The Resource Based Conflict (RBC) Management Network seeks to support peace building and conflict prevention efforts in the Horn and East Africa (HEA) region by partnering with like-minded organisations. It works on innovative strategies to equip civil society organisations (CSOs) with the skills and tools to be able to make a difference in conflict-prone areas in the region.
A group of CSOs from Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan collectively set up this regional network as a strategy for building synergies towards a coordinated approach for tackling regional conflicts as well as managing the impacts of existing Resource Based Conflicts (RBCs) in the HEA.
The network seeks to build the capacity of its members by equipping them with conflict analysis and mapping skills, in order to generate increased knowledge on RBC issues in the region. Policy, advocacy and campaign skills are also developed with network members to enable them to empower communities in peacebuilding and conflict prevention work. The network also hopes to influence decision-makers and other actors by helping to build the capacities of grassroots actors to agitate for change through advocacy.
The network is therefore adapting a two-track approach by building the capacity of its network members not only to undertake policy advocacy, but also enable communities to launch their own campaigns. The project also seeks to promote and foster linkages and information sharing, with RBC knowledge being exchanged throughout the region.
The history of the network dates back to 1998 when CSOs from Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia acknowledged that resource-based conflicts were a growing threat to poverty alleviation and sustainable peace in the HEA. The idea was to help generate knowledge with their counterparts in the region, and if possible seek ways of dealing with the effects of conflicts. At its inception, the coalition was a loose network in which key partners would exchange knowledge and experiences through convening annual RBC conferences. These conferences have been held since 2000 in Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia and Uganda. The network has developed from a loose coalition to an established regional network of more than 20 organistaions, and now includes Kenya, Eritrea and Uganda. Each country has established a national RBC network.
The Regional RBC Network is composed of nine RBC national networks with two for Sudan (South and North) and three for Somalia (Somaliland, Puntland and South Central Somalia). All these networks have elected a national focal point to coordinate the activities of the network and link its members to regional discussions around RBC issues.
RBC in Sudan
Sudanese civil society organisations, through their focal point, the Sudanese Environment Conservation Society, have been part of RBC since the first meeting was held in the Hague in 1998. An RBC Task Force was established by SECS in 2005 to handle all the issues related to the RBC. The Task Force designated a coordinator to lead the activities. The national network has no less than 26 member organisations that joined based on their willingness to engage in RBC activities in the Sudan.
In 2006, the National Forum saw the establishment of a Southern Sudan National Network, with 15 organisations participating. Since then and with the robust growth of civil society in Southern Sudan, members continue to grow, especially at the grassroots.