Nairobi, Kenya

13 – 14 June

This convening drew on interdisciplinary research by the Cross-Border Conflict Evidence, Policy and Trends (XCEPT) research programme, the Peace and Conflict Resolution Evidence Platform (PeaceRep), and other leading international and local experts.  

Workshop participants explored the drivers and dynamics of transnational conflict in Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Somalia, and Mozambique and addressed considerations for policy, identified entry points for improving governance and citizen-state relations. Workshop panels and roundtables were structured to support knowledge sharing and discussion among local, national, and international actors from the policy, research, NGO and civil society communities. 

XCEPT · XCEPT East Africa Workshop

Panel Session 1: Conflict and Regional Contestation

This panel session undertook an examination of the spillover and regionalisation of conflict. The focus was on Sudan and Ethiopia as well as instability across the borders of South Sudan, Somalia and Kenya.

Moderator: Ahmed Soliman – Chatham House 

  • Cedric Barnes – Head, Africa Research Group, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)
  • Kholood Khair – Confluence Advisory  
  • Aden Abdi – Conciliation Resources 

Panel Session 2: Regional and International Responses 
This panel session held a discussion of considerations of key actors to support better integrated approaches to conflict reduction.

Moderator:  Zoë Wildig – Minister Council, British High Commission, Nairobi 

  • Abel Abate Demissie – Chatham House 
  • Chido Mutangadura – United Nations University 
  • Martha Bakwesegha – Life & Peace Institute

Panel Session 3: Informal and Conflict Economies Across Border
This roundtable focused on how local communities operate across porous borders and navigate instability in transnational conflict contexts.

Moderator: Hannah Stogdon – Rift Valley Institute (RVI) 

  • Ahmed Soliman – Chatham House 
  • Joseph Diing Majok – RVI 
  • Ikal Angelei – Friends of Lake Turkana 
  • Tobias Hagmann – RVI 
  • Simon Longoli – Karamoja Development Forum

Panel Session 4: Governance and Stability Across Borders
This roundtable considered different programme, policy tools and approaches at local, national and regional levels to enable more effective governance and stability in borderlands.

Moderator: Freddie Carver – Regional Durable Solutions Secretariat/RVI 

  • Mesganaw Mulugeta – RVI 
  • Stephen Kirimi – Life & Peace Institute 
  • Jan Pospisil – Coventry University 
  • Michael Odhiambo – People, Land and Rural Development 

Panel Session 5: Improving Conflict Insights Through Innovative Research Methods
This panel session discussed how field and remote research methods – from participatory and ethnographic research to the use of satellite data – can come together to strengthen evidence on conflict-affected areas.

Moderator: Ruth Citrin – XCEPT 

  • Aliya Souhaid – XCEPT  
  • Patta Scott-Villiers – Institute of Development Studies  
  • Joseph Diing Majok – RVI

Panel Session 6: Civic Actors and Sudan’s Peace, Economic, and Humanitarian Processes
This panel session explored conflict resolution in Sudan, and the implications for Sudan’s political economy of excluding civic actors from policy and aid responses. The discussion also addressed lessons from the 2011 Arab uprisings for the Sudan conflict.

Moderator: Matthew Benson – London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) 

  • Raga Makawi – LSE 
  • Deen Sharp – LSE 
  • Kholood Khair – Confluence Advisory 

Panel Session 7: Armed Actors Across Porous Borders

This panel session was centred on how non-state actors operate in borderlands – including how women are deployed across borders – and state and regional responses. The focus was on Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and northern Mozambique.

Moderator: Tobias Hagmann – RVI 

  • Stephen Buchanan-Clarke – Good Governance Africa 
  • Nisar Majid – LSE 
  • Orly Stern – XCEPT Research Fund 

Panel Session 8: Climate Stress: Local, Regional and Global Responses
This session examined climate- and natural resource-related stresses and conflict reduction. The focus was on inclusive approaches across sectors and linking local, national and regional responses. 

Moderator: Kwesi Sansculotte-Greenidge – World Food Programme 

  • Wafula Okumu – Concordis International 
  • Anna Louise Strachan – Bodhi Global Analysis 
  • Jimmy Awany –The Bridge Network, South Sudan  
  • Matthew Benson – LSE 

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