On July 17, 2018 The NATO Southern Hub (NSD-S) held an online chat forum to discuss 'Who funds Instability in Africa?' The NSD-S Hub engaged with community and civil society leaders from 12 African countries, many working daily on the front lines in conflict and post-conflict settings. Regional and technical experts from NGOs and multilateral organizations and think tanks also joined.
NATO & Regional Perspectives
It was an occasion to hear unpolished perspectives from civil society organisations and leaders that live and work in Africa. An exchange of ideas to better understand drivers of instability, primarily through a local lens, and how it may be possible to leverage civil society for soft power. It demonstrated a considerable willingness by both NATO and CSOs to seek creative ways to gain perspectives from community and civil society leaders in Africa.
Several participants had questions regarding NATO's intentions. Those questions are distilled to the following statement, "NATO is military, and we do not need military solutions to our challenges." The event allowed NSD-S personnel to address this type of statement directly by offering the explanation that the Hub has been developed as NATO's Article 2 organization and is working towards finding better ways to engage with people to gain something very important; their perspective.
Utilizing the platform was a first step to bring together local voices, context and perspectives that are, otherwise, not typically accessible to NATO. By continuing to leverage these voices, foster relationships and create allies with youth, women's groups, grassroots and religious leaders, and CSOs, NSD-S will be able to more effectively fulfill its mission to connect, consult and coordinate. These on the ground perspectives will support NSD-S to provide the best possible advice to NATO while building relationships that can ultimately lead to peace and stability.