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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.

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Conclusion and recommendations

For nearly three decades, since the end of the Cold War, Africa has witnessed a significant increase in the active involvement of its RECs in conflict prevention and peacebuilding, across all its five regions: north, east, west, central and southern. Initially envisioned as pillars for the achieving the economic cooperation and development and regional integration objectives of the African Union, the RECs have since evolved to play regional lead roles in peace and security broadly, and conflict prevention. Their engagement reaffirms the inextricable linkages between peace and security and development, demonstrating that one cannot be realized without the other.

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