Early warnings are seldom early enough, Barbara Harff says. Early warning is an appealing prospect and when done appropriately it provides a means to prevent violent conflict. However, as was reiterated at yesterday’s Peace and Security Council Open Session, alleviating violent conflict relies on actionable intelligence as well as the political will to act on it. In the bigger scheme of things, that is the proverbial sweet spot. Vasu Gounden, Executive Director of the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD), was the expert presenter at the 527th session of the African Union Peace and Security Council. He highlighted the role, relevance and challenges of the continent’s foremost early warning mechanism the Continental Early Warning System (CEWS).
“Its not so much the information it is the analysis. If analysis is not correct then the prognosis will be inappropriate,” he said. He put forward recommendations for the Council’s consideration.
A recurring concern, highlighted in Gounden’s presentation as well as the discussions within the PSC, was the discrepancy between warning and response.
PSC Chairperson Ambassador Ndumiso Ntshinga of South Africa ended the session aptly, “doing away with conflict will not be possible without the capacity to understand the dynamics better and sooner.”
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