Arusha, Tanzania – A two-day conference was held by the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) and the African Leadership Centre (ALC), in collaboration with AWEPA and the GIZ East African Community program on 23-24 May 2014 in Arusha. The main objective of the conference was to bring together regional legislators and stakeholders in order to analyse the emerging security priorities, needs and challenges in the region and discuss the feasibility of a new vision on regional security and sustainable and peaceful co-existence.
Furthermore, the conference provided space to address several topics such as the pressures of migration, the issue of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) as well as the ever-changing demographic profiles in the region. The participants called for astute leadership, adherence to rule of law and relevant legislation to ensure peaceful co-existence and security in the region. EALA was also urged by the participants to address issues such as the concerns in borderland communities, youth and natural resources in areas within its mandate.
Many recommendations emerged from the conference, such as the need for a shift of focus to ensure that marginalized groups are brought to the fore with regards to the issue of borderland communities. In addition, the participants recommended the development of a specific legal framework on Conflict Prevention, Management Resolution (CPMR) targeting societies. The delegates reiterated the need for a nexus between human rights and the right to security in the midst of terrorism and instability in the region, which would require the strengthening of parliamentary diplomacy to address these regional and global challenges.
The conference was opened by Hon. Abubakar Zein Abubakar, Chair of the EALA Committee on Regional Affairs and Conflict Resolution (RACR), and by Dr. Fumi Olonisakin, Director of the African Leadership Centre. Attendees included EALA members, EAC Secretariat officials, government officials of the Partner States, policy partners and representatives of the Civil Society Organisations. The conference was a follow-up to a previous conference held in Bujumbura, Burundi in 2008, that focused on the obstacles to peace in the Great Lakes Region.