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Introducing the ICGLR Levy Mwanawasa Regional Centre for Democracy and Good Governance
1.1. A Regional Think Tank
The Levy Mwanawasa Regional Centre for Democracy, Good Governance, Human Rights and Civic Education is a Regional Think Tank created by the Heads of State and Government of eleven Member States of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in December 2006 as a key institution for the promotion of Democracy, Good Governance, Human Rights and Civic Education. Its establishment epitomised the realisation of the will expressed by the Heads of State and Government of ICGLR Member States not only in the 2004 Dar-es-Salaam Declaration on Peace, Security, Democracy and Development in the Great Lakes Region but also in the Pact on Security, Stability and Development (with a Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance) signed in Nairobi on December 15, 2006. The Regional Centre was formally launched during the August 2009 Heads of State and Government Summit that was held in Lusaka, Zambia. It was on this occasion that it was named after the late President Levy Mwanawasa, the former Zambian President who died during his term as President of the ICGLR Heads of State and Government Summit.
The willingness of the Heads of States as summarised above is based on the analysis of conflicts and political crises situations that have characterised most of Great Lakes Region countries in the 1990s. Indeed, the consultations conducted by countries in the Great Lakes Region Conference process have shown that bad governance, failure to respect democratic principles and human rights abuses are the main causes of conflicts in the Region.
With its operationalisation in 2011, the Regional Centre provides a strong foundation to the ICGLR’s Programme of Action on the promotion of Good Governance and Democracy whose vision is that of "a Region characterized by deeply entrenched values, principles and norms on democracy, good governance and observance of human rights". The Regional Centre is based in Lusaka, Zambia, where the Host Agreement was signed between the ICGRL Secretariat and the Government of Zambia on March 24th, 2011.
In its interventions, the Regional Centre brings added value to existing initiatives at National and Regional levels. It uses methodological approaches combining the principles of subsidiarity, synergy among stakeholders at National, Regional and International levels and comparative analysis between and amongst different countries in order to promote and disseminate good and best practices.
Since 2011, the Regional Centre is fully operational. Its achievements include, inter alia, the development and validation by Key Stakeholders of its 5 year Strategic Plan (2012-2016); contribution to the ICGLR Electoral Observer Missions in Zambia (September 2011) and DRC (November 2011); facilitation of COMESA, EAC and IGAD Workshops and dialogues on Governance and Democracy; co-organising the International Conference on “Governance and Democracy: an African Perspective” with Rwanda Governance Board, Commonwealth Secretariat and UNDP in Kigali (28th – 30th June 2012); contribution to the initiatives of ICGLR Secretariat in Peace Building and Conflict Management in the Region, namely in Eastern DRC, Sudan and South Sudan; setting up an Observatory on Human Rights and Gender; conducting an operational research on Unemployment and Youth in ICGLR Member States; as well as supporting the Regional Fora (i.e. Regional Platforms of Civil Society Organisations, Youth, Women and Parliaments) in developing their Strategic Plans.
1.2. Vision, Mission and Strategic Objectives of the Regional Centre
An authoritative and autonomous Think Tank that catalyses reforms and promotes best practices on complex governance issues in the Great Lakes Region.
To reinforce the capacities of social and political institutions of ICGLR Member States in the areas of democracy, good governance, human rights and civic education.
Since 2011, the Regional Centre is engaged in implementing its mission through the following five Programme Objectives:
Strategic Objective 1: To undertake and promote operational and multi-disciplinary research and analysis on governance processes, peace building, conflict prevention and resolution at the Local, National and Regional levels.
The purpose is to develop a database on best practices and challenges as well as promote sharing of experiences and best practices between and among ICGLR Member States.
Strategic Objective 2: To facilitate and undertake Capacity Development and Training Programmes in the areas of Democracy, Governance, Human Rights and Civic Education.
The purpose is to strengthen Public Institutions and Civil Society Organisations and promote Accountable Leadership for an active and effective National and Regional engagement in the promotion of Democracy, Good Governance and Human Rights.
Strategic objective 3: To monitor, evaluate and advise on the implementation of the ICGLR Protocols and other relevant legal Instruments.
The purpose is to create a database on the status of ratification, domestication and implementation of the ICGLR Protocols and other relevant Legal Instruments and make appropriate proposals for their ratification, domestication and implementation.
Strategic objective 4: To facilitate Dialogue between different Actors on Governance Reform Agenda.
The purpose is to create spaces where various Stakeholders can dialogue on Public Policies and build consensus on important issues.
Strategic objective 5: To establish and maintain an Information Hub on Democracy, Good Governance, Human Rights and Civic Education.
The purpose is to make the Centre the Regional Data Hub and Centre of Reference for the Region.
1.3. Organisational and Management Structure of the Regional Centre
The Regional Centre is under the authority of the Executive Secretary of the ICGLR Secretariat based in Bujumbura (Burundi) but works as an autonomous institution headed by an Executive Director, Dr Frank Okuthe-Oyugi. The Executive Director is responsible for the daily operations of the Regional Centre. He is assisted by two Heads of Departments: Research, Training and Documentation on one hand, Fora and Observatories on the other, as well as an administrative and financial assistant. To implement its programmes, the Regional Centre mobilises a network of high level Experts, Academics, Resource Persons and Partners in Great Lakes Region, in Africa and beyond.
1.4. Regional and International Partnerships of the Regional Centre
For the Regional Centre to implement efficiently and effectively its mission, it has been developing a network of partnerships with institutions at the National, Regional, Continental and International levels. The Regional Centre also collaborates with national and regional Institutions that are working in the same thematic areas. More specifically:
- The Regional Centre is an active Member of the African Union Governance Platform.
- The Regional Centre is an active Member of the UN/UNECA/AU African Governance Forum VII (AGF VII).
- The Regional Centre is a close Partner of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in the Great Lakes Region and has facilitated and contributed to different workshops and dialogues organised by EAC, COMESA and IGAD on Democracy and Governance issues since 2011. ICGLR has signed MoUs with the mentioned RECs.
- The Regional Centre is the strategic Partner of the African Governance Institute (AGI) in the Great Lakes Region; they plan to sign a MoU and develop a Joint Action Plan.
- The Regional Centre has a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) and the two institutions are preparing a Joint Action Plan to implement it.
- The Regional Centre has been developing contacts with Research Institutions based in ICGLR Member States and MoUs will be signed with some of them in the mid-term.
- At the international level, the Regional Centre has been collaborating with the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM), an independent Foundation based in Brussels and Maastricht.
1.5. Added value of the Regional Centre in the Great Lakes Region
The Regional Centre for Democracy and Good Governance has a niche which makes it unique in the Great Lakes Region:
- It is in a unique position as Regional Think Tank in an extremely complex Region where there is limited institutional density of African organisations that can work structurally on Democracy, Governance (including peace and security issues) and Human Rights issues.
- Its dual legitimacy, i.e. as a Think Tank embedded and mandated by a Regional multilateral Organisation on the one hand, and linked to real constituencies on the field on the other.
- Its capacity to act as a "catalyst" i.e. to ensure the "trickle down" of Democratic Governance policies of Regional and International Organisations to the field and to make sure that the "realities and voices" of the ground are transmitted to these higher echelons.
- Its capacity to work in a structured, long term way on capacity development issues (which by definition are not "quick wins") while mobilizing relevant expertise from the Region and abroad to deliver on its mandate.
- Its capacity to act as a "Change Agent” and a "Catalyst” precisely because it is working with political/public organisations in the Region and because it has the necessary "relays” in the field (with other potential "change agents" such as Civil Society and Parliaments). In this perspective, the niche of the Regional Centre relies in the capacity to "move and shake" the official bodies, public institutions to effectively implement policies on Democracy, Governance and Human Rights.
For further information on the ICGLR Levy Mwanawasa Regional Centre kindly contact: