March 28, 2014
A book entitled Preventing Violent Conflict in Africa: Inequalities, Perceptions and Institutions, published by Palgrave Macmillan in October 2013, is a compilation of JICA-RI’s five-year research project “Prevention of Violent Conflict in Africa.” To mark the launch of the book, public events were held in Boston and New York on March 11 and 13, 2014.
The event in Boston on March 11 was co-sponsored by the Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security and Global Governance, McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston, and Educational Divide Reform (EDR), the Academy at Harvard Square. This event brought together researchers and students specializing in related fields, such as international relations and conflict resolution. The presentations of the research findings by JICA-RI Visiting Fellow Yoichi Mine, the chief editor of the book, and former Senior Research Fellow Mari Katayanagi, one of the authors, drew great interest and appreciation from the audience.
Professor Craig Murphy (University of Massachusetts Boston and Wellesley College), one of the panelists in the event, highly valued the research framework of the book, in which the three perspectives – Horizontal Inequalities (HIs), people’s perceptions and political institutions – are closely linked to each other and that both qualitative and quantitative analyses were conducted. He also pointed out that international support for the governments of conflict-affected countries should include the aspect of advocacy to influence the policy and decision making of those governments, while respecting local ownership. The audience also voiced a variety of opinions, such as the importance of recognition of impacts of resource distribution on violent conflicts in Africa and the necessity to support non-governmental actors besides governments.
Another launch in New York on March 13 was co-hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations, with the participation of Ambassador Jun Yamazaki, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, Ambassador Adonia Ayebare, Senior Adviser for Peace-building and Development in the Office of the Permanent Observer for the African Union (AU) to the United Nations, and a number of practitioners particularly from UN agencies.
“Realization of peace is a primary objective of Japanese ODA, and conflict prevention and peace-building are articulated as priority issues in the ODA charter of the Government of Japan,” said Ambassador Yamazaki; he also expressed his expectation that the findings from this research would give important guidance for the effective implementation of their assistance. Ambassador Ayebare stated that the inequalities between groups persist in Africa and that the findings of the research correspond to AU’s policies; he hoped that the conflict prevention would be promoted based on the outcome of this research.
The panel session followed the above speeches was moderated by Mr. Jordan Ryan, Assistant Administrator and Director Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery of UNDP. First Professor Mine and Dr. Katayanagi introduced the book and its policy recommendations, which were followed by two presentations: Professor Sakiko Fukuda-Parr (New School), one of the editors of the book; and Mr. Ozonnia Ojielo, Head of Conflict Prevention Unit, Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery of UNDP.
Professor Fukuda-Parr linked this research to the on-going discussions over the Post 2015 international development agenda. She stated, “Peace-building and conflict prevention have been raised as global priorities in the discussions on Post 2015 development framework and the issues such as democratic governance and rule of law are being discussed in the context.” She also pointed out that political analyses through the comparisons of pairs of countries are one of the strengths of this research when the above discussions on democratic governance and rule of law have not yet dug deep enough into the analysis of political institutions.
Mr. Ozonnia Ojielo highly valued the research findings from the perspective of practitioners engaged in peace-building and development in Africa. He stated that the perspective of HIs is effective in conflict prevention and resolution in Africa. He also stressed the significance of the book’s emphasis on the importance of building political institutions that could promote collaboration and consensus building among different groups in conflict-affected countries.
|Day||March 11, 2014(Tue) - March 13, 2014(Thu)|
|Place||New York and Boston, USA|
|Related Link||JICA-RI Holds Book Launch Events in Three Countries on "Preventing Violent Conflict in Africa"|