The Regional Centre for Strategic Studies (RCSS) in its capacity as the GPPAC South Asia Regional Secretariat organized a workshop titled “Armed Conflict in South Asia: Towards a Cooperative Framework for Preventive Action” on 3rd and 4th May 2012 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The broad objective of the workshop is to seek a better understanding of why peaceful conflicts transform as armed conflicts and how the violent nature of such conflicts could be mitigated in South Asia.
The inauguration of the workshop was held on 3rd May where H.E. Ms. Seema Ilahi Baloch, the High Commissioner for Pakistan in Sri Lanka, delivered the keynote address.The workshop was attended by members of think tanks, representatives of South Asian embassies in Colombo, and numerous civil society organizations in Sri Lanka and other South Asian countries. The workshop comprised of four working sessions where speakers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka spoke on and evaluated the preventive action measures in their respective countries while a separate session on vulnerable groups focused on the role and impact of violent conflict on women, youth and minority groups.
During the closing session, Jon O. Brodholt, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo addressed the participants and reiterated Norway’s commitment and support for conflict prevention work. Based on the presentations and discussion of the preceding four sessions, the workshop participants then split into three groups to discuss and identify recommendations for state actors, civil society organizations and for mainstreaming gender in conflict prevention. A special planning meeting was held afterward where, based on the above recommendations, the participants proposed follow up activities that they wished to carry out in the six South Asian countries within the year 2012.
The RCSS will be publishing a web report based on the workshop proceedings. It is also working with GPPAC members in the region to carry out the proposed follow up activities in their respective countries.