The latest Occasional Paper published by ACCORD analyses South Africa's facilitation approach to the inter-party negotiation process in Zimbabwe – from former President Thabo Mbeki's 'quiet diplomacy' to current President Jacob Zuma's assertive stance – amid competing domestic and international interests. The timely paper was published on the backdrop of 27 November 2013 claims by Mbeki that Tony Blair, former British prime minister, had been prepared to use military force to overthrow Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe in the early 2000s. Blair's camp strongly denied the allegations.
The various options available to a country that wishes to face and address the legacy of grave crimes perpetrated against, and at times even by, its people in efforts to acquire justice for survivors of conflict are the focus of the latest Policy & Practice Brief published by the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes. With reference to the recently launched reconciliation process in South Sudan, the Brief examines the options available and the benefits of reconciliation as opposed to retributive justice.
The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) was recently represented in a meeting of African think tanks which aimed to discuss the way forward for the Africa Portal, an open access online knowledge resource for policy-related issues on Africa. The meeting, which was held on 11 November 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa, was hosted by the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).
Although large-scale agricultural land transaction is not a new phenomenon in Africa, the global financial and food crises that simultaneously erupted in 2007/2008 triggered a renewed interest in Africa's agricultural land. Some have labelled the current trend 'land grabbing', others cautiously speak of 'large-scale land acquisitions', while the World Bank calls it 'rising global interest in farmland'. Whatever terminology is employed to characterise this phenomenon, Africa is faced with the reality that large swathes of its farmland are being sold or leased out to large-scale investors.
Anthropological and socio-historical studies of the pre-colonial African Great Lakes region have testified to long periods of political stability as well as socio-economic development under various kingdoms and chiefdoms which comprised the region. Shockingly, however, most of the recorded history of the post-colonial African Great Lakes region depicts a scenario of elusive peace, punctuated by severe political turmoil as well as a socio-economic fabric torn apart by violence. Against this background, ACCORD recently hosted an Internal Staff Seminar to unpack the origins of conflicts in the region and present strategies for resolving these.
The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) recently published a Policy & Practice Brief (PPB) entitled The OAU/AU and an Africa at peace with itself: Time for serious business. Authored by ACCORD Senior Research Fellow Angela Muvumba Sellström, this brief forms part of ACCORD's contribution to the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the 1963 founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU)/African Union (AU).
ACCORD has participated in the International Conference on the Legacy of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) with the aim of acquiring more in-depth understanding of the Rwandan experience as the ICTR prosecutorial mandate comes to an end, and to explore areas of possible research collaboration with participating institutions and organisations. The conference brought together 40 acclaimed presenters and over 60 participants with a variety of expertise in international criminal justice. It sought to probe the role of the ICTR and examine its successes, failures and challenges in a bid to evaluate the Tribunal's legacy on the eve of its closure.
Although secessionist movements in various parts of sub-Saharan Africa were common in the 1980s and 90s, only Eritrea and South Sudan managed to gain independence, in 1993 and 2011 respectively. The question still remains, however, whether these countries are on track in addressing the main peacebuilding, state building and democratic consolidation challenges that emerged in the aftermath of secession.
In line with its commitment to promote gender equality and gender-sensitive approaches to peacebuilding and conflict management, ACCORD participated in an Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Conference to Launch Gender Milestones. The milestones are the Regional Strategy for Higher Representation of Women in Decision Making Positions, Regional Action Plan for Implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions and IGAD Women and Peace Forum.
In fulfilling its mandate of providing support to national, regional and continental frameworks as well as initiatives aimed at conflict prevention and mediation, ACCORD, through its Peacemaking Unit, has participated in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Consultation on "Building National Peace Infrastructures: Strengthening National, Regional and Continental Co-ordination in Conflict Prevention."
As a member institution of the African Peace Support Trainers' Association (APSTA), the Training for Peace in Africa Programme at ACCORD (TfP/ACCORD) has participated in the 11th Annual General Meeting, themed "Working together to improve the capacity for peace support operations in Africa: the role, contribution and opportunities for APSTA in supporting African Union (AU) responsibility in maintaining peace and security".
- TfP hosts Fourth Annual African Standby Force Civilian Focal Points Planning meeting
- ACCORD engages in Civilian Capacities Network meeting in Oslo
- ACCORD conducts conflict assessment skills training for South Sudanese female parliamentarians
- ACCORD and CAPCR to co-host 4th International Africa Peace and Conflict Resolution conference in Johannesburg in July 2014
- ACCORD participates in consultation on UN Women South Africa multi-country draft strategic plan
- ACCORD Executive Director calls for 21st century to be the 'century of peace' at United Nations special event
- ACCORD hosts annual GPPAC Southern Africa regional steering committee meeting
- ACCORD trains Zimbabwean Ecumenical Church Leaders Forum in mediation and dialogue skills
- ACCORD supports development of peacebuilding projects in post-conflict countries
- ACCORD trains South Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission and Special Parliamentary Committee on Peace and Reconciliation in conflict analysis and mediation
- Internal seminar examines communal conflicts in South Sudan
- ACCORD Signs a Memorandum of Understanding with AMISOM
- ACCORD hosts briefing on AMISOM in Pretoria, South Africa
- ACCORD attends workshop on how conflict affects men and masculinities
- ACCORD's Jannie Malan presents 'magnificent paper' at Oxford Round Table on Religion
- ACCORD and UN co-host first Peacebuilding Fund Workshop
- Report from inaugural High Level Retreat of the AU Panel of the Wise
- ACCORD hosts academic writing skills workshop for staff
- ACCORD’s Peacemaking Unit conducts a mediation training for AU and RECs
- TfP/ACCORD attends UN Training of Trainers Course for Protection of Civilians