Scaling-Up Ethiopia’s Conflict Prevention Mechanisms

Post conflict return of families in the town of Moyale
Post conflict return of families in the town of Moyale

New ventures for Ethiopia’s conflict transformation and peace-building were explored in a discussion organized between the Ministry of Federal Affairs (MoFA) and UNDP building on the latter’s on-going support to Ethiopia through the jointly established Conflict Prevention and Resolution Project, which has been operational since 2010.

Discussions explored the changes thus far achieved and also looked into lessons learned so far between 2010 – 2013, the period that the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Project has been active.  These lessons are expected to inform forthcoming scale-up efforts planned for 2014.

Key priority areas identified for this scale up included

  • Conflict Prevention Initiatives: This entails focus on conflict prevention through the establishment of peace committees, peace clubs for youth engagement at university and high school levels as well as initiating and promoting grassroots level consultations on conflict.
  • National Conflict Prevention Architecture: MoFA has drafted a strategy in this regards which reflects the Constitution of Ethiopia, an overarching peace-building component of the country. Supplement to this, the UNDP suggested the establishment of a National Peace Council Organ.
  • Elements of a National Culture of Peace: The need to create public awareness and hence, building self-consciousness to peace, eradication of extremism and radicalism that ignite and escalate conflict.

MoFA State Minister H.E Mr Umed Obang said that UNDP’s support had helped to strengthen the capacity of the ministry to establish early warning system for conflict prevention and establishing peace culture in the Ethiopian community. He noted that UNDP’s support to MoFA has helped to lead and nurture peace architecture in the country. The assistance has also facilitated to establish working mechanism at community level through the engagement of women, traditional and community leaders.

State Minister Umed Obang called for the need for detailed conflict analysis and the immediate formulation of a National Peace Council Act

Commending the Government of Ethiopia’s stride towards the establishment of sustainable peace, UNDP Country Director, Mr Samuel Bwalya, noted that, ‘UNDP believes that the Government of Ethiopia has been responsive to local conflicts through building community level mechanism aimed at empowering communities themselves for sustained aspects of peace and development.’

The four areas identified by MoFA as requiring stronger efforts were: Strengthening the National Peace Architecture; Increasing public awareness on peace-building by utilizing community radios for instance; Training media on messaging to the public, improving early warning systems; and Implementing proper conflict management with viable solutions that help communities build peace in order to engage in sustainable post conflict development endeavours.

UNDP expressed its commitment to provide additional support for capacity building at policy, strategic and institutional levels; increasing public awareness through facilitating series of grassroots level consultations, and strengthening rapid conflict early warning response and rapid response systems to conflict. UNDP will support the reporting capacities of Government institutions working on conflict monitoring.