East African Community develops a draft conflict prevention, management and resolution (CPMR) mechanism

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Without peace and stability, all our remarkable integration achievements will fall like a castle built on sand. Trade and development can only thrive in a secure and peaceful environment, says Hon. Kiraso

The East African Community (EAC) Deputy Secretary General in charge of Political Federation, Hon. Beatrice Kiraso, has underlined the need for establishment of a distinct regional Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution (CPMR) mechanism to avoid responding to conflicts in an ad-hoc manner, usually only after conflicts have already erupted and on an individual country approach basis.

“A case in point is the recent post-electoral violence in Kenya and the crisis around the Migingo Island between Kenya and Uganda, where EAC was not able to intervene as a regional organization because it didn’t have a legal and institutional framework enabling it to engage in those conflicts,” Hon Kiraso noted Tuesday 9th February, when opening a two-day workshop to develop an EAC” CPRM framework in Arusha.

Experts have been drawn from regional institutions, African Union (AU) and international organizations to develop a zero draft that will soon be considered by EAC Partner States.

EAC needs a region-specific mechanism because of its comparative advantage of being close to the sources of conflicts and sharing similar cultural backgrounds.

“Without peace and stability, all our remarkable integration achievements will fall like a castle built on sand. Trade and development can only thrive in a secure and peaceful environment,” she stressed, adding that the vision of EAC was to have a peaceful, stable and politically united East Africa.

Hon. Kiraso further emphasized that Article 124 of the Treaty establishing the EAC articulates that peace and security are pre-requisites to social and economic development within the Community and vital to the achievements of the objectives of the Community.

“Issues of governance, identity, extreme poverty, access to political power, use and allocation of resources have resulted in the displacement of thousands of people from their homes, loss of life, destruction of property and environmental degradation if not checked, these will greatly undermine the progress of EAC,” Hon. Kiraso warned.

The EAC Deputy Secretary General urged conflict prevention rather than conflict management and resolution.

“Large amounts of resources have been used for post-conflict reconstruction and peace building and yet far fewer resources would have required if early action had been taken,” she stated.

She informed the experts that both the EAC Strategy for Peace and Security and the Protocol required EAC Secretariat to establish mechanisms that would enable the five Partner States to identify causes and address violent conflicts in its region.

The experts are expected to fine tune the working document prepared by the Secretariat and come up with a first draft of a mechanism that would give the EAC the tools for engaging in preventive diplomacy, conflict management and resolution as well as post-conflict reconstruction.

“The CPMR mechanism we are developing is meant to have as its epicenter human security in the EAC region. As we shape strategies towards Political Federation, human security must be at the centre of our priorities,” she concluded.

Source: East African Community (EAC)

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