ACCORD hosts briefing on AMISOM in Pretoria, South Africa
22 Aug 2013
ACCORD has organised a briefing session entitled "Somalia Briefing: Perspectives from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)" – led by Ambassador Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia and Head of Mission. The briefing session included reflections on AMISOM's work thus far in Somalia, highlighted the areas of priority assistance to the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), and provided insights on the political and security situation in the country. The session was organised by the Training for Peace Programme at ACCORD (TfP/ACCORD), in conjunction with the ACCORD Somalia Initiative. The briefing session was held on 1 August 2013, at Burgers Park Hotel in Pretoria, South Africa. During the briefing, Ambassador Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the SRCC and Head of Mission, highlighted the lessons learned from AMISOM, which serves as an example of an African initiative for peace and security on the continent. ACCORD's Executive Director, Mr. Vasu Gounden presented an overview of ACCORD's engagement in Somalia, which emanated in the 1990s, and shed light on the partnership between AMISOM and ACCORD to assist the FGS, formalised with signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 30 July 2013. The briefing session was chaired by former South African Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and ACCORD Senior Political Advisor, Mr. Aziz Pahad, and a vote of thanks delivered by Ambassador Billy Modise, ACCORD Trustees Board Member. The briefing session was attended by other delegates from AMISOM, such as Mr. Ali Mahamat Zene, Deputy Special Representative and Head of Mission (DSRCC/HoM); Mr. James Gadin, AMISOM Political Affairs Officer; Mr. Selidji Gbaduidi, AMISOM Head of Finance; and Mr. Ian Chingwalu Senior Human Resource Officer – and in addition, representatives from the South African Government, including the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), Department of Defence (DoD), the Department of Correctional Services, and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development; the Pan-African Parliament; African and other diplomatic missions based in South Africa, such as the United States, Turkey, Kenya, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Finland, France, Burundi, Norway, Eritrea; the African Union Peace Support Operations Division (AU PSOD); academic institutions and civil society organisations such as Institute for Security Studies (ISS), Doctors Without Borders, Pan-African Parliament, Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA), the South African Institute for International Affairs (SAIIA), the State Security Agency (SSA), the South African Liaison office (SALO); and the media, such as Channel Africa, SAMOSA, and the South African Broadcasting Cooperation (SABC). ACCORD was further represented by Mr. Senzo Ngubane, General Manager: Operations; Mr. Kwezi Mngqibisa, Somalia Initiative Coordinator; Ms. Seun Abiola, Peacekeeping Unit Acting Coordinator; and Ms. Barbara Mohale, Peacekeeping Unit Programme Officer. The briefing session offered an opportunity for AMISOM to share its experience in support of the FGS in its efforts to stabilize the situation in Somalia, through the implementation of its mandate as set out in the Communiqué issued by the AU Peace and Security Council at the end of its 127th Meeting held on 19 January 2007. In particular, Ambassador Mahamat Saleh Annadif was able to reflect on the challenges of the mission, and the unique opportunities for success in the implementation of the Somalia's policy framework for the stabilization and reconstruction, as outlined in the Six-pillar strategy and National Security and Stabilization Plan. There was also interactive discussion with the representatives of the various continental and regional institutions, diplomatic missions, academic and civil society institutions, as well as the media on pertinent issues affecting the peace consolidation processes in Somalia. The engagement emphasised the need for regional, continental and international partnerships amongst various stakeholders, most especially the strengthening of African relations to add value to the notion of finding African solutions to African problems. ACCORD's engagement and partnership with AMISOM reflects its support to peace and security in Somalia. The areas of cooperation outlined in the MoU between AMISOM and ACCORD, include support to: political processes in Somalia and the inclusion of key stakeholders; coherence and coordination between internal and external actors; gender mainstreaming in AMISOM's operations and enhancement of the situation of women in Somalia; institutional development in Somalia; policy development to support AMISOM; and capacity-building for AMISOM personnel. The MoU is the outcome is the result of increased engagement between the Training for Peace in Africa (TfP) Programme under the Peacekeeping Unit, which has been supporting AU Peace Support Operations such as AMISOM to enhance its policies, systems, capacity and capability to successfully implement its mandate. However, the MoU articulates a broader partnership between AMISOM and ACCORD, and extends to all units and programmes within ACCORD, noting the need for various initiatives which go beyond the mandate and strategic focus of the Peacekeeping Unit at ACCORD. This includes the ACCORD Somalia Initiative, which was established in Mogadishu, Somalia, to contribute towards Somalia's reconstruction through capacity building; provision of technical assistance in state and institution building; and project management relating to issues of governance. The Training for Peace in Africa (TfP) Programme at ACCORD is an initiative funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For more information on ACCORD's work through the TfP Programme, please contact Ms. Seun Abiola, Peacekeeping Unit Acting Coordinator on firstname.lastname@example.org, and Ms. Olivia Davies, Peacekeeping Unit Programme Officer on email@example.com. For more information on ACCORD's work through the ACCORD Somalia Initiative, please contact Mr. Kwezi Mngqibisi, Somalia Initiative Coordinator on firstname.lastname@example.org, and Ms. Caroline Sipalla, Country Programmes Senior Programme Officer on email@example.com.