Stakeholders call for Enhanced Research in Conflict Prevention and Management

Researchers, policy makers, diplomats, scholars and political leaders from the COMESA region and beyond have called for in depth research into causes of conflict and re-assessment of the current interventions in order to address some of the ongoing geopolitical dynamics in Africa and the world.

This call was made during the inaugural conference to dissect the multiple crises and geopolitical divides that are redefining international relations and diplomacy in the world today.

The conference was organized by the International Relations Society of Kenya (IRSK) with support from COMESA Secretariat and the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD).

Stakeholders from the key sectors in peace and security met from 25 – 27 October in Nairobi Kenya to discuss and make recommendations to address the multiple crises and unprecedented geopolitical changes that have far-reaching implications on future growth and development for the COMESA region and Africa as a whole.

Speaking on behalf of COMESA Secretariat, the Head of Governance, Peace and Security Unit Ms Elizabeth Mutunga described the conference as significantly important to the regional bloc whose programme on peace and security is a product of policy research.

“Whether it is conflict prevention, conflict management or post conflict reconstruction, our programmes have mostly been guided by research and upon assessment of the interventions by other RECs, COMESA has carved its niche around the economic dimensions of conflict,” Ms Mutunga said.

Sha added that the current global environment has manifested in an increase of terrorism and violent extremism for the region and continent, including a rise in unconstitutional changes of governments, hence it is time again to reassess existing interventions to establish if they are fit for purpose.

Delegates hailed the conference as timely in the wake of the current conflicts in the middle east, the aftermath of the COVID-19 and the Ukraine war all of which have negative impacts. The effects of climate change were also discussed as contributing to the complexity of the already complex situations in the world.

Keynote speakers at the hybrid meeting included former COMESA Secretary General Amb. Erastus Mwencha in his capacity as Chairperson African Capacity Building Foundation, H.E. Anthony Okara, Special Amb. African Leaders Malaria Alliance and Dr Vasu Gounden Executive Director of ACCORD.

Others were Ms Rose Makena Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations Office at Nairobi and UNEP. The Swedish ambassador to Kenya H.E. Ms Caroline Vicini and Ms Betty Sungura-Nyabuto National Gender and Equality Commission Chief Executive Officer also spoke at the grand events.