The Work of the Nyerere Centre for Peace Research
The EAC is committed to enhancing peace and security, good governance and joint common foreign policy pursuits in order to promote regional integration and development.
The commitment is enshrined in Article 6 of the EAC Treaty that lays emphasis on peaceful co-existence and good neighborliness, peaceful settlement of disputes, mutual trust, good governance and democracy. Further, Article 124 of the Treaty underscores peace and security as pre-requisites to social and economic development within the Community and vital to the achievement of the objectives of the Community.
Global Developments and implication on the EAC region
The African region and indeed the EAC sub-region is experiencing new and emerging peace and security challenges. At the time that the continent is yet to recover from the impact of the global COVID-19 Pandemic. The Continent is faced with challenges posed by Climate Change leading to more frequent floods and droughts and the invasion of locusts. Further, the surging food and energy prices stoked by the Russia-Ukraine war could lead to social unrest in Africa.
Within a short period, commodities that have been staples to African citizens have seen sharp and unprecedented increases in price, most notably wheat and sunflower. In addition, the world-wide shortage of fertilizers and sharp increases in energy prices have resulted in increased food prices on one hand for the consumers, and on the other hand high production costs.
These developments bring to mind the food riots that triggered the Arab Spring, starting with Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and recently Sudan. Today Libya and Sudan remain in crisis, and it is therefore pragmatic to anticipate such similar responses to the current situation as well as work toward mitigating them. Within the Great Lakes region and indeed within the EAC, the ongoing EAC peace initiatives in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) all require added efforts and joint actions.
The current global situation has exposed vulnerabilities in the continent and in the region that require every effort to build resilience and calls for multifaceted approaches that include strengthening existing institutions as well as make them more relevant to respond to the crisis or to provide tools and strategies to address them.
The Work of the Nyerere Centre for Peace Research
The Nyerere Centre for Peace Research in Arusha, was therefore established to provide the EAC with relevant and timely research, information and training that contribute to deepening and widening of integration in areas of peace and security, good governance, leadership, climate change and policy coordination.
The limited technical and financial capacity of the EAC notwithstanding, conflict prevention and peace building are matters that require not only joint collaboration and cooperation, but multilateral efforts of stakeholders and partners to succeed.
The Centre’s work is designed with a strategic focus that seeks to contribute towards the integration process. As such, critical areas of focus include:
To facilitate and enhance the overall capacity to reach the goal of EAC integration and evolve common policies on matters of conflict prevention management and resolution among the Partner States.
To facilitate and enhance the overall capacity to reach the goal of EAC integration in the areas of peace & Security, governance, leadership, climate change, Gender Youth and other emerging pertinent issues.
To promote peace and security as a means to further regional integration and development,
To establish an onsite research facility in support of regional peace and conflict resolution; governance, leadership, climate change, Gender and Youth; regional capacity building; the development and exchange of training programs
To undertake research on common policies for the management of refugees; early warning systems and development of appropriate mechanisms for conflict management and resolution,
To establish a regional facility for research and data collection, training and information dissemination in the peace & Security, governance, leadership, climate change, Gender Youth Sub - Sectors.
The mission of the Centre complements the Treaty’s provision that peace and security are prerequisites for regional integration. The relevance of peace and stability to all four stages of integration cannot be over emphasized. In light of the evolution of conflicts, crises and other threats to peace and security, there is need to constantly identify the strengths and weaknesses of, opportunities for and threats to the Community, for which appropriate regional responses need to be put in place and build internal capacity for action research to regularly inform decision making.
This is one of the roles the centre plays along with supporting continuous training and capacity development on peace and security, good governance and common regional foreign policy issues within the Secretariat and Partner States as need be.
The Centre also through well informed policy papers will continuously advice on engagement with Civil Society and the academia on peace and security issues; noting the presence of specialized and security-oriented CSOs in the region, whose work has continued to support the implementation of various security sector initiatives, though in a disjointed manner.
The Centre plans to initiate its own programmes based on identified needs and will also accommodate the research and training needs of the Organs and Institutions of the EAC while at the same time maintaining a pragmatic approach to emerging issues in the region.
In order to attract support and establish partnerships with similar institutions, the Centre reaches out to similar organizations in order to tap good practices and approaches to research and training. To this effect, the Centre has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Arcadia University and American Graduate School to collaborate in the coordination, planning and implementation of programmes, activities and operations of the Nyerere Centre for Peace Research.
The collaboration of the parties focuses on the Centre as a base for research and training programs that are consistent with the objectives of the EAC, in the following areas:
- conflict management and conflict resolution;
- Early warning and conflict prevention;
- Climate resiliency;
- Organized transnational crime and terrorism;
- Democracy and elections;
- Any other area agreed upon by the Parties.
The Centre is also engaged in bringing on board other Partners, organizations, regional universities and institutions of higher learning and research to collaborate in research particularly in areas of conflict prevention and management.
Ultimately the combined result of capacity building, networking and intensified information generation and sharing is an envisioned Regional Centre of Excellence that contributes towards the efforts of establishing a stronger EAC with the capacity to provide a peaceful and supportive environment for the increased productivity of its people.