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Resource Based Conflict

The Resource Based Conflict (RBC) Regional Network seeks to support Peace Building and Conflict Prevention

The history of the network dates back to 1998 when Oxfam Novib and its counterparts from Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia acknowledged that resource based conflicts were a leading threat to prospects of poverty alleviation and sustainable peace in the HEA. The idea was to generate knowledge within the counterparts of the region and if possible seek ways of dealing with the effects of conflict, which was greatly impacting on the daily programs of the counterparts. At inception, this coalition was a loose network where key participants would exchange knowledge and experiences through convening annual RBC Conferences. These conferences have been held since 2000 in Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Somaliland with the most recent one being in Uganda in 2008. Continued funding and support from Oxfam-Novib, has facilitated the transition of this network from a loose coalition of Oxfam-Novib counterparts from Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia to a sturdy regional network of 80 civil society organisations (CSOs). It has expanded to include organisations from Kenya and Uganda and other non-Oxfam-Novib counterparts. Each country has established a national RBC network of CSOs, with activities coordinated by a national focal point (NFP).

The activities of the RBC regional network are coordinated by an RBC Secretariat established in Nairobi, Kenya under the guidance and close monitoring of the RBC Regional Steering Committee. The eight National Focal Points form the Steering Committee, which is the policy arm of the network as well as the Board of Directors.

Objectives of the Network

To provide a sturdy mechanism for regional coordination and facilitation of the learning process, knowledge development, management and exchange and finally linking with ongoing Conflict prevention, advocacy and campaign program in the HEA.
To build the capacity of RBC Network members in Conflict research and analysis, policy analysis and advocacy skills, media engagement and lobby skills, campaign development skills and lastly content – focused training based on the priority themes identified by each national network within the RBC NAPs.
To undertake thematic focused conflict mapping and analysis to generate information and bridge the RBC knowledge gap both for CS programming as well policy and lobby advocacy.
To link up with, support ongoing lobby and campaigns at national levels on any of the thematic issues identified above as well as organize a regional campaign on one prioritized cross-border RBC related issue.

RBC Secretariat Field Visit to Uganda
This field visit was conducted between the 14th and the 18th of January 2008 by the Regional RBC Secretariat Programme Officer, John Ahere. Its main objectives were to:
* Obtain a revised and prioritised National Action Plan, as recommended during the NFP Technical roundtable held over 3-4 December 2007 in Nairobi.
* Monitor progress of the implementation of Objective 2 of the current project.
* Concretisation of the Uganda RBC Network steering Committee Terms of Reference proposed during the consensus building workshop in Uganda over 6-8 July 2006.
* Establish sustainable working modalities between the Uganda RBC Steering Committee and the Regional Secretariat.

Training in Conflict Mapping and Analysis and Development of Manuals
A mapping of training and capacity building needs was carried out in December 2007 among members of the Uganda RBC network and the priorities were identified as: Conflict Research & Analysis, Advocacy (including campaign development skills and media engagement) and Policy Analysis. A training workshop was conducted on Conflict Mapping, Analysis and Advocacy at Ulrika Guesthouse (19th to 21st February 2008). Three training manuals were developed – an Advocacy training manual, a Policy Research training manual and a Conflict Mapping manual.

The 7th Novib RBC Conference – Entebbe, Uganda, 2008
The 7th RBC Regional Conference was held from June 27th to July 1st 2008, at Imperial Resort Hotel, Entebbe. This was the seventh in a series of regional NGO conferences, initiated by Novib (Holland), addressing resource-based conflict (RBC) in the Greater Horn of Africa. The conference brought together NGOs from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Somaliland and Puntland, Sudan (North and South), Tanzania and Uganda. The current Minister of Agriculture, then Minister of State for Local Government, Hon. Hope Mwesigye, who is chairperson of PENHA’s Uganda advisory board, gave a strong opening address. She called upon participants to strengthen regional linkages, to address economic ties and to engage with governments and regional bodies.

The specific theme of this year’s conference was “Conflict over Land”. The overall aim was to strengthen the regional network of CSOs, so that individual and collective efforts are more effective.

The specific objectives of the conference were:
* To assess (in each country and comparatively between each country):
* Land-related conflict,
* Land policies and customary law
* Legal and institutional frameworks governing land tenure and use
* The cross-border dimensions of conflict
* To produce a consensus on basic principles and approaches to managing conflict
* To develop civil society advocacy strategies on specific issues
* To develop a set of key messages on land-related conflict
* To review country action plans and integrate them into a coordinated regional approach
* To devise better ways of working together, and strategies aimed at, with other actors, bringing about change and having a real impact

