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May 2011: - WANEP Hosts the AM of the Africa Alliance for Peacebuilding (AFAP)

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The Annual Meeting of the Africa Alliance for Peacebuilding (AFAP)

Accra, Ghana; 11-12 May, 2011
Speaker: Isaac Olawale Albert, Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies

On 11-12 May 2011, WANEP hosted the 2011 Annual Meeting (AM) of the Africa Alliance for Peacebuilding in Accra, Ghana. The Africa Alliance for Peacebuilding (AFAP) is a collaborative peer learning forum of three leading African peacebuilding organizations, namely the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) which has its regional secretariat in Accra Ghana and with presence in all the 15 ECOWAS member state, Nairobi Peace Initiative – Africa (NPI-Africa) based in Nairobi, and the Africa Center for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) based in Durban, South Africa.

The theme for this year’s AGM of AFAP was “African Solutions for African Problems” and had among others the following objectives:

  • Review of peace and security situation in the African continent
  • Harmonization of AFAP strategies for responding to the current threats to peace and security in the continent
  • Learn from each other’s intervention strategies, challenges and success stories
  • Strategies for Leveraging on each organization’s strength and areas of expertise
  • Enhance institutional collaboration and programming
  • Discuss the modalities for sustaining AFAP and its relevance in the continent

Delivering the keynote speech to an audience of diverse stakeholders from the civil society, government and faith based organizations, the keynote speaker, Professor Isaac Olawale Albert of the Institute for African Studies; University of Ibadan, Nigeria explained that finding African Solutions to African Problems was not a new ideology as notable leaders like Kwame Nkrumah in his book, I speak of Freedom, (1909-1972) observed that “Africans must find an African solution to African problems, and that this can only be found in African unity”.

The speaker enunciated the myriad of African challenges of our time to include but not limited to general lack of development, gross human rights violations, inability to organize free and fair elections, perennial armed conflicts and small scale insurgencies, political instability, unrelenting economic crises, financial corruption, wasteful spending, famine, diseases and poverty, all of which have become trademarks of the African continent. He challenged the AfAP members and the audience to redefine its approaches to dealing with these issues in order to realize the African dream of the founding fathers and mothers.

Taking the discussions further, AFAP partners in the course of their 2 day deliberations analyzed the African continent and the various challenges in each of the regions, sharing their experiences and lessons learned. The meeting ended with clear actionable points towards confronting the African challenges through a coordinated Civil Society in partnership with the African Union and the various Regional Economic Councils (RECs).

The next General Meeting of AFAP will be hosted by ACCORD in South Africa.

Click on this link to view Activity Workshop in Pictures

April 2011: Press Release -- Responding to Electoral Disputes in West Africa

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Responding to Electoral Disputes in West Africa

It is often said that regular organization of election does not make for a democracy. However, the organization of credible and peaceful elections is indispensable to the consolidation of democracy. Over the years, it has become evident that organizing free, fair, and peaceful elections as well as accepting the outcomes peacefully has become a serious challenge to the democratisation process and stability in West Africa. Electoral disputes are becoming the norm. In short, elections-related violence is threatening to undo the fragile peace and security of countries across the sub-region . . . .

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Click on this link to view Activity Workshop in Pictures

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April 2011: Short Report on the Civil Society Dialogue Meeting in the Netherlands

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The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC)

Short Report on the Civil Society Dialogue Meeting in the Netherlands on the theme: Local Civil Society in Peacebuilding: No Watch Dogs but Guiding Dogs

On Wednesday the 6th April, the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) in collaboration with IKV Pax Christi and the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO) organised a Civil Society Dialogue Network (CSDN) Member States Meeting in The Hague, the Netherlands on the topic of “Peacebuilding, Statebuilding and Situations of Fragility". The meeting was opened by the Minister for Development Cooperation and European Affairs of the Netherlands, Ben Knapen and Emmanuel Bombande, GPPAC Chair.

Minister Knapen, amongst other things, stated that in crisis situations national responses to conflict, for example through the deployment of armed forces, will be much faster than those from the European level. He further commented that the EU is better at giving a unified response when focusing on “soft power”, in a phase when violence can still be prevented. “That is where the added value of the EU lies.” He underlined the importance of a greater engagement of the EU in conflict prevention and peacebuilding, as the EU is still “punching below its weight”.

Subsequently, Emmanuel Bombande emphasized the overall objective of GPPAC to move from reaction to prevention in responding to armed conflicts. As exemplified by recent experiences in Libya and Cote D´Ivoire, clearly any response to a conflict where violence has already erupted is in essence too late. Learning from these experiences, the international community should be able to establish a more clear threshold for intervention, to prevent armed conflict and violations of universal human rights principles.

Around 100 people attended the meeting, including Reverend Ramadan Chan Liol, General Secretary of the Sudan Council of Churches, a member of GPPAC. In his contribution the Reverend stressed that a new war between North and South Sudan has been prevented in the last year and a half, amongst other things because of timely pressure from the international community – EU, AU and UN – on the leaders in Khartoum. Pressure which resulted from many, especially local civil society organizations like his own Sudanese Council of Churches, ringing the alarm for potential new violence.

Koen Davidse, Director of the Peacebuilding and Stabilization Unit of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, discussed the many lessons learned from other regions and countries that should be taken into account when supporting places like South Sudan in its quest to become an independent nation without renewed violence erupting. Something that Reverend Ramadan wholeheartedly agreed to, in particular the need for local civil society to be capacitated to take on this key role in peacebuilding. “We do not want to be watch dogs” he said, “We need to become guiding dogs.”

GPPAC is a worldwide network of civil society for building a new international consensus on peacebuilding and the prevention of violent conflict. It works on strengthening civil society networks for peace and security by linking local, national, regional, and global levels of action and by an effective engagement with governments, the UN system, and regional intergovernmental organizations. GPPAC is structured through 15 regional networks worldwide with its Global Secretariat based in The Hague, The Netherlands. WANEP is the West Africa regional representative for the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflicts (GPPAC)

April 2011: Press Release -- Post Presidential Election Violence in Nigeria

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The West Africa Network for Peacebuilding Nigeria on behalf of its over 300 member organisations spread across the six geo political zone expresses deep concern over the growing level of insecurity as a result of election violence spreading across the country. These violence include the recent bomb explosions at Suleja in April 8, Bornu in April 9th and 16th and Kaduna in April 16th as well as the current violent protests in parts of Zamfara, Taraba, Kaduna, Kano, Bornu, Sokoto, Plateau, Bauchi, Gombe, Niger, Adamawa states and FCT Abuja by reported supporters of Congress for Progressive Change CPC presidential candidate Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) as a result of alleged fraud and from the recently concluded elections across the country.

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April 2011: Regional Consultative meeting on the Ivorian Political Crisis

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WANEP in collaboration with AWANIch and support from Urgent Action Fund (UAF) Africa and the Swedish  International Development Agency (SIDA) organized a 2-day regional consultative meeting for Women groups across West Africa to deliberate and strategize on the crisis in CI. The theme of the meeting was ‘Stop Killing Women’. The meeting sought to analyze the crisis and the role of women in addressing the post-conflict issues. Lessons learnt from the actions and interventions of WIPNET and MARWOPNET helped tremendously to map out action plans in the short, medium and long term. At the end of the meeting, a Statement was presented through the good offices of Her Excellency, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the President of Liberia, to ECOWAS and AU.

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Download file to read full statement: "West Africa Women’s Statement on the Ivorian Political Crisis"

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