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April 15, 2023 (DJIBOUTI, Djibouti): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Mediation Support Unit (MSU) has successfully concluded a three-day High-Level Workshop on Engaging the IGAD Roster of Mediators and Experts on Crisis Response and Fact-Finding Missions. This workshop rides under the theme; Experience sharing between the IGAD roster of mediators and the roster of technical experts on crisis responses and conflict fact-finding missions.

In the IGAD region, several mediation and negotiation efforts have been realized in South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Kenya. Additionally, the region has seen an increase in dialogue initiatives aimed at exploring the root causes of the conflicts to achieve healing and reconciliation.

The participants of this forum are drawn from experienced members of the IGAD roster of mediators, Experts on crisis response, former Ambassadors, current and former Members of Parliament from Member States, Snr. Retired Military personnel, Members of the Diplomatic corps, and the civic society; we have a blend of young and experienced mediators creating a perfect environment for intergenerational learning and sharing.

The MSU Director, Dr. Aleu Garang, on behalf of the Executive Secretary, opened the workshop and set the scene. During his address, he highlighted the importance of focusing on the pre-mediation processes, “where, when it’s at the crisis level, what did we do? How did we do it? How best we can do it. And the best part of how best we can do it would be the outcome of this conversation. But the experiences that we will share will focus on how these facts-finding processes have been, in your own experiences” Dr. Aleu added that, Unfortunately, all of it is not documented, but it’s an opportunity for the IGAD Mediation Support Unit to learn about these experiences and maybe commission studies or interviews to engage on how to document every experience.

As a result, key components of the framework were identified, and a set of recommendations was reached as follows; Preventive Diplomacy (Fact-finding missions to be deployed concurrently with Election Observer Missions with a clear timeline on when the transition from Election Observation Ends.

Regional representation in the Fact-finding missions; To ensures that no specific member state is victimized by the hosting state based on the outcome of the Fact-Finding Mission.

The Heads of State Summit, Council of Ministers, and the Executive Secretary pronounce themselves on the reports from Fact-finding missions and give way forward.

MSU’s Proactive Response and Action to CEWARN; To form a core basis of the fact-finding mission Pre, During, and Post mission. And always be on standby for deployment.

Enroll new faces in the roster of experts with an emphasis on youth and women inclusion; ensure continuous capacity building and cross-generational knowledge for transfer of knowledge and familiarization with culture and emerging trends.

And lastly, fact-finding mission framework validation is to be conducted by the same team involved in its development.

This workshop was organized by IGAD MSU with financial support from the European Union fund through the Austrian agency under the IGAD Promoting Peace and Stability in the Horn of Africa Region (IPPSHAR) Program.

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