By Keenan Govender
ACCORD facilitated a panel discussion on the ongoing conflict in the Cabo Delgado province of Northern Mozambique. This webinar titled, “Peacebuilding in Cabo Delgado: What Role for Non-State Actors?” took place on Friday, 21 May 2021 and was moderated by Mr João Honwana, Senior Political Advisor at ACCORD.
As there are several dimensions to understanding the insurgency, ACCORD facilitated the webinar to reflect on and assess the dynamics underpinning the ongoing insurgency in Cabo Delgado. More importantly, the webinar sought to understand the role, if any, non-state actors and in particular; civil society, academia, and faith-based organizations can play in building peace in the region. The webinar therefore brought together a cross-section of representatives from civil society, academia, the private sector, and faith-based organisations. Ms. Cídia Chissungo, the Founder and Coordinator of the National Solidarity Campaign for Cabo Delgado, Ms Quitéria Guirengane, the President of the Young Women Leader’s Network; Dr João Feijó, Assistant Researcher and Coordinator of the Technical Council at the Observatorio de Meio Rural (OMR); Mr Emmerson Ubisse, Researcher at the Christian Council of Mozambique in Cabo Delgado (CCM-CD), and Mr Assif Osman, CEO of the Osman Yacob Group; all shared their insights into some of the potential opportunities for their respective communities to play a role in finding a solution to the current situation in Cabo Delgado. The webinar also included the sharing of experiences from other efforts in Africa where civil society, in particular, have been involved in peacebuilding efforts, and how these case studies may assist in thinking through responses to the situation in Cabo Delgado.
The webinar enabled ACCORD, the represented communities, and their partners on the ground, to garner an enhanced understanding of the role that civil society, academia, the private sector, and faith-based communities play, or can play, in early warning and conflict management. Moreover, the webinar examined how these respective communities may work cohesively to ensure the peaceful resolution of conflict in Cabo Delgado. The sharing of knowledge and experiences by the respective groups on the conflict contributes towards the early-warning and mitigation of conflict by enhancing overall knowledge of the drivers of conflict. The specific focus on civil society and extra-governmental dynamics, help to support efforts by non-state actors to undertake interventions in the region. Furthermore, the webinar was well positioned within ACCORD’s strategic pillar 5, which aims to increase knowledge, policy support and response to the drivers of conflict. This webinar is part of a series of discussions taking place to find sustainable approaches to mitigate conflict at the national and regional levels.