United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Conflict Prevention and Peace Building Network for the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa

On 21 May 2008, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, welcomed the generous support from the Government of Japan regarding the project entitled “Conflict Prevention and Peace Building Network for the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa” with a budget of US$1,500,000 through the Japanese Funds-in-Trust for the Capacity- building of Human Resources.

The objective of this project is to help strengthen a network of active non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in conflict prevention and resolution, and in peace-building in the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa (HoA).

In the recent past, many African countries have experienced a variety of conflicts which are mainly intra-state, sub-regional, complex in nature and very difficult to resolve. At the same time they are very expensive and time-consuming to handle. The rate of occurrence of these regional conflicts has been of great concern to the international community, hence the need for establishing conflict prevention structures and mechanisms.

African Countries themselves have demonstrated a strong desire to solve their own problems, notably through the African Union (AU), its Peace and Security Council (PSC) and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs). These entities have played a major role in ensuring a comprehensive approach to conflict prevention and peace building. In addition, civil society, NGOs, local communities, and the private sector contribute strongly to this approach. Worth mentioning is the Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the African Union (ECOSOCC), in which all segments of society are invited to work with the AU, thereby helping it to mobilize the rich and diverse human and institutional resources at the grassroots level.

In this context, this Conflict Prevention and Peace Building Network Project aims to strengthen this approach in terms of developing the capacity of active non-governmental organizations in the field. These NGOs, dealing with conflict prevention, peace-building, and peace education, as well as those that offer non-military support systems to disarmament, demobilization and social reintegration, will help governing institutions and systems to manage conflict and harness the positive potential of diversity and peaceful coexistence.

The project aims at strengthening their institutional and personnel capacities to prevent, manage, and mitigate conflicts in constructive, non-violent and sustainable ways. This includes enhancing capacities to: anticipate and respond to crisis; work within conflict-ridden environments; enrich development practices with conflict resolution principles and tools; and empower NGOs, civil societies, and national institutions to establish early warning responses.

The implementation of this regional project will benefit several countries (Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda). The project will also benefit sub-regional organizations such as the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD)* and the Secretariat of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region** as well as the regional partners working in peace-building training.

Under the overall coordination of the Africa Department (AFR), this project will be implemented by UNESCO’s Regional Programme of Education for Emergencies and Reconstruction (PEER), in collaboration with BREDA (Bureau Regional pour l’Education en Afrique) and IICBA (International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa). The Japan Centre for Conflict Prevention (JCCP) will be the main international implementing partner of UNESCO. Similarly, local partners will be selected on the basis of the relevance of their experience to participate in the project activities.

The project will also involve key actors in the UN system engaged in conflict prevention and peace-building such as the UNDP Peace Building Programme in the target countries.

The Director-General of UNESCO was extremely pleased to see that this project was launched prior to the forthcoming Tokyo International Conference on African Development, TICAD IV (28-30 May 2008, Yokohama, Japan) - as evidence of the enhanced cooperation in support of African countries between the Government of Japan and UNESCO.

Since TICAD was launched in 1993 in order to promote high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and development partners, Japan has been playing a very active role in providing assistance to African countries focusing on the dual principle of African "ownership" and international "partnership". A central feature of this framework is the cooperation between Asia and Africa.


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* Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD): Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda

** Secretariat of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region: Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia

Author(s): Office of the Spokeswoman - Source: Flash Info N° 059-2008 -  Publication Date: 21-05-2008

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