This conference is a continuation in virtual format of an annual Wilton Park series on peacebuilding in Africa that started in 2015. Across this series of conferences, a persistent theme has concerned the need to move peacebuilding beyond state and elite-centred approaches to encompass the wider communities involved in conflict, including in particular youth and women’s networks.
The focus of this final event in the virtual series is on North Africa and the Sahel, a geographic construct that could be dubbed “NASAH”. Conflict and peacebuilding in NASAH are deeply linked due to the extensive connections between the two regions. An OECD study published in March 2021 on “Conflict Networks in North and West Africa” noted that conflicts in this vast area are becoming more violent and widespread and that there are complex relationships between conflict actors, including both alliances and rivalries, that spill across national borders. Military operations have not been able to sustainably resolve violent conflict and have even served in some cases to strengthen jihadist and other armed groups.
The objectives of this event are to:
- Identify strategies that will ensure long‑term political stability and promote the need for co‑ordinated regional approaches and place‑based policies.
- Map and identify both conflicts and the actors and regional organisations engaged in peacebuilding across the region, to examine existing networks, capacity and effect.
- Re-imagine frameworks for dialogue between regions on developing concerns such as climate impacts, migration, trafficking, drugs and arms sales and the transnationalism of extremist views spread across borders.
- Examine the changing demographics of regional populations and ensure that youth, women, and minority voices are amplified.
In association with the African Peacebuilding Network of the Social Science Research Council, New York, and the African Leadership Centre. With support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Wilton Park reference number: WP1761V3