A special workshop for regional stakeholders, 'The African Peer Review Mechanism in Southern Africa: Exploring Synergies with the Southern African Development Community', was held on 20-21 May 2015 in Gaborone, Botswana.
This workshop was jointly hosted by the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIIA), EISA, the African Regional Office of the Open Society Foundations (AfRO) and the Southern African Development Community Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (SADC-CNGO), in collaboration with the continental African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Secretariat.
It was the first such meeting under the APRM calendar as well as the largest event ever organised on APRM by non-state actors. The organising partners anticipated approximately 100-120 participants however the final figure was 183, showing the demand for such activities. The event enabled civil society and the media, for the first time to sit and engage with the principal decision makers in the APRM.
The keynote address set the tone for the entire workshop, with Dr Mekideche admitting that the APRM process was at a crossroads from which it had to either reinvigorate itself, or disappear into obscurity. Listing the practical and political limitations of the APR Panel, it was encouraging to hear Dr Mekideche recognise the importance of civil society in re-energising the APRM going forward.