The Keynote Speaker of the 2019 ADR Conference of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC) themed “ICMC at 20: A trajectory of Mediation Practice and Grassroots Conflict Transformation in Nigeria”, is Dr. Ozonnia Ojielo, the founding President of the Institute.
Dr. Ozonnia Ojielo is a Legal Practitioner and a notable Dispute Avoidance/Resolution Practitioner. He currently serves as the UN Resident Coordinator, Representative of the UN Secretary General and Designated Official for UN Security in the Kyrgyz Republic.
- PhD Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Ibadan, Nigeria (2008);
- Executive Masters’ in Strategic and Project Management, Paris Graduate School of Management (2007);
- Barrister at Law (B.L), Nigerian Law School, Lagos, Nigeria, (1990)
- Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Honors, Anambra State University of Science and Technology, Awka, Campus, Awka, Nigeria (1989);
- Master of Arts in History, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria (1987);
- Bachelor of Arts in History (B.A. Honors), University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria (1984).
Dr. Ozonnia is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC), a Fellow of 21st Century Trust, London, a Fellow of the Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution (Stadtschlaining, Austria), a Fellow of the Society for Peace Studies and Practice (Nigeria), and a Fellow of the Body of Fellows of Peacebuilding in West Africa, West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (Accra, Ghana).
Dr. Ozonnia is the Founding President of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators, the professional body of dispute resolution practitioners with the mandate to regulate the practice of Mediation, train prospective candidates, and encourage organizations and institutions to adopt Mediation and Conciliation as the primary means for addressing disputes. ICMC has grown to be the largest Mediation organization in Africa with over 8,000 members spread across the world.
He has held the following positions:
- UN Resident Coordinator, UNDP Resident Representative and UNFPA Representative, (1 December 2017 -31 December 2018)
Achievements included: Implementation of multi-agency programme on cross border peacebuilding between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, involving 6 agencies; implementation of multi-agency programme on preventing violent extremism in the country, involving 7 UN agencies; development and implementation of multi-agency programme on preventing violence against women involving 5 agencies; policy and advisory support towards finalization of a national development strategy 2040 and five year medium term development plan; development of multi-UN agency and multi-donor initiative on the apparel sector; conduct of a UN MAPS mission and support to government on the development of an acceleration plan; significant advocacy initiatives on many sensitive issues such as bride kidnapping; protection for minorities and human rights defenders; development of several policy, analytical and research products on preventing violent extremism.
- Regional Cluster Director, Governance and Peacebuilding in Africa (October 1 2014-30 November 2017)
Achievements include: integration of governance, peace and security indicators into household and other national surveys in 20 countries, providing evidence for enhancing the social contract at national levels; together with UN HABITAT, led the development of a new framework for leveraging urbanization for development in Africa; developed a framework for scenario planning and analysis enabling UN support to governments to more effectively anticipate and respond to conflicts in advance; support for AU and RECs especially IGAD that led to new frameworks/approaches for responding to violent extremism and enhancing regional and national infrastructures for peace; establishment of cutting edge policy platforms such as the Maendeleo Policy Forum which has become the platform for policy discussions among development actors in Addis Ababa; development of cutting edge knowledge products and programming evidencing strategic thinking on development challenges in Africa including reconciliation, violent extremism, youth etc. Leading the provision of support in conflict affected and post-conflict contexts on security sector reforms, rule of law and justice transformation, reconciliation, peacebuilding, civil society, etc.
- Coordinator, Conflict Prevention and Recovery, Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR) New York (28 October 2011 – 30 September 2014)
Achievements included: Management of a global portfolio of programmes that supported more than 50 countries across four continents on issues of conflict prevention, peace building, national dialogue, reconciliation, economic and livelihoods recovery etc. The development of a UNDP strategy on conflict prevention; the review and reformulation of UNDP strategic approaches for implementing conflict prevention and peacebuilding programming demonstrating a clear logic chain for interventions. The development and systemization of analytical tools for conflict and vulnerability analysis and risk mapping; the publication by UNDP of cutting edge research and knowledge products on new and critical issues of peace building, conflict prevention and recovery demonstrating UNDP’s thought leadership; the expansion of his team’s financial portfolio for programmes to more than $10m; leadership for the development of a UN system partnership and framework together with the European Union on the management of conflicts related to land and other natural resources (that included 10 UN agencies); the establishment of a UNDG framework (that includes secretariat agencies such as DPA, PBSO, UNEP and Habitat) for integrating conflict analysis and conflict sensitivity into UN Development Frameworks (UNDAFs), the joint conduct of conflict analysis by UN agencies and the development of joint UN system strategies on conflict prevention in selected countries; the transformation of the “Framework Team” into the UN Task Team on Conflict Prevention (involving 22 agencies), which he co-chaired at the technical level; the development of strategic partnerships in conflict prevention with the African Union, ECOWAS, SADC, IGAD, EAC, League of Arab States; the World Bank and the African Development Bank including the implementation of joint initiatives in fragile and post-conflict contexts especially on issues of reconciliation, radicalization, national dialogues and the political transformation of armed groups respectively. The transformation of the Joint Programme with DPA into a UN system flagship initiative leading to joint action by DPA and UNDP in many countries to support UNCTs and increase in the number of PDAs from 11 to 40; and the development of strategic partnership with civil society leading to the establishment of an international platform on infrastructures for peace, and the conduct of joint initiatives with global civil society organizations in selected countries.
