Assessment of the Conflict Prevention Capabilities of African Regional Economic Communities

image of Assessment of the Conflict Prevention Capabilities of African Regional Economic Communities

The Assessment of the Conflict Prevention Capabilities of African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) is an outcome of a six-month-long study that was commissioned by the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA) to map out existing institutional capabilities and gaps, as well as entry points and opportunities, within the RECs in preventing conflicts and addressing the structural or root causes. The study is consistent with the renewed global and continental focus on conflict prevention, which the United Nations and the African Union have respectively identified as a priority for their individual and shared efforts to prevent violent conflicts, promote inclusive sustainable development, and sustain peace on the continent. Seven of the eight African RECs participated in the study, which mapped out their respective geopolitical context necessitating conflict prevention, their organizational or institutional structure, mandate, existing policies and framework documents on conflict prevention, tools and resources for conflict prevention, partnerships and collaboration on conflict prevention, their support to Member States in developing national and local conflict prevention capacities, and lessons learned in institutionalizing conflict prevention. The study covers both the operational and structural dimensions of conflict prevention and concludes with recommendations on key areas for bolstering the conflict prevention capabilities of the RECs.



Overview of commonalities and shared challenges across the Regional Economic Communities

As is clearly illustrated in the preceding sections, there are commonalities and shared challenges in the landscape of conflict prevention and peacebuilding in the various RECs. Evidently, their main objectives of advancing regional multilateralism and integration by deepening cooperation among their respective Member States in the economic, political and social spheres has evolved in response to conflict, violence and crisis situations that have emerged in their regions in the post-Cold War era. In this connection, almost all the RECs, except for AMU, have since established, institutionalized or consolidating their respective regional mechanism or architecture for conflict prevention, management and resolution to deal with the challenges confronting their respective region. While the RECs have all made significant progress in implementing and operationalizing their respective conflict prevention framework or architecture, the gains made have been uneven and varied from one REC to the other. In addition, several challenges remain, even as the landscape of conflict continues to evolve due to persisting, new, emerging and complex threats, root causes and actors.


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