GPPAC members with other stakeholders

CSOs float network on conflict prevention, peacebuilding in Nigeria

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By Angela Atabo

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have formed a network to foster collaborative efforts towards conflict prevention and peacebuilding across communities.

The network — Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflicts (GPPAC), is working through 15 regional networks across the world to prevent violent conflicts and build peaceful societies.

Mr Rafiu-Adeniran Lawal, the Regional Representative of GPPAC, West Africa, made this known at the GPPAC Nigeria inaugural meeting on Wednesday in Abuja that the meeting is focusing on “The Role of Civil Societies in Fostering Peace, Security and Social Cohesion.”

Lawal said that the event’s theme was chosen to encourage synergy among members toward finding solutions to the
plethora of peace and security threats across the country.

According to him, GPPAC seeks a world where violence and armed conflicts are prevented and resolved by peaceful means based on justice, gender equity, sustainable development, and human security for all.

“As the Regional Representative of GPPAC West Africa, I am committed to driving the decentralisation of GPPAC within the region, mobilising civil society organisations for peacebuilding and ensuring that members take ownership of the network.

“We will establish and set up GPPAC national networks in all West African countries.

“We have had considerable successes in Niger Republic, Ghana, and Senegal, where National Focal Points have been appointed.

“The purpose of the national networks is to strengthen the agency and capacity of actors to foster collaborative efforts towards conflict prevention and peacebuilding across communities in West Africa.”

Lawal listed the three main priority areas that would guide the GPPAC West Africa network agenda in accordance with the strategic framework to include locally led peacebuilding, women and youth peace and security.

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He said conflict-sensitive approach to climate-related risks and other emerging threats would also be given adequate attention.

He added that GPPAC’s main functions by the International Steering Group are: promoting acceptance of conflict prevention, support for regional efforts to raise awareness regarding the effectiveness of conflict prevention and undertake parallel efforts at the global level.

He said others include mobilising CSOs’ early response action to prevent conflicts, supporting CSOs in developing capacity to contribute to early warning systems, and intervening effectively in impending crises.

He said that GPPAC would mobilise coordinated CSOs responses based on early warning of impending conflict escalation; and pressure governments, regional organisations, and the UN system to respond to early warning information in response to regional requests.

Prof. Charles Ukeje, Professor of International Relations at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, said CSOs add value to government work by providing timely information and insights into conflicts.

Ukeje said CSOs also serve as early warning givers to government and other stakeholders, and act as intermediaries between states and the society.

He, therefore, urged government to see CSOs as partners in progress, adding that “when government sees CSOs as active collaborators and stakeholders in the maintenance of peace and security, the approach would be different.”

Ukeje also urged CSOs not to portray themselves as oppositional elements but collaborate with government to build bridges.

Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, commended GPPAC for the initiative.

Represented by Mrs Agnes Aneke, the Director, Special Duties, Sani-Gwarzo said armed conflicts destroy societies, causing hunger, health challenges, displacement, destitution and underdevelopment.

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He said “stability and unity are essential for any nation embarking on development process and one of the keys to achieving this is the development of strategies for the prevention of violence in all its forms.

“The case of nations such as Liberia, Sierra-Leone, Rwanda, and Sudan to mention a few, calls for reflection on the causative factors of violence that led to the armed conflicts, devastating impacts, and post-war consequences on these nations.

“There is need to remind ourselves of the essence of peace and national cohesion as the only ways to guarantee economic growth and stability.

“We must orient our young ones on the core values of tolerance and respect for one another.” (NAN)(

Edited by Nick Nicholas/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

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