South Africa: Building Capacity for Human Security

South Africa is perhaps the most important case study of successful, locally owned peacebuilding and human security. Intensive training and coaching of South African leaders in negotiation, mediation and conflict analysis supported the intense transition from apartheid to political democracy. Local level peacebuilding efforts added up to national-level peacebuilding. As one of the most inspiring success stories of locally-led peacebuilding, South Africa’s independent and highly skilled civil society played important roles in both local and high-level negotiation and mediation processes. Growing out of this experience, South Africans are now in a position to assist in peaceful transitions to democracy in other countries through the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD). ACCORD takes a non-sectarian, independent stance to advance human security.

ACCORD’s Training for Peace (TfP) Programme began in 1995 to build the capacity of civil society and the security sector in peacebuilding, particularly in Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, Burundi and countries in the South African Development Community (SADC), but also further afield in Europe and elsewhere. ACCORD runs the TfP programme in collaboration with The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Pretoria; the Kofi Annan International Peace Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra; and the Norwegian Institute for International Affairs (NUPI) in Oslo. Approximately 7000 civilians, police and military – many currently serving in UN and African peace operations – have been trained through the TfP Programme, and about 300 publications have been produced, encompassing research papers, books, reports, manuals, readers and handbooks.

The TfP Programme's primary purpose is to significantly improve the civilian capacity of African states, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) / Regional Mechanisms (RMs), the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) to prepare, plan, manage and monitor multi-dimensional peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations in Africa. This is done through a combination of training, applied research and policy development, towards:

• Contributing towards the development of a multi-dimensional and integrated approach to African peace operations;

• Building civilian capacity for AU and UN peace operations;

• Assisting the AU and the RECs/RMs in the development of the civilian structures of their standby forces and PLANELMs; and

• Creating awareness on the civilian dimension of the ASF.

Training of civilian and police peacekeeping and peacebuilding personnel takes place in “classrooms, boardrooms, in halls of power and the African bush” with a focus on conflict analysis, negotiation and mediation, the role of civilians, particularly women, in peace and security. ACCORD works closely with the African Civilian Standby Roster for Humanitarian and Peacebuilding Missions (AFDEM), whose role is to provide the link between training and deployment. Graduates of the TfP are screened and placed on AFDEM's standby roster. AFDEM also facilitates deployment to UN or African peace operations, UN agencies or civil society organizations.

ACCORD also takes part in gender mainstreaming and integrating the women, peace and security agenda in peace operations, having over two decades of practical experience in peacekeeping and the implementation of UNSCR 1325 (See Fiji case study on women, peace and security in this report). ACCORD facilitates capacity building for women to understand the UN Secretary General’s Senior Women Talent Pipeline Project (SWTP) that aims to increase the number of senior level women in peacekeeping missions.

The first phase of the project led to the identification of 64 women for the Pipeline and deployment of 4 senior women to UN peace operations in the areas of Political Affairs, Rule of Law and Security Institutions, Civil Affairs, Public Information and Communication. The second phase rolled out in November 2014, with an emphasis on French and Arabic speakers, and led to an additional 27 women joining the Pipeline. As part of the third phase of the project begun in May 2015, ACCORD/TfP is working with the UN to identify and train more women to apply to top-level UN peacekeeping missions. ACCORD also plays roles in training UN and African Union staff in gender sensitivity to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and protection of men, women, boys and girls.

ACCORD’s Peacekeeping Unit focuses on improving the capability and professionalism of UN Civil Affairs; the development of a strategic framework on protection of civilians in UN peacekeeping operations; clarifying the peacekeeping-peacebuilding nexus; and enhancing civilian capacities. It has specifically focused on civil affairs, and has conducted research to understand the specific context and needs of Civil Affairs Officers. The Unit conducts specialized tailored in-mission conflict management training courses and supports the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) Peacekeeping Best Practices Section (PBPS) in the roll out of the Civil Affairs Skills Training Methodology. It has also developed a Civil Affairs Handbook (launched in April 2012) that serves as a reference guide for (Civil Affairs) Officers in the field.

Excerpt from the book Local Ownership in Security: Case Studies of Peacebuilding Approaches edited by Lisa Schirch with Deborah Mancini-Griffoli and published by The Alliance for Peacebuilding, The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.