College of Arts and Social Sciences

7th Annual Conference on Peace and Security in the Great Lakes

7th Annual Conference on Peace and Security in the Great Lakes:
“Assessing regional responses for Peace and Security in the Great Lakes Region: A bridge between theories and practices”
COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SOCIAL SCIENCES (CASS)
CENTER FOR CONFLICT MANAGEMENT (CCM):
The 7th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON PEACE AND SECURITY IN THE GREAT LAKES REGION (ICGLR)
ASSESSING REGIONAL RESPONSES FOR PEACE AND SECURITY IN THE GREAT LAKES REGION:

Bridging theories and practices

25-26 June 2015, Kigali, Serena Rwanda

The Center for Conflict Management (CCM), at the College of Social Sciences (CASS), University of Rwanda (UR) in Kigali is pleased to announce its 7th International Conference on Peace and Security in the Great Lakes Region, organized with the financial support ofthe UR-Sweden Programme for Research, Higher Education and Institutional Advancement.

BACKGROUND AND RATIONALE
Over the last decade, regional responses to the problem of insecurity and stability in the Great Lakes region have gained prominence. This has been in part because a great number of planners and willing executioners of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda took refuge in the neighboring countries, especially in the Democratic republic of Congo (DRC), that has further developed into a security complex in the region. The genocide and subsequent conflicts have had devastating effects on the lives of people, state-society and social relations and representations, natural resources, economies and on the often already weak institutions of the state in the sub-region. Such sour experiences coupled with active efforts to deal with these conflicts in a constructive manner have lead the Great Lakes region to accumulate a great deal of experience in the area of peace and security.

Several initiatives and actors are involved in the quest for peace and security in the sub-region. An international response that comprises the “larger” Great Lakes region in the form of an International Conference for the Great Lakes region (ICGLR), has been established as an intergovernmental framework with a view to bolster consensus and a common approach to security in the sub-region. The Tripartite Plus arrangement is a forum between the DRC, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda. The African Union (AU), ICGLR, SADC, UN and eleven regional countries developed a plan of action for the Peace and Security Framework for the DRC and the region. These initiatives and actors have been concerned with issues ranging from natural resources management, preventive diplomacy, economic integration, and genocide prevention. How do these initiatives relate with one another, and with what effects for the quest for peace and security in the Great Lakes?What the ideas about how best to overcome such threats are?Are perceptions of what the most pertinent threats in the region shared?

The United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (known as MONUC) became later the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (known as MONUSCO), and evolved towards a mixof peacekeeping, peacebuilding and peace enforcement with civilian protection and disarmament of illegal groups operating in the DRC, such as the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (Democratic forces of the Liberation of Rwanda, FDLR). How this apparent change has affected the pursuit for peace and security in the Great Lakes? A 3,000- special intervention brigade has been tasked to bolster the UN force, and successfully did so in the case of M23 while failing to persuade the FDLR respond to respect a six-month deadline for voluntary demobilization by January 2, 2015. What these different situations tell us about the promises and perils of regional responses in the Great Lakes? What aspects should be taken into account in the consolidation of these mechanisms for a better protection of civilians (POC) in the Great Lakes region?
The last decade has witnessed the development of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) anda greater involvement of the African Union and sub-regional organizations in the management of armed conflicts or situations of tension and political crisis. What is the potential and limitations of the standby brigades and regional economic communities (REC) in contributing to peace and security in the Great Lakes, with what consequences?

Historically, civil and military operations could be easily segregated. Beyond military solutions, preventive diplomacy including by parliamentarians, that monitors peace and elections processes, interactions and advocacy by transnational secular civil society and faith-based organizations, women groups have been active in the region. How well the political and armed responses, initiated by civilian, police and military forces have converged? What do they tell us about the possibilities and problems of civil –military cooperation in seeking peace and security in the Great Lakes?
Countries of the Great Lakes are signatories to a range of regional and international treaties, declarations and conventions, such as the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), or the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325(2000) and related resolutions. They have also developed regional instruments and declarations, including Regional Action Plans (RAPs) and National Action Plans (NAPs)as part of their women, peace and security agenda.As we are nearing the 15th anniversary of Resolution 1325(2000), what have we learned from their implementation?
It is high time to assess what worked well and what did not, especially as several countries are preparing for presidential elections, a moment that has historically played lead to political violence in Africa.

CONFERENCE AIM AND OBJECTIVES
The aim of this conference is to promote fresh thinking about regional responses for peace and security in the Great Lakes region. The conference seeks to:
• To promote knowledge, understanding and implementation of existing global and regional civil-military coordination guidelines which establish the basic framework to formalize, harmonize and improve the effectiveness
• Highlight examples of good practice in the Great Lakes region, implementation gaps and challenges, and explore comparable experiences from other regions of Africa, in order to identify priorities for research and teaching;

• To continue to build a network of experts and professionals in civil-military coordination to foster mutual knowledge, trust and unity of effort.

The recommendations will be included in the Center for Conflict Management teaching and research program, currently being reviewed. A selection of high quality papers presented at the conference will be considered for special issues of leading academic journals in different fields and/or an edited book volume published by an international publisher. Thisconference, the seventh of its kind, will also build on the six previous conferences of peace and security in the Great Lakes region.

PARTICIPANTS
The conference features more than 30 expert speakers from around the continent and above; governmental and intergovernmental; military, police and civilians; scholars and non-governmental Organizations.

STRUCTURE OF THE CONFERENCE
The conference is a closed event for invited guests. It is organized in plenaries open to the public, which will consist of four keynote speeches delivered by highly informed actors and panel discussions animated by three to four at a time.

The keynote speeches, it is believed, will highlight some of the most crucial issues facing the Great Lakes region, and the African continent more generally, and the ways these issues are being addressed by African and national policymakers, and their foreign partners, civil society organizations and the academia. Having a high-level discussion bridging policy and theories through these keynote speeches and panel discussions, is likely to add value to the upcoming CCM regional research and teaching program in a very significant way.

TIME AND VENUE
The conference will take place at Serena Hotel, in Kigali, Rwandaduring two days, between 25 and 26 June 2015.

Event date: 
Thursday, June 25, 2015