Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (HSFK/PRIF), Germany in collaboration with the International Peace Support Training Centre (IPSTC) and with the GIZ support to the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) convened a virtual seminar on ‘African Agency in Peace Operations, Peacebuilding and Maritime Security’ on 27 January 2021. The seminar provided a platform for practitioners and scholars to discuss the progress, limits and opportunities for African agency in matters of peace and security particularly on issues relating to peace operations and maritime security.
There have been three topics examined during the webinar:
The first session focussed on peace operations in Africa and the questions on how to integrate regional organisations and local agency and how to increase coordination between all actors engages on a vertical as well as horizontal level. Being torn between the need to reform and the responsibility to act, a major challenge exists regarding the responsibility to intervene. Participants also have gained insights on local aspects of peacebuilding challenged by power structures and imbalances.
The second session discussed the preparedness of Eastern and Western African countries in securing their maritime territories and borders. It was highlighted that maritime security threats go way beyond piracy, talking about illegal fishing, smuggling, trafficking of goods and persons, which have devastating effects on local populations, lead to the loss of government revenues and finally fuels instability and conflict.
The third session examined best practices in preventing violent extremism, including the approaches of rehabilitation and reintegration of former extremists. One of the core findings is that building resilience of youth, for example through enhancing critical thinking, is key to reduce the vulnerability to extremist views and courses of action. Rehabilitation and reintegration of converts, former extremists, former commandants, needs to be a factor in post-conflict life and reconciliation.
A summary of the presentations will be published in the Africa Amani Journal.
The virtual seminar "African Agency in Peace and Security: Peace Operations and Maritime Security" was organized on PRIF's side by Samantha Ruppel. She is a researcher at the Research Department "Glocal Junctions" and conducts research on peacebuilding and critical peace research with a regional focus on African countries.