About the Centre

   The Southern African Centre for Collaboration on Peace and Security (SACCPS) is the manifestation of a network of researchers and practitioners within and beyond southern Africa. It aims to serve as a vibrant forum for dialogue, exchange of ideas, research and collaboration on issues of peace and security in the region. Its output is designed to be practical and policy-oriented.
   The Centre brings people, ideas and knowledge together through the facilitation of conferences aimed at both researchers and practitioners, academic exchanges within the region and joint research projects, as well as through the maintenance of a blog and an online journal. The activities of the Centre can be followed on Facebook.
   The first concrete steps towards the creation of the Centre were initiated under the 'Oasis of Peace' Project in 2011, and the network continues to grow. The SACCPS is, however, still a virtual centre. The realization of the actual Centre (bricks and mortar, library and laptops), in Lusaka, Zambia, will hopefully be seen in the not-too-distant future.

 

Background

   There is a great deal of knowledge and experience in matters of conflict and peace in the southern African region. It has had the misfortune of being host to some of the world's deadliest conflicts of recent times, and, from a historical perspective, memories of the liberation struggle and Cold War proxy conflicts are still relatively fresh. Countries in southern Africa take in large numbers of refugees, and contribute to peacekeeping operations and peacemaking efforts. Gathering, sharing and disseminating such knowledge and experience has the potential to further our understanding of conflict, peace and security, not only in the region itself, but also throughout the rest of the world.
   Yet the resources devoted to understanding and learning the lessons of conflict and insecurity in this region pale in comparison to those devoted to other parts of the world. In many cases, valuable lessons remain within the institutions or individuals that have learned them. Gathering, compiling, analyzing and making use of these lessons is an important endeavour, and there is thus a need for more research on issues of conflict, peace and security within the region at various levels. At the same time, there is a need for greater interaction among actors that play a role in issues of peace and security throughout the region, something that goes beyond academia, and includes policymakers and a variety of sectors in civil society. Such interaction has the potential to contribute not only to our understanding of peace and security, but also to the enhancement of actual peace and security in the region. 
   It is against this background that the concept for the Southern African Centre for Collaboration on Peace and Security (SACCPS) was developed. The Centre is based in Lusaka, Zambia, and this choice of location is related not only to the country's central geographical location, but also because of its history in terms of peace and security. Zambia has not experienced armed conflict since independence, yet it has a long history of involvement in peacemaking in response to conflicts in the region, serves as a contributor to peacekeeping activities, and has hosted numerous refugees from neighbouring conflicts.
   And while it is physically located in Zambia, the realization of the Centre is the result of a collaborative effort by many people and institutions throughout and beyond the region. Similarly, the activities and administration of the Centre have been designed to maximize regional involvement. The Centre has also been designed to complement and collaborate with other institutes, centres and networks in the region that have already contributed greatly to dialogue and research on these important issues.

 

Objectives

The Centre aims to:

  • Serve as a forum for (and actively facilitate) dialogue, exchange of information and ideas between academia, policymakers, NGOs and the media in the region, strengthening a network of concerned actors in the field of peace and security;
  • Serve as a regional hub for practical and policy oriented research on conflict, peace and security issues (providing regular opportunities for meetings and group research with experts in the region and outside the region);
  • Contribute to the education of future leaders, practitioners and academics in the field of peace and security in the region;
  • Raise the contribution of African academic institutions to policy formulation in the region and in the outside world.

 

'Oasis of Peace' Project (forerunner to the SACCPS)

Project title:
Towards the development of an ‘oasis of peace’ through the institutionalization of a research network in southern Africa

Objectives:
Strengthening linkages within and between academic communities in southern Africa and Japan to further the development of a network of researchers able to contribute academically to the resolution of conflict and the maintenance of peace in the southern Africa region. This project is seen as a first step in the establishment of a centre institute of peace and conflict studies covering the region to be based in Lusaka, Zambia.

Duration:
3 years (April 2011 to March 2014)

Activities:
(1) Conducting joint research on conflict and peace in the region
Participants will conduct research and present papers on a specific theme. An online journal, tentatively titled the 'Journal of Southern African Peace and Security Studies' will be established and maintained to disseminate the results of the research. There will be three broad research themes, one for each of the three years of the project: (i) mediation and peacemaking; (ii) peacekeeping and peace enforcement; and (iii) peacebuilding. Research and presentations may be specific case studies or broad conceptual work.

(2) Holding an annual conference on conflict and peace in the region
Participants will make presentations and exchange knowledge and views at a conferences, to be held annually in Lusaka, Zambia. The theme of each conference will be in keeping with three broad research themes outlined above. The results of the conference will be disseminated online.

(3) Facilitating academic interaction
Movement of researchers within southern Africa and between Japan will be facilitated to encourage the strengthening of academic networks. Through short-term visits, researchers will interact with other researchers, give talks and seminars and conduct research at the host institution.

(4) Working towards the establishment of a centre
This project aims to strengthen regional networks of those involved in issues of security and peace, but it remains focused on the 'soft' components of this collaboration - interaction through conferences and joint research. Plans are being made to create a more permanent arrangement for future collaboration beyond the current project. This will involve the establishment of a centre in Lusaka, Zambia, tentatively named the 'Centre for Collaboration on Peace and Security' (CCPS). Its activities will not be limited to academic interaction, but will also include opportunities for collaboration by other actors involved in matters of security and peace, including international institutions, governments, civil society and the media.

Coverage:
Core institutions will be based in Zambia, South Africa, Tanzania and Japan, with participating researchers also joining from other countries in region, including Angola, Botswana, DRC, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.

Core institutions:
University of Zambia,(together with the Zambian Open University)
University of the Free State, South Africa
Mozambique-Tanzania Centre for Foreign Relations, Tanzania
Osaka University,Japan (Osaka School of International Public Policy, OSIPP)

Project Coordinators:
Bizeck Phiri (University of Zambia)
Thomas Mabwe (Zambian Open University)
Hussein Solomon (University of the Free State)
Riziki Shahari (Mozambique-Tanzania Centre for Foreign Relations)
Virgil Hawkins (Osaka University)

Project donor:
AA (Asia Africa) Science Platform Program
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)