- Senior Peace and Development Advisor and Head of the Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding Programme, UNDP, Kenya (14 July 2008- 27 October 2011)
Achievements included: Successful establishment and operationalization of a number of commissions created under the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation Agreement. These included the Interim Independent Electoral Commission and subsequently the Independent National Electoral and Boundaries Commission; the Committee of Experts on a new constitution; the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission; the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission. Leadership for the creation of an inter-organizational partnership (the Uwiano Platform) that ensured the successful and peaceful conduct of a referendum on a new constitution for Kenya on 4th August 2010, including the implementation of 365 different kinds of interventions that prevented the occurrence of violence. Strengthened national capacity in conflict prevention and peace building through the establishment and operationalization of 100 district peace committees composed mostly of civil society, faith based and community actors. The design, development and roll-out of a comprehensive national early warning and response infrastructure including partnership developed with private sector and non-state actors. I mobilized more than $20m for governance and conflict prevention programmes in the country. The establishment of a UNCT platform for engagement with the government on conflict prevention issues known as the Peace and Development Team that involved 10 UN agencies.
- Senior Governance Advisor and Head of the Governance Programme, UNDP, Ghana (1 September 2004-13 July 2008)
Achievements included: More than 200 High Court judges trained on judicial procedures, case recording, the introduction and mainstreaming of alternative dispute resolution processes as part of the judicial process leading to faster administration of justice; introduction of the “Chief Justices’ Breakfast Forum”, a monthly policy platform for dialogue between the judiciary and its stakeholders (especially civil society actors) on judicial reform processes; the establishment of 40 community mediation centres (composed mostly of community members and other civic actors) which overtook the judiciary in the number of disputes successfully mediated and resolved over a two year period; introduction of gender budgeting as part of the national finance and budget planning process and training of planning officers in all ministries on gender budgeting; capacity development and professionalization of the electoral commission of Ghana resulting in the very successful management of subsequent general elections (2008, 2012 and 2016). The establishment of the Inter Parties Advisory Committee (which became a very successful platform for mediating disputes between political parties in Ghana and has since been copied widely in other parts of the world); introduction of a new pensions regime that gave public servants financial security upon retirement; the establishment of the “Speakers Breakfast Meeting”, a monthly policy dialogue platform between the legislature and non-state actors (composed mostly of civil society stakeholders); the establishment and operationalization of a “National Infrastructure for Peace” which included the establishment of peace committees at national, regional and district levels, composed of extremely well regarded and respected Ghanaians which worked at all levels of the society, from high level political actors to community members. The infrastructure for peace model which he developed in Ghana has since become a UN best practice copied globally in more than 30 countries.
- Chief of Information Management and Officer in Charge, Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission (1 April 2002-31 August 2004)
Achievements included: He supervised the research, investigations and report writing of the Commission, acted as lead legal counsel for the commission, interviewed more than 500 witnesses, 350 of them participated in public and closed hearings of the Commission. He led production of a final report of more than 1,500 pages with edited annexures of more than 3000 pages that are today regarded as the most authoritative and comprehensive account of the colonial and postcolonial experience in Sierra Leone, including of the civil war and the governance and other actions required to transform the country. The commission was the first in history to take statements from victims and witnesses outside the country; it was also the first truth commission in history to produce children’s and women’s versions of its report respectively. This practice has since been copied by truth commissions in other parts of the world. He also produced video and pictorial versions of our report all of which have been critically received and acclaimed by the global transitional justice