Commonwealth member states from Africa and the Caribbean are meeting in Ghana to share experiences and good practices in building, strengthening and sustaining national dialogues to prevent violence and unrest.
Participants from Cameroon, Gambia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Jamaica are in Ghana for the workshop on conflict prevention and peace-building in the Ghanaian capital Accra on 19 and 20 June.
Representatives attending the two-day Sub-Regional Experience-sharing Workshop on Building and Sustaining National Dialogue and Peace Structures will pass on the lessons learned to colleagues back at home.
The troubleshooting forum has been organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Ghana National Peace Council.
It aims to improve ways for member states to maintain peace and security by spotting early warning signs of violence. It also deals with how to solve political differences through dialogue, and how to respond to unrest - particularly during high-tension moments, such as elections.
In a key note address, Henry Quartey, Ghana's Deputy Minister of Interior, recalled the Commonwealth’s collaboration with the National Peace Council in conducting an evaluation of the National Peace Council’s activities during the pre and post-election phases of the 2016 General Elections in Ghana.
The findings of the evaluation were intended to inform the National Peace Council’s future interventions, especially in relation to elections in Ghana.
In her opening remarks, Commonwealth Governance and Peace director, Katalaina Sapolu, said: “As the Commonwealth family, we seek to encourage peer learning by sharing experiences and best practices.
The nature of Commonwealth membership makes it an ideal platform for cross fertilisation of ideas and sharing of experiences from across the regions of the Commonwealth: in Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Europe and the Pacific.”
She acknowledged the Commonwealth’s long sustained relationship with the National Peace Council of Ghana and noted the Secretariat’s “integrated approach of combining elections with conflict prevention, as well as taking a more holistic and long-term view to election observation with a focus on the entire electoral cycle”.