Peace Commission Convenes Partners’ Forum in Torit

The Peace Commission in Eastern Equatoria has convened a workshop aimed at identifying and prioritizing conflict issues to consolidate them into the conflict mitigation and peace building action plan to be presented to the state government for approval.

Peace Commission Convenes Partners’ Forum in Torit
The State Peace Commission’s Chairperson, Mr. Joseph Kamilio Napengiro (Left) at the forum. [Peter Lokale Nakimangole]

By Peter Lokale Nakimangole
 
TORIT, 01 December 2012 [Gurtong] –
With the support from Conflict Mitigation and Stabilization Initiative (CMSI) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) , the CMSI’ Advisor, Mr. Leopold Bhorom said that they have positioned themselves as lead actors in supporting the State Peace Commission and the Peace Coordination office capacity building efforts.

 He said UNDP is working closely and collaborating with CMSI in framing the support to the State Peace Commission although other donors are also being engaged through the monthly peace actors’ coordination meetings.

The SPC and Peace Coordination Office members acquire skill-sets required to manage and support effective and sustainable conflict transformation processes, such as: monitoring and evaluation, reporting and documentation, and community engagement and advocacy
 
He disclosed the two; UNDP & CMSI, eventually propose to a two-day orientation and planning workshop for the State Peace Commission and the Peace Coordination Office.
 
CMSI’ Advisor, Mr. Leopold Bhorom the workshop is initially planned to have members and staff of the State Peace Commission and Peace Coordination Office, the Governor, Director Generals, Executive Directors and representatives of organizations involved conflict mitigation and peace building in the state attend it with purpose to involve participants provide orientation to the newly appointed State Peace Commission members and staff.

They will be able to assemble conflict mitigation and peace building projects and activities that the peace actors are currently engaging on or planning, present and discuss current strategic documents that are guiding conflict management interventions and establish coordination mechanism.
 
The emerging issues, those envisaged by the State Peace Commission based on Conflict Transformation Strategy (CTS) and activities of NGO partners will be consolidated into the EES conflict mitigation and peace building annual action plan that will be presented to EES government for approval.
 
Addressing the forum during the official opening at Hotel Torit, the State Peace Commission’s Chairperson, Mr. Joseph Kamilio Napengiro disclosed that he has been in office for almost five months and through the support of the Governor and partners has managed to assert its influence on conflict mitigation, stabilization and peace building activities in the State.

The Peace Commission’s chairperson said the resultant plan will be the guiding document for interventions by both Government and NGO peace actors.
 
He urged the peace stakeholders to give appropriate advice, and provide inputs or recommendations and resolutions on the Commission’s activities that will constitute the State’s interventions on conflict mitigation, transformation and peace building. Significant would be ideas of intended commitments on key program areas.
 
The chair elaborated that the State Peace Commission bringing together all the relevant actors to advise, propose, coordinate and implement integrated strategies on conflict mitigation, peace building and associated development.
 
He added that the Commission is also tasked with marshaling resources within and outside Eastern Equatoria including international donors to support the above activities.
 
Despite the remarkable efforts, Peace Coordination office was overwhelmed and lacked the required institutional and human resources capacity. As a result there was weak analysis, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and reporting of conflicts, conflict mitigation, stabilization and peace building by the State.

Although NGO peace actors filled the gap, the assumption and execution of such an important role by a central state government agency remained obligatory.
 
CMSI’ Advisor, Mr. Leopold Bhoroma noted that the state is relatively peaceful since 2008, after the elimination of the threats from the Lord’s Resistance Army and other organised armed groups.

However, isolated incidences of violence continue to spring up spontaneously severely disrupting community peace. Notably are several other internal conflicts which are either over natural resources, tribal based, politically motivated or linked to unresolved issues relating to boundaries, land or cattle rustling.

These conflicts often result into full scale fighting such as those that occurred in Magwi County between the Madi and Acholis in 2010, the Didingas and Toposa in Budi, the Otuho and Logir in Ikwoto, the Loming and Ilieu in Torit and Ikwoto counties. 
 
He said in a bid to address some of these issues, the UNDP in 2010 in collaboration with relevant Government agencies and ministries through the CSAC project carried out a unique consultation process with communities to ascertain issues causing insecurity as well as offer solutions to these issues through the implementation of Conflict Sensitive Development Projects.
 
He said that women, youth and Men (including traditional leaders), were then consulted by teams who helped record the key triggers of conflict and prioritize possible interventions to counter the problems. A ‘Rapid Rural Appraisal’ method was used, which utilized a variety of tools including focus groups, sampling, interviewing and mapping exercises.

Communities developed security plans including construction of police posts, proposed agricultural implements such as tractors for food security, communication and transportation equipment like radio and speed boats while a state and county steering committee was set up to see to the successful implementation of these projects.
 
In addition to the implementation of these hardware projects, a software aspect towards influencing attitudes, behaviours and practices that trigger conflicts was also to be implemented.

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