The panel explores the role civil society may play in the policies and practices of African intergovernmental organisations on peace-making and peace-building. The goal is to exchange insights on whether, why and how African IOs' policies on peace promote civil society participation.
Inclusivity is a norm that the international community increasingly expects peacemakers and peacebuilders to promote. As scholars and policy-makers look beyond elite deals, civil society's role in peacebuilding and its inclusion in official peace processes have been found to contribute to more sustainable peace agreements. Regional intergovernmental organisations (IGOs), such as the AU and its Regional Economic Communities (RECs), mention civil society in policies and establish platforms to engage civil society organisations (CSOs). Yet, in practice, there is little engagement between civil society and IGOs in peace-making and peace-building. Despite rich research separately analyzing IGO's and civil society's pivotal roles in sustainable conflict resolution, the benefits and challenges of civil society cooperation with IGOs in peace initiatives have received little attention. Thus this panel aims to explore the role civil society may play in the policies and practices of African regional IGOs on peace-making and peace-building, and vice versa. In exchanging insights and empirical findings on whether, why and how IGOs' policies on peace promote civil society participation, the panel aims to explore possible solutions to strengthen IGOs collaboration with civil society in a way that harnesses the strengths and minimize the challenges of collaboration.