At the end of the conference, the participants came up with a signed declaration that called upon the responsible regional institutions and respective governments to:
* Promote peace and stability in our countries through the instruments of integrated natural resource development strategies to ensure equitable access of all groups to life-sustaining resources
* Address land issues in a sustainable, transparent, and accountable manner in order to ensure the equitable utilization of land, to the benefit of all our people
* Respect the diversity of livelihoods among our communities
* Recognize pastoralism and agro-pastoralism as viable livelihoods and land use systems and facilitate peaceful and regulated pastoral mobility
* Harmonize laws and regulations in order to promote market access for pastoral and agricultural products and work towards the establishment of integrated marketing infrastructure that supports regional trade
* Develop and/or review existing land policies and ensure wider participation of the communities concerned in the formulation of policies and regulations regarding their land
* Work with civil society to build the capacity of communities and their representatives to participate in the formulation of policies and regulations
* Raise public awareness about regional bodies and initiatives and work with the media to promote a sense of a regional identity
* Ensure, in regulating land use changes that promote economic growth, that the needs of all stakeholders, governments, the private sector and investors as well as the communities are met.
* Develop and where possible, harmonize cross border frameworks for conflict prevention and the promotion of cross-border trade
Recognize the positive role of civil society in promoting peace, good governance and development

The conclusions of the conference were encapsulated in the "Entebbe Declaration on land use, land rights and land related conflict prevention" which can be downloaded here (87 kb).

The full report of this conference can be downloaded by clicking here (with illustrations) (1.6 mb) or without illustrations (524 kb).

Conflict Mapping and Analysis in Uganda (see Objective 3 above)
In December 2008, PENHA on behalf of the RBC Management Network organised a three day training on Conflict Analysis and Mapping in Kasese District. The immediate objective of the training was to generate information for bridging the RBC knowledge gap on the Basongora – Queen Elizabeth National Park Conflicts, which then could be used for policy advocacy.

Members of the national RBC network were trained on how to use and apply the conflict mapping tools that had been earlier developed. The tools were further piloted/tested in Queen Elizabeth National Park among the Basongola pastoralists of Kasese district, who have been in conflict with the Queen Elizabeth National park authorities and are now in conflict with crop farmers. The assignment was to apply the conflict mapping tools in identifying the various players, history and context of the conflict. The causes of disputes and conflicts in such systems were examined and innovative approaches to prevention, management and resolution highlighted. Also explored were the implications for conflict management of policies and programmes of decentralisation and the empowerment of local decision makers. Emmanuel Kyagaba (centre right) and team members consulting with Basongora pastoralists in Kasese

The Wehr’s Conflict Map and the Hocker-Wilmot Conflict Assessment Guide are helpful in generating information about conflict situations and especially identifying the players. In the course of testing the tools, it emerged that while some parties are mentioned, their roles remained unclear. A mention was made of some emerging traditional institutions such the Obusinga, but their involvement in the conflict has not been clarified. Another local institution, whose involvement in resolving land conflicts would be vital, are the land tribunals, but these did not feature in the discussions. The Queen Elizabeth National Park conflict nexus has several parties playing primary roles in the conflict, which calls for strengthening institutions and structures for managing the conflicts.

1. The RBC project has contributed towards fostering collective action and responsibility respectively towards RBC Management by opening up the space for CSO involvement and broad based participation of the inhabitants of the Horn and East Africa (HEA).
2. The project has generated knowledge and enhanced learning through exchanging information, conflict management practices, conflict mapping exercises and experiences during the past six regional RBC conferences in various countries of the HEA.
3. The activities of the RBC project and respective impact in the Horn has generated interest realizing the involvement of CSO Kenya and Uganda.
4. The project has evolved into a regional network of close to 80 CSOs in the HEA with clear national and regional action plans respectively.

The network is in the process of registration as a regional NGO with mandate to work in the HEA with its activities coordinated by the regional secretariat to be based in Nairobi. This network will be guided by a common implementation plan.

Key Conclusions
* CSOs must work to build citizens’ capacity to understand existing laws and defend their rights.
* Economic development naturally involves changes in land use and certain trade-offs – CSOs should not automatically oppose change, but should seek to ensure that local people, farmers and pastoralist, benefit from change.
* The exploitation of oil and mineral deposits or the establishment of cotton or other factories may conflict with or displace traditional livelihoods, but should go ahead as long as local people are adequately compensated, as well as consulted and fully informed throughout.
* In the processes of “negotiation” between competing land users, CSOs can play an important role in strengthening the hand of the poor.
* Strengthening local institutions, and ensuring broad participation, can help to avert violent conflict over land and natural resources.

* Under the objective of Capacity Building where members of the Uganda RBC network were trained in Conflict Mapping, Analysis and Advocacy there were 15 beneficiaries, 8 men and 7 women.
* Under Conflict Mapping and Analysis,  where members of the Uganda RBC network were trained on how to use and apply the conflict mapping tool, there were 16 beneficiaries, 8 men and 8 women.
* Under Lobbying and Campaigns, with the 7th regional RBC conference, there were 42 beneficiaries, 26 men and 16 women, from 9 countries.