On 21 and 22 November 1995, the Institute for Defence Policy (IDP) and its project partner in the "Training for Peace"
project, the Durban-based African Centre for the Constructive
Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) ran a two day planning and consultative
workshop in Pretoria with representatives of the departments of Defence
and Foreign Affairs of the member countries of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC). This workshop was a first step to plan the
execution of the "Training for Peace" programme - a joint undertaking between IDP, ACCORD and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), in Oslo.
" Training for Peace" was officially launched on Monday 16 October 1995 at a reception in the Carlton Hotel hosted by the Ambassador of Norway, Mr. Jens Otterbech. The guests of honour, Norwegian Deputy Minister for Development Co-operation, Mr. Asbjorn Mathisen and South African Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Aziz Pahad, both emphasised the potential contribution of the project to the establishment of peace and security in the sub-region.
The Norwegian Government is funding this five-year project aimed at enhancing the capacity for international conflict management and peacekeeping among the countries of the sub-region, through the development and presentation of a series of programmes which will contribute towards building a stand-by capacity of personnel within Southern Africa for possible use in future peacekeeping operations. Broad support for this initiative were expressed by officials consulted at the UN, OAU and SADC, and in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania, Mauritius, Malawi and Mozambique. Intensive consultation preceded the finalisation of the project agreement, with UN peacekeeping project head at NUPI, à…ge Eknes and Torunn Tryggestad meeting senior officials in the South African Department of Foreign Affairs, regional actors and the various non-government organisations active in this field.
In fact, the Institute recently announced the publication of an edited volume of papers on this topic, edited by IDP Executive Director Jakkie Cilliers and the Director of Studies at the South African Institute of International Relations, Greg Mills. This book, Peacekeeping in Africa, is a follow-up of the international conference on the same topic, held at Jan Smuts House in Braamfontein during July 1995. Both the book and the conference were funded by the Danish Government.
In terms of the agreement with NUPI, ACCORD with its extensive experience in conflict mediation and resolution, will lead the training component of the programme and will be complemented by IDP. As a result, ACCORD will be hosting a series of training workshops throughout Southern Africa. IDP will, through its dedicated research programme, support the training programme by providing a trainer, publications, and training material. IDP will focus on the military aspects of peacekeeping, while ACCORD will emphasise the civilian and humanitarian components of second generation peacekeeping. Through NUPI and contacts built up by IDP and ACCORD in this field, the project will have access to a number of institutions involved in similar activities, as well as NUPI`s broad international network, including the Department of Peacekeeping Operations at the UN. IDP is, therefore, pleased to announce the appointment at IDP of a Senior Researcher, Mr. Mark Malan, and project assistant Mr. Kgomotso Monnakgotla. Both will join IDP on 1 January 1996. Mark, presently senior lecturer in Politics at the Military Academy in Saldanha Bay, and a regular contributor to the African Security Review, will bring to IDP and the "Training for Peace" project his considerable military and academic skills relating to peacekeeping, civic education and civil-military relations. He will be assisted by Kgomotso, who is completing his Masters degree in international relations at Rhodes University.
The immediate objective of the " Training for Peace" project is to equip participants from the departments of Defence and Foreign Affairs of as many SADC-countries as possible, as well as NGOs involved in humanitarian assistance, conflict resolution and peacekeeping operations. The idea is to help regional actors to develop a common framework in order to operate effectively within the UN, regional and sub-regional organisations. More specifically, the planned outputs and activities of the project are as follows:
- provide training in peacekeeping and assist in establishing a
resource pool of trained persons who may be involved or deployed or
conduct training in peacekeeping operations;
- develop of a common peacekeeping doctrine, appropriate to Southern African actors, within the region;
- enhance institutional capacity within Southern Africa for training and policy making in peacekeeping; and
- produce publications documenting local concepts, trends and techniques.
Care will be taken in planning and executing this project to
ensure co-operation and co-ordination with initiatives of other
governments and NGOs in Southern Africa. Prominent amongst these are the
South African departments of Foreign Affairs and Defence, and
neighbouring countries, particularly Zimbabwe through its Staff College
in Harare. An initiative has also been launched to co-ordinate the
activities of the "Training for Peace" project with other
organisations active in the field, most notably that of the Defence
Management Course at the Public Development and Management School at the
University of the Witwatersrand and the peacekeeping training
initiative which has recently commenced under the auspices of the
Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA). The IDP/ACCORD/NUPI
project is designed to supplement and complement existing efforts. It
will provide additional inputs towards formulation of common doctrine in
the region. It can also afford an opportunity for an exchange of views
with other participants in the region and thus promote co-operation and
confidence building. A key consideration, and one that has guided IDP
throughout its involvement in the planning of the project, is to ensure
that Southern Africa benefits by the enhancement of a locally based
capacity so that the region can develop a home-grown capacity in
training and conceptual development for peacekeeping.
For IDP this project is yet another step in its vision of the establishment of an internationally renown strategic studies institute of excellence in Africa. Our emphasis is therefore increasingly focusing on the provision of information and analysis through publications, conferences and seminars and, soon, on-line information access. As part of its expanding publications, IDP will soon publish its first newsletter, IDP Update to keep readers and interested partners informed of the activities at the Institute, including, or course, those relating to the "Training for Peace" programme. Other publications will appear in the form of monographs and papers. Within the broader framework of regional and sub-regional security architecture, it is expected that the "Training for Peace" project will contribute to the ongoing peaceful transformation of South Africa`s role in the region, and that it will play a role as an important confidence-building measure between the country and its neighbours.