Event | 19 August 2019 | by Wilbert van der Zeijden

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Early Warning Burkina Faso Pilot Meeting 1: Context Analysis

On 24 and 25 June 2019, PAX convened a meeting in the Hague to discuss Early Warning in Burkina Faso with a mixed group of 30 representatives of military, academic, governmental and non-governmental organisations.

Throughout 2019, PAX facilitates a series of meetings and events on conflict prevention and Early Warning. The project brings together experts and practitioners from military governmental and non-governmental institutions to test the assumption that working with such a ‘comprehensive’ group strengthens the collective understanding of a conflict context, prevention needs and opportunities, with a particular focus on early warning.

Funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the pilot looks specifically at Burkina Faso, the West African state that faces increased threats to its stability and the security of its citizens.

Meeting 1 was held in The Humanity House in The Hague and brought together 30 participants from Burkina Faso, Denmark, Germany, Mali, the Netherlands, Nigeria and Switzerland.

The 2-day programme can be summarised into 6 blocks:

Context Analysis Burkina Faso

The group learned about the current tensions and conflict drivers at play in Burkina Faso, from a presentation by Ms. Sabine Luning of Leiden University and through additional input from representatives from the region and group discussions. Intense group discussions on conflict prevention in Burkina Fasoresulted in four priority conflict prevention clusters:

Early Warning Systems in Burkina Faso

Military, governmental and non-governmental organisations shared what Early Warning means for them, in their programming. After that, the group was briefed extensively on the two main Early Warning Systems in operation in Burkina Faso: ECOWARN, run by the intergovernmental Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) and NEWS, run by the non-governmental West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP).

Early Warning Indicators for Burkina Faso

During group discussions specific Early Warning indicators identified and discussed. The groups then presented and discussed their indicators plenary. Following these discussions, participants from Burkina Faso and the West Africa region were asked to reflect on what they notices lately are the Early Warning indicators demanding the most attention. They emphasised the importance currently of indicators that measure:

  • The growing numbers of incidents in which people of specific political, ethnic, occupational, regional groups are targeted, and among youth specifically.
  • Climate change effects on natural resource management, land issues and migration
  • Population movement flows
  • The increased role of radical preachers and extremism
  • Unemployment, especially among youth
  • Internal spill-over effects

Next steps

The group briefly discussed the planning of next steps of the pilot.

The next meeting will be held on 16 and 17 September, also in the Netherlands. In this meeting the group will discuss the contributions to early action conflict prevention most needed in Burkina Faso, with an emphasis on already existing structures and initiatives. Participants will present their own and partners’ activities and programs in Burkina Faso and discuss the aspects that inform the decision to pursue the development of work in Burkina Faso.

Feedback and evaluation

In the final session, we used Menti questions and open conversation to capture feedback from participants on the meeting itself. In general, participants appreciated the two day meeting. When asked how people felt in one word, the answers given most were: Inspired, Motivated, Overwhelmed, Informed, Excited and Satisfied.

Asked to formulate key take-aways, participants gave very diverse answers, many of which fit in three broad clusters: The need for comprehensive (multi-stakeholder; multi-level; integrated) analysis; The need for more coordination (cooperation; pooling; sharing) of efforts; and the complexity of the Burkina Faso context (and the risks of oversimplification; lack of vision)

Follow the Pilot

A full report of the first Early Warning / Early Action in Burkina Faso meeting in The Hague and the online dashboard with presentations of and recommended reading provided by the experts involved in this Pilot are available now.

 

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