In recent years, the continent has been affected by numerous conflicts that have been devastating in terms of the loss of human life, the significant drain on limited socio-economic resources and the destruction of infrastructure and social cohesion resulting in a serious impediment to social and economic development throughout Africa. Managing such problems requires an in-depth understanding of conflict and a broad repertoire of problem-solving skills. Conflict prevention also involves the ability to track and analyze disputes and to offer skilled intervention before such tensions escalate into armed conflict.
The training programme offers a systematic overview of the nature and causes of conflict, including a framework for understanding how disputes begin, escalate and are resolved. Stages and common obstacles to negotiation and mediation are reviewed using exercises and case studies based on African situations. The programme is based on the latest knowledge in the field of conflict resolution and reconciliation applied to the particular challenges of Africa.
This programme is designed to respond to Africa’s training needs in the area of conflict prevention and peacemaking. At the end of the programme, it is expected that the participants are able to:
• Identify the major sources/root causes of violent conflict;
• Conduct a conflict analysis of several cases;
• Engage in interest-based, problem-solving negotiation and mediation processes;
• Select among a range of skills required to carry out an effective negotiation and mediation processes;
• Describe the major lessons and best practices in international negotiation
and mediation with special focus on Africa contexts.
The methodology used in this training includes: seminar-type presentations; elicited discussions; small group work; and review of lessons learned. Negotiation and mediation are practiced through exercises, simulations, role-playing and feedback, highlighting skills such as listening and summarizing; identifying and reformulating issues, positions and interests, creating options; searching for principles or precedents upon which to base solutions; setting procedural rules; and enhancing cooperation and trust between the parties. Several case studies of past or current conflict situations in Africa are presented by experienced resource people who have been involved in efforts to resolve them.
Participants are selected from middle and senior level officials of African Ministries of Foreign Affairs, as well as other key government departments, such as the Office of the President or Prime Minister. The programme also invites staff from the Secretariats of the African Union and sub-regional organizations, from UN missions working in Africa, as well as senior staff from key non-governmental organizations focusing on conflict prevention and peacemaking in Africa.
Emphasis is placed on selecting participants currently based in Africa. UNITAR seeks to provide and promote equal opportunity and in this regard nomination of female applicants is encouraged. The programme is conducted entirely in the English language and high-level fluency is a precondition for attendance.