Report: Southern African Peace and Security Network (SAPSnet) Workshop

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1 Report: Southern African Peace and Security Network (SAPSnet) Workshop General On February 2005 the Southern African Human Security Programme (SAHSP) at the Institute for Security Studies hosted a very successful workshop in collaboration with members of the Southern African Peace and Security network (SAPSnet). 1 The purpose of the workshop was to review the final reports following commissioning of research during 2004 on Human Security issues focusing on the Southern Africa region. Representatives from Tanzania, Zambia, DRC and Zimbabwe embassies and a representative from the South African Department of Foreign Affairs Southern African Development Community (SADC) desk were also present. The Executive Director of the ISS, Dr. Jakkie Cilliers gave the opening remarks. Project Background The last decade witnessed Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) play a crucial role in democratic renewal in the aftermath of the Cold War. The transformation of the OAU into the African Union (AU) aims to change the organization from a multilateral forum for African leaders towards genuine partnership with all segments of society and a sense of ownership by the African people. The adoption of the New Partnership for Africa s Development (NEPAD) has raised expectations of renewed commitment by African Heads of State to better governance and enhanced human security for the continent. Building on this momentum, NGOs in the SADC region have the opportunity to draw on the continent-wide process of translating the African Union s principle of greater civil society engagement into an institutional reality. The SADC civil society project aims to support the development of a collaborative security community in SADC built on common democratic values and institutions, and observance of policies that are informed by a concern for the individual. As part of the process towards achieving this, the ISS identified and supported a core network of NGOs/researchers in 7 SADC countries working on peace and security issues. The partners will engaged in research and provide information relating to specific human security issues in the respective countries within SADC Member States and their contribution/efficacy in the provision of individual security; thereby to track the extent to which the country implements 1 SAPSnet was formed following a workshop that discussed human security in the Southern African Sub-region held in June 2004 at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria. The members of the network are: Africa Institute of South Africa (South Africa), Institute for Strategic Studies (Angola), Labor Optimus (DR Congo), Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation (Tanzania), Lesotho Institute for Public Management and Administration (LIPAM), Public Affairs and Parliamentary Support Trust (PAPST), University of Zambia, Department of Development Studies (Zambia) and the Institute for Security Studies (South Africa). 1

2 and commits to its stated objectives in advancing the peace and security agenda in the region. One recent definition holds that civil society is a realm in which citizens associate with each other to ensure that government responds to their needs and is accountable to them. 2 Therefore, Civil Society is not an alternative to the state it is a complement to state structures. The project thereby seeks to adopt a collaborative approach by having civil society organisations meet governments half way, accepting the offer of greater engagement in public policy-making (as regards to peace and security issues) and pushing the boundaries of this opportunity. It proposes to do so by engaging in policy work in human security. The project draws upon the Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ (SIPO) that was adopted by the SADC Heads of State Summit in August 2003 in Dar es Salaam. The SIPO clearly lists among its objectives: civil society engagement in conflict resolution, public awareness-raising on security issues and establishment of a forum of academic and research institutions to deliberate on peace and security matters. The recent amendments to the SADC Treaty to restructure the organisation include a place for civil society, and more specifically, NGO engagement within the SADC structures and National Committees, which comprise of all key stakeholders (including) government; private sector; civil society; non-governmental organizations; and workers and employers organizations. 3 Research topics/agendas were determined by partners through their engagement with their respective policy makers and stakeholders. The following countries were selected for the first phase: Angola, DR Congo, Lesotho, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The 7 countries were chosen on the basis of the ISS engagement. Project Partners and Themes The countries and themes for review are as follows: 1. TANZANIA Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation: The Zanzibar Conflict: A Pragmatic Approach to Conflict Resolution and the Building of Human Security in The 2005 Multiparty Elections 2. DRC Labor Optimus: Socio-Demographic Profile of Street Youth and Urban Security. The Case Study of Kinshasa 2 Centre for Policy Studies, Civil Society in South Africa, Johannesburg, Agreement amending the SADC Treaty, Art 19 2

3 3. ANGOLA Center for Strategic Studies (CEEA): Education and Youth in Angola post war period 4. ZAMBIA University of Zambia, Department of Development Studies: Human Security, Popular Participation and Poverty Reduction: The case of Zambia 5. ZIMBABWE Parliamentary and Public Affairs Parliamentary Support Trust (PAPST): Review of Zimbabwe's Electoral Systems/Practices and their Impact on Restoring Personal Security and Civil Society Confidence in Elections 6. LESOTHO Lesotho Institute of Public Administration (LIPAM): Developing new and Effective Management Approaches to Combating and Eradicating Stock Theft in Lesotho 7. SOUTH AFRICA Africa Institute of South Africa: Youth Perceptions, Experiences and Reactions To Insecurity in democratic South Africa and their Policy Implications This workshop proved very instrumental not only as a tool to ensure objective research outputs but also in strengthening the credibility of civil society amongst governments. All participants including representatives from the embassies and DFA engaged in open constructive discussions and provided valuable feedback. The government representatives who participated throughout the proceedings expressed appreciation for the opportunity to comment on the research findings before they were disseminated to the public. They hoped that the workshop had set precedent for future engagement between civil society and governments in similar exercises. It was noted that there is often a lack in communication between government and intelligentsia/civil society. Furthermore, the diplomats recommended that civil society should balance constructive criticism by giving credit where it is due and to place more emphasis on constructive engagement when and where necessary. The organizations were advised to develop communication lines with governments further, to maintain and to utilize them. Whilst acknowledging the need for both sides to maintain their specific roles, it was pointed out that the objective of both governments and civil society remains the same, and as such there is need for closer collaboration at both national and regional levels. Civil society was encouraged to continue inviting governments to similar events to nurture trust between the two institutions and for civil society to strengthen partnerships in order to present its agenda as a united front. Governments were 3

4 also called upon to continue acknowledging the important role played by civil society and to strengthen government-civil society partnerships. Civil society was encouraged to engage in issues that enhance development in the region e.g. they could play a role in the monitoring of elections in compliance with SADC Guidelines and Principles Governing Democratic Elections. The Project Partners were applauded for presenting a balanced view of current issues notwithstanding the fluid nature of events in the region. Way Forward The respondents and ISS researchers will provide written comments to the partners to be incorporated into the final reports. It is expected that the manuscripts will be presented for lay out and publishing into a book by 31 st March SASHP was overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and commitment of the partners towards the partnership and the project. The presence of representatives from governments was welcome and it is hoped that this is the beginning of a long term beneficial engagement between the two institutions. The speakers spoke very openly and all the reports were thoroughly discussed. The researchers will follow up with partners to ensure that relevant data and comments are incorporated into the reports. It is recommended that partnerships be maintained as the ISS moves forward with the next civil society project. A number of issues for possible follow up were raised and include the following; 1. The development of civil society especially in countries that are in transition from war specifically Congo and Angola. The ISS should consider providing support through capacity building and the development/strengthening of civil society in these countries especially to enable them to engage with the policy debates in their respective countries. 2. It was also felt that the human security discourse requires further elaboration among the partners. A suggestion was made that the ISS should host a workshop on Human Security in the future. Acknowledgements SAHSP appreciates the commitment and participation of representatives from governments and Project Partners. Support and participation of the Arms Management Programme, Defence Sector Programme, Training for Peace and Regional Projects at the ISS during this workshop is also highly appreciated. Finally, the Institute for Security Studies acknowledges the continued support from the Royal Danish Embassy without whom this project would not have been implemented. 4

5 Compiled by Jemima Njeri Kariri Civil Society Liaison Officer Institute for Security Studies PO Box 1787 Brooklyn Square 0075 Tel /2 Fax /7 5

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