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  • GPPAC, the African Union and the Great Lakes Process

The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) is a world-wide civil society led process to generate a new international consensus on peace building and the prevention of armed conflict.

GPPAC arose out of the United Nations Secretary General’s 2001 Report in which he called for the active engagement of civil society organisations in conflict prevention efforts and peace building, as opposed to the reactive approaches that had dominated civil society conflict intervention strategies. SRIC has been participating in the process in collaboration with the Regional Initiator, the Nairobi Peace Initiative-Africa (NPI).

A number of meetings and workshops were held in Nairobi prior to the New York July 2005 Conference and SRIC participated directly through a representative who input expertise on small arms and light weapons issues and also input on security sector dynamics. SRIC Representative was part of the New York Delegation headed by the Regional Initiator, NPI – Africa.

Following a GPPAC Prep Conference held in Nairobi, a Small Arms and Conflict Prevention Working Group was formed. SRIC Rep has been an active and resourceful member of the Working Group. The Working Group held a total of three sessions of meetings at New York over the three days of the Conference. The Working Group came up with a Report of the Small Arms and Conflict Prevention Working Group for the GPPAC Conference. The Report details forms of violent conflict, processes and the impact of small arms in conflict.

As a follow-up to the GPPAC process, three general recommendations were made. Development of guideline notes on how best to enable the conflict prevention community to integrate small arms issues into their work. The integration of small arms issues into conflict analysis and assessment frameworks. The third point of emphasis is assisting civil society actors in incorporating small arms issues in their work with community, government and other actors.

  • International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR)

The International conference on the Great Lakes Region emerged from a proposal by the UN Secretary General in 1999 as a response to the conflicts characterizing the Great Lakes region, particularly the conflict in the DRC, and the consequences of the Rwanda Genocide in 1994. The UN Secretary General's proposal was followed by two resolutions of the UN Security Council in February 2000 to the effect that due to the threat to international Peace and Security caused by the conflict in DRC, there was need to hold an international conference on Peace, Security, Democracy and Development in the Great Lakes region to be organized at an appropriate time under the auspices of the UN and the AU, with the participation of all governments of the region and other stakeholders.

The call for an international conference was underpinned by the recognition of three crucial issues regarding the situation in the region. First is the recognition that the current conflict in the DRC has regional dimensions; second is the fact that the people of the Great Lakes Region are so interlinked ethnically, culturally and linguistically that the instability initially generated by purely internal causes in each country quickly spreads to generate and maintain the dynamic of conflict in the entire region; and third is the need to seek, within a regional framework, solutions to the conflict and instability endemic to the constituent states. Under the Peace and Security cluster, the ICGLR has identified conflict prevention as a crucial strategy through which governments, civil society and other stakeholders can meaningfully address the persistent conflicts in the region.

SRIC was a key participant in the preparatory process for the first summit in 2004, represented by two resourceful individuals and is now deeply involved in the technical thematic task force (TTTF) on Peace and Security cluster charged with developing (jointly with the joint AU/UN Secretariat) protocols, programs and projects for presentation before the heads of state during the second summit scheduled for Nairobi in the second half of 2006.

SRIC Representative is one the three Technical Experts on this cluster representing the government of Kenya. Extensive consultations involving this team and other teams from the member states to the conference, the joint AU/UN Secretariat and representatives from a wide array of regional organizations, the group of friends and other interested parties have thus far culminated in the development of a Regional Program of Action for Peace and Security.

The Regional Program of Action for Peace and Security has two sub-programs namely, the Sub-Program on Joint Security Management of Common Borders and the sub-program on Promotion of Inter-State Cooperation on Peace and Security Issues.

Under the sub-program on Joint Security Management of Common Borders, Four priority projects and there estimated costs have been agreed upon namely:-

 

1.1.1

Disarmament and Repatriation of All Armed Groups in Eastern DRC

1.1.2

 

 

Disarmament of armed Pastoralists and promotion of Sustainable Development in Zone 3

 

1.1.3

Development of Border Zones and Human Security

1.1.4

Demining and Mine-Action in the GLR

With regard to the Sub-Program on Promotion of Inter-State Cooperation on Peace and Security Issues, two priority Projects have been agreed upon. These are:-

1.2

Project to fight the proliferation of illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons

1.2

Project on Transnational Crime and Terrorism

In addition to this program of Action is a Protocol on Non-Aggression, Mutual Defence and Peaceful Resolution of Conflicts among States in the Great Lakes Region. This protocol will be presented to Heads of State during the second summit for discussion and signing. The signing of the protocol is crucial for the subsequent implementation of the Program of Action.

It is noteworthy that SRIC is a major civil society player in this process and hopes to play a key role in the implementation phase of the program once it has been adopted by the Heads of State during the upcoming second summit.

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