Peace Mediator: Issue 1 - Volume 1 - September 2016 – February 2017
Foreword by: His Excellency Ambassador Smail Chergui, AU Commissioner, Peace and Security
It is my immense pleasure to introduce the first volume of the Peace Mediator, which showcases the efforts undertaken by African institutions and individuals towards contributing to Agenda 2063 and the aim of “Silencing the Guns” by 2020. The collective thinking, reflection and deliberations by individuals and organisations provide us with additional insights on how best to address the various challenges in overcoming violent conflicts in Africa. The first of many volumes to come, the Peace Mediator will ensure that all efforts in mediation and conflict prevention undertaken at Tracks 1, 2 and 3, are highlighted and used as opportunities to draw lessons and nuggets of wisdom with the view of improving our practice in this field, creating synergies, and improving the management of knowledge tools and frameworks that strengthens our collective efforts.
Since 2009, the African Union (AU) has implemented the AU Mediation Support Capacity Project in partnership with the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) and Crisis Management Initiative (CMI). The project seeks and continues to enhance the institutional capability of mediation stakeholders, speci cally the AU and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Regional Mechanisms (RMs), to prevent and peacefully resolve conflicts. This work has been implemented with the support of other partners like the United Nations Department for Political Affairs (UNDPA), the European Union (EU), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GiZ), the Governments of Finland, Norway, Denmark, Italy, and Japan. Mention should also be made to the technical partners that have been with us since the beginning: Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and Folke Bernadotte Academy amongst others. Some of the highlights achieved thus far include the strengthened capacity of AU mediators through trainings, development of tools, such as the AU Standard Operating Procedures in Mediation Support (SOP), the AU Knowledge Management Framework (KMF), and roster of experts that will contribute to the thematic expertise required in the field. Phase II of the Project saw the development and publishing of the AU Mediation Support Handbook which serves as a general reference and field guide for those deployed on AU mediation missions, and as a training tool for the AU mediation support courses. The Project has continuously conducted training in mediation as well as producing knowledge by means of high level discussions. The phases further saw the provision of support to enhance the Economic Community of Central African States’ (ECCAS) mediation capacities to strengthen its role in the peace process in the Central African Republic (CAR). The mapping of African non-state actors and their experiences, lessons, and challenges from mediation processes contributed to linking the AU’s liaison of ces with key non- state actors from their respective sub-regions. These mappings also led to the production of knowledge on the added value of civil society in the field of mediation and conflict prevention.
The current phase of the project, Phase III, is focusing on enhancing the mediation support capacity of the AU and RECs/RMs to plan, deploy, manage and monitor mediation interventions in a timely and effective manner while documenting best practices and lessons learned from these interventions. It also seeks to strengthen the collaboration of the RECs/RMs and the AU towards enhancing and harmonising mediation efforts in Africa. The AU Mediation Capacity Support Project, now in its eight year of operation, has worked and will continue to work towards strengthening the strategic framework and practical mechanisms to enable the AU to further develop its capacity to undertake and support mediation interventions. This newsletter targets audiences far and wide in the field of peace and security and aims to keep us all informed and motivated to strengthen our cause to end violent conflicts on the African continent.
The AU’s sincere gratitude extends to the aforementioned partners, especially the Government of Finland, as they continuously strive to provide support to the AU’s Peace and Security Department to produce knowledge and implement key activities in pursuit of the promotion of peace, security and stability.