Bujumbura, Burundi, 27th March, 2017: The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the East African Community (EAC) are meeting in Bujumbura, Burundi, for a two-day joint meeting to develop a framework for cooperation between the two institutions this is in order to enhance peace, security and creation of enabling environment for economic development in the region.

The two institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2010 which defined the level of partnership and outlined a number of areas in which to foster greater cooperation. these  included developing capacities to address conflicts, refugees and humanitarian issues, promotion of democracy and good governance, fighting illegal exploitation of natural resources, promotion of private sector and civil society as well as combating sexual  and gender based violence, among others.

“The meeting is an opportunity for the two institutions to get best practices from each other”. Ambassador Zachary Muburi-Muita, ICGLR Executive Secretary, said at the opening session of the meeting.  “The  ICGLR has a lot to learn from the EAC, which is undoubtedly older and therefore more experienced in the years it has been in existence’’ he pointed out.

While each of the two organizations has its unique way of operations and a unique mandate, Ambassador Muita said ‘’ there is the nexus of poverty and underdevelopment being a major cause of conflict necessitating the two organizations working together in order to strengthen their efforts to enhance peace and security in order to create an enabling environment to embark on economic development’’.

“EAC is a Regional Economic Community (REC) committed to the promotion of regional integration in order to foster economic development whereas, the ICGLR is a Regional Mechanism established for the purpose of facilitating Member States working with partners for political interventions to tackle peace and security challenges”. The Executive Secretary added

“Our two organizations shall seek to develop common positions in tackling the political problems affecting some of the countries belonging to both organizations, as is the case of South Sudan and the Burundi-Rwanda political impasse”. Ambassador Muburi-Muita said

The EAC Secretary General Ambassador Liberat Mfumukeko, on his part said that “the  current economic situation in the region, the security and environmental concerns coupled with the fluid global political dispensation, make it imperative for the ICGLR to take its rightful place as provided for in Article 26 of the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region”.

He said the most immediate concern, from the EAC perspective, is how the two organizations ‘’can work on synergy towards finding a sustainable solution to the Burundi political impasse and respond to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Republic of South Sudan’’.

Ambassador Mfumukeko said ‘’we will be looking at points of convergence and concern that invite attention in the immediate, medium and long-term over the next two days and at the end, based on our collective vision, work out in detail a practical and implementable roadmap with clear timeframes and deliverables, that will place our partnership at the centre of integration based on complementarity and unity of purpose’’.

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