Potsdam Spring Dialogues 2009
On 27 and 28 March 2009, the Development and Peace Foundation (SEF), the Development Policy Forum of in Went – Capacity Building International, the Renner Institute (RI) and the journal WeltTrends organised and hosted the Potsdam Spring Dialogues 2009 with the theme “The Key to Success in Peace and Development? Regional Governance in Africa”.
Spotlighting the Africa of today, the past and the future, prospects as well as challenges, the Dialogues made evident that in the last few years considerable progress has been made in the development of a continental regional organisation, namely the African Union and in the establishment of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs).
Bright prospects were nevertheless also offset by ongoing challenges. RECs continue to be hampered by overlapping memberships and the multiplicity of RECs as a whole. In addition the complexity of networks is growing through new bilateral arrangements with external actors, including the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union. Relations among the RECs and to the AU are still only vaguely defined.
The focus of the Dialogues was on the institutionalisation of conflict prevention and early warning at a continental and sub-regional level, progress towards the development of a continental system for the protection of human rights, and thirdly the establishment of regional and sub-regional economic areas and advancements made towards economic integration and international trade. Discussions highlighted the interrelation of the global, regional and sub-regional level, evaluating whether African regionalisation provides a building block for global governance.
JB Cronjé, Researcher at tralac, participated in a panel discussion on “Regional Approaches to Trade and Development” from the perspective of the southern African region. Other presenters included representatives of other African regional organisations, the African Union, various universities, non-governmental organisations as well as the host organisations. The first day dealt with regional governance in Africa, some regional approaches to conflict prevention and early warning systems and regional approaches to the protection of human rights. The second day was dedicated to regional approaches in Africa to trade and development.