Peacebuilding Processes in the Great Lakes Region of Africa
From June 16-17, 2022, members of the Southern Voices Network for Peacebuilding (SVNP) hosted the Regional Policy Conference, "Peacebuilding in the Great Lakes Region," in Kampala, Uganda. The Women’s International Peace Centre (The Peace Centre), the Centre d’Etudes pour l’Action Sociale (CEPAS), the Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (IPAR-Rwanda), and the Centre for Conflict Management (CCM) of the University of Rwanda co-hosted the conference.
The countries in Africa’s Great Lakes Region (GLR) have been prone to conflict for several decades and have witnessed some of the worst conflicts on the African continent, reflected by the genocide in Rwanda, civil war in Burundi and South Sudan, conflict in Sudan (Darfur), cross-border conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), exacerbated by internal and external illegal armed groups and, more recently, sectarian conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR). Tensions in the GLR, especially since the end of the Cold War, have also been fueled by attempts to accumulate wealth, often through the exploitation of natural resources and control over informal cross-border trading activities. The dynamics of the conflict in the GLR are complex and rooted in the legacies of colonialism, nationality and identity, ethnic tensions and discrimination, lack of rule of law, violation of human rights, political exclusion, and a wide range of development challenges, including poor governance (including corruption), poverty and youth disenfranchisement, the collapse of the democratic process, and coming to power of military leadership.
Amid continued violence, there have been a number of formal and informal attempts—locally, regionally, and internationally—to establish peace in the region, but conflicts persist. Tackling the regional dimensions of the conflict in the GLR is crucial for sustainable peace and development in the region.
This regional conference, “Peacebuilding Processes in the Great Lakes Region,” aimed to interrogate peacebuilding in the region by focusing on the root causes of the conflict in the region and the various attempts to build peace. The conference also evaluated the role of regional institutions and the various peace agreements in the countries in the region. By assessing the implementation of the various national and regional peace frameworks, lessons were drawn and strategies were developed for more effective approaches to peacebuilding in the region.
- To provide a platform for SVNP members and policy makers to discuss key opportunities and suggest solutions towards addressing some of the key challenges of peace building in the GLR.
- To gain a deeper understanding of the root causes of conflict in the GLR and efforts to resolve them, drawing from lessons.
- To interrogate the role of different stakeholders in building peace in the region.
- To reflect on the current dynamic in the context of COVID-19 and its impact on peace building in the region.
- Provide a platform to create collaboration and networking among SVNP members in the region and policy makers.
- A deepened and shared understanding of critical changes that need to happen to promote peace in the GLR.
- Strategies developed for more effective approaches to peace building in the GLR.
- Strengthened solidarity and improved networking and collaboration with policymakers for the SVNP on matters related to peacebuilding in Africa.
This regional policy conference was part of the Southern Voices Network for Peacebuilding (SVNP) series designed to bring SVNP, local and regional stakeholders and policymakers for a policy-oriented dialogue on an issue of a set of issues of importance to that region – in this case, the Great Lakes Region of Africa.
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