|Background of the regional RBC conferences|
The RBC initiative by civil society in the Horn and East Africa region was borne out of the realization that the struggle for scarce resources is the cause of many violent conflicts that easily turn to politically manipulated and distressful human suffering in the area. These conflicts have ended up causing food insecurity, business and social service decline leading to marginalization of the affected communities. This has bred ethnic tensions which spread to become major national violent conflicts especially in countries with fragile state infrastructure.
In this regard, Oxfam Novib resolved to engage the civil society organizations involved in RBCs particularly its partners in order to establish entry points for tackling RBC issues in the region. As a first step, a consultative roundtable was convened in The Hague in 1998 where a core team sought to explore key challenges and opportunities for initiating a regional RBC network. At this meeting, discussions revolved around the definition of RBCs beyond the natural resource realm; role of various levels of decision-making; and various entry points for lobby, campaigns and advocacy. It was agreed at this meeting that annual RBC conferences would be viable forums through which progress should be assessed and a collective agenda refined.
The 2nd RBC Conference took place in Borama in Somalia with an overall objective of developing a regular, acceptable analytical framework for the operationalization of an RBC regional network. A 3rd Conference took place in Dinda National Park in Sudan in 2001. The focus of this meeting was to engage further on conflict analysis tools with more focus on stakeholder analysis. The 4th conference held in Gashamo, Ethiopia in 2003 focused on the formation of a common campaign agenda around various RBC issues in the Horn of Africa (HOA).
The 5th RBC Conference was convened in November 2004 in Southern Sudan at New Site in Kapoeta County with NESI Network as the host. This conference provided a turning point in the RBC process. At this meeting emphasis was laid on the structural orientation of the RBC network in order to shape action and evidence for workable campaign strategies built upon candid understanding of national RBC issues. The 6th RBC Conference was held in Hargeisa in December 2005. It had three main objectives: