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Regional Peace and Security Co-Operation Under the Intergovernmental Authority on Development: Development and Challenges

Organization for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa
Publication Date
  • Regionalism
  • Mediation
  • Security
  • Common Interests
  • Divergences
  • Political Science


This article is an attempt to contribute to the debate related to the effectiveness of regional organizations as forums of security cooperation. Realists argue that there is no substantive role for regional organizations in conflict prevention in a world characterised by anarchy and relentless competitions for power and security among states. On the other hand, the United Nations and other international bodies believe regional organisations can play significant role in conflict prevention by building trust among states through the provision of local forums for frequent interaction among states. The article discusses the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in three of its periods: 1) the period with no mandate on security; 2) the period of its renewed mandate for security cooperation and its limited success; and 3) the present period of impasse in implementing its mandate. Three main factors are discussed: 1) domestic politics of the member countries influencing the posture, policies and decisions of member states in relation to regional politics and the regional organization; 2) intra state conflicts of member states and absence of a common ground among them on the regional cooperation; and 3) the support of a favourable international political environment for such a regional security co-operation. The paper concludes that shared interests and problems among member states drive effective regional cooperation in conflict prevention. Regional mechanism in the absence of such a commonality is only limited to providing a platform for dialogue rather than effective security cooperation.Keywords: Regionalism, mediation, security, common interests, divergences

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