect on the efforts globally, and on the continent, to advance women's empowerment and gender equality. These efforts have borne fruit and are accelerating. In Africa the initiatives have reached Head of State level, driven by statistics such as the fact that women produce more than 80% of food in Africa but own only approximately 1% of productive lands. To advance their efforts, earlier this year the leaders of Africa participated in the 25th African Union (AU) Summit in Sandton, Johannesburg, under the theme 'Women's Empowerment and Development Towards Africa's Agenda 2063'. South Africa's Minister in the Presidency Responsible for Women, Susan Shabangu, highlighted South Africa's commitment to the theme, noting on behalf of the host country that the empowerment of women is not an act of charity, but a push for a country to operate at full capacity.
August is Women's Month in South Africa and 9 August was Women's Day. Internationally, Women's Day is celebrated in 8 August, but South Africa celebrates Women's Day on 9 August, to commemorate the march on 9 August 1956 by 20,000 women to the Union Building in Pretoria, to protest against the extension of government regulations on the carrying of passes. It was one of the largest anti-government marches in the nation's history and a striking example of solidarity and defiance.
"The capacities for early warning and responses are on the continent; it is the political will that we must improve in order to prevent future conflicts." This closing message from Mr Vasu Gounden's presentation to the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) sought to highlight the progress achieved in building the continent's early warning infrastructure while underscoring the need to enhance African efforts in conflict prevention.
Each year on Mandela Day ACCORD practically supports the work of an NGO or community, boosting their efforts to make an impact. For the 2015 Mandela Day, ACCORD supported the Gandhi Development Trust in the rehabilitation of the Phoenix Settlement in Inanda.
The Training for Peace (TfP) Programme at ACCORD participated in a TfP Research Network Dissemination Seminar to present and discuss the different research findings and recommendations that emerged from the various research on policing conducted in Mali, Somalia and Darfur; focused on three peacekeeping missions.
With the aim of supporting Madagascar to define its Peacebuilding Priorities to be funded by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) and other donors, ACCORD trains Malagasy CSOs and facilitates Conflict Analysis for multi-stakeholder actors.
On 31 July 2015, Mr Vasu Gounden, ACCORD's Founder and Executive Director, delivered a presentation on best practices for conflict management in elections at the Southern African Regional Policy Conference on "Effective Policy Interventions for Strengthening Electoral Integrity: Lessons Learnt from the 2013/2014 Elections in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region." The conference, hosted by the Election Commissioners Forum of SADC Countries and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, convened experts from across the Southern African region to review key election trends and to collaborate on strengthening SADC's institutional frameworks for the conduct of elections in its member states.
The Trustees and Staff of ACCORD extends its best wishes to H.E. Quett Ketumile Joni Masire, the former President of Botswana, on the celebration of his 90th Birthday. African Patriot, Statesman and Peace Maker!
The Founder and Executive Director of ACCORD, Vasu Gounden, has been appointed by the Government of South Africa to serve on the South African Council on International Relations (SACOIR). ACCORD congratulates former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aziz Pahad, on his appointment as Chair of SAICOR. Mr Pahad has for some years acted as ACCORD's senior political advisor. The Council was officially launched in Pretoria by the South African Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.
The recruitment and deployment of civilian personnel for peace and security operations has largely been managed on an ad hoc basis with interested applicants applying directly in their personal capacity to the African Union Commission (AUC), resulting in numerous challenges related to the timely recruitment and deployment of these needed expert civilian personnel at short notice, hence, the need to better plan for and manage such deployments. In particular, there has been recognition of the need to develop a dedicated pool of trained civilian experts for deployment at very short notice in field missions. The expertise of this pool will be captured in the African Standby Capacity (ASC) roster.
The Humanitarian Affairs Division within the Department of the Political Affairs of the African Union Commission organized a consultative meeting from 26-27 May 2015 which was held in Midrand, South Africa for the Southern Africa Regional for the Development of a Common African Position on Humanitarian Effectiveness. ACCORD/TfP attended the Consultation, having been involved in humanitarian effectiveness, more particularly in relation to peacekeeping issues and protection of civilians. The consultation follows the 2013 Civil Military Coordination Roundtable which aimed at examining the progress on Civil-Military Coordination (CIMIC) on the African environment.
- TfP/ACCORD builds capacity for Peace Support Operations
- TfP/ACCORD attends the Training of Trainers on Civil Society and Security Sector Engagement for Human Security
- Identity in Africa the topic of discussion at ACCORD's Africa Day Internal Staff Seminar
- ACCORD/TfP strengthens African Standby Force Mission Support
- ACCORD/TfP participates in the development of an AU Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration manual and compendium
- COMESA and ACCORD sign MoU
- ACCORD participate in 26th GIMAC Pre-Summit Consultative Meeting on Gender Mainstreaming in the African Union and Member States
- 25TH AU Summit, June 2015: ACCORD Resources and Experts
- ACCORD contributes to developing the capacity of civil society in South Sudan
- ACCORD's Peacemaking Unit contributes to Central African Republic National Forum
- TfP/ACCORD participate in IAPTC Executive Committee meeting ahead of 2015 IAPTC Annual Conference
- TfP/ACCORD support ongoing AU African Standby Force focus on the civilian dimension
- East Africa Regional Consultations on the Review of the United Nations Peacebuilding Architecture
- ACCORD and AU convene high-level seminar on mediation practice in Africa
- ACCORD Executive Director participates in first Constitutive Meeting of the SADC Mediation Reference Group
- ACCORD Internal Staff Seminar appraises United States foreign policy
- Sudanese CSO’s Review United Nations Peacebuilding Architecture in South Sudan
- Gender Perspective Training by ACCORD for Peace Support Operations on the Continent
- Establishment of Special Reference Group on Migration and Community Integration in KwaZulu-Natal
- ACCORD hosts roundtable on peace building in Liberia