Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (centre, blue tie) addresses staff members of the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA) during a visit to their offices at UN Headquarters, New York. Pictured left is the Department's chief, B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs (UN Photo/Evan Schneider)
The African Union Commission convenes to analyse the underlying causes of violent conflicts in Africa.
At the invitation of the African Union Commission’s (AUC) Department for Political Affairs, ACCORD has participated in the Third Annual High Level Dialogue on ‘Democracy, Human Rights and Governance in Africa: Trends, Challenges, Prospects and Opportunities’ convened on 30 and 31 October 2014 in Dakar, Senegal, under the theme ‘Silencing the guns: Strengthening governance to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts in Africa’. The retreat was held with the understanding that development failure and governance deficits lie at the heart of Africa’s violent conflicts. It followed similar consultations focusing on youth and gender which aimed to gauge, together with the relevant constituencies, what needs to be done to silence the guns on the continent by 2020.
Participants were drawn from the AUC, member states, bilateral partners, civil society and think tanks. Discussions at the retreat, presented during panel discussions, focused on the thematic areas of democracy, governance and human rights as critical to silencing the guns.
Mr Vasu Gounden, Founder and Executive Director of ACCORD, gave a presentation on ‘Future opportunities for Africa’, reflecting on Africa’s comparative position vis-í -vis states like Norway. Drawing parallels from post-conflict African countries such as Burundi and South Africa, Mr Gounden demonstrated that the new sets of challenges facing Africa were deeply rooted in the need to respond to socio-economic imbalances which, in the case of South Africa, 20 years of democracy had not succeeded to confront.
The retreat produced an outcome document to serve as a roadmap for the AUC, partners and stakeholders in contributing to efforts towards silencing the guns on the continent. A key recommendation was for African research institutions, universities and think tanks to collaborate and partner with continental and national democratic governance institutions to ensure conflict resolution interventions are based on a holistic understanding and empirical research. In line with this, ACCORD continues to strengthen its partnerships with governments, academic and research institutions, and likeminded organisations to foster knowledge production and dissemination.