Africa and the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission

Authored by: Grace Maina

Handbook of Africa’s International Relations

Print publication date:  August  2013
Online publication date:  September  2013

Print ISBN: 9781857436334
eBook ISBN: 9780203803929
Adobe ISBN:


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In the last few decades Africa has witnessed numerous conflicts that have resulted in deaths, destruction and displacement of populations. More than 30 wars have been fought in Africa since 1970, and most of these have been internal rather than inter-state wars. 1 Since the end of the Cold War there has been a decline in the number of conflicts and a reduction in violence and this is also true of sub-Saharan Africa. Different warring countries on the continent are now referred to as post-conflict states. Whilst there has been a decline in the numbers of conflict and deaths this has not prevented the outbreak of new conflicts and resulting deaths, such as those witnessed during the Arab uprising, which engulfed Egypt, Tunisia and Libya from mid-2010. Many African societies have made the transition through the peace continuum. Some of the most commendable successes in this regard have been witnessed in Africa in countries and regions that have had the worst record of human tragedy and loss, such as the Mano River and the Great Lakes regions. This has often been followed or complemented by the presence of a United Nations (UN) or African Union (AU) force tasked with safeguarding the peace of the citizenry. In tandem with this and also following many of the peace-making initiatives, communities engage in the task of rebuilding and restoring both relationships and society. This process of rebuilding and restoring is what we refer to as peace-building. It is this process when done well that ensures and safeguards the security of communities. It is critical to point out that much of the decline in conflicts has taken place despite the structural pitfalls that are often associated with triggering or causing conflict. It has been argued often that the reason for this could very well be the investment in peace-building and conflict prevention. Over the years different actors and stakeholders have contributed to the peace-building processes of war-torn African states. These stakeholders include governments, the UN (which finds expression in the different UN agencies), international financial institutions, regional organizations and civil society organizations.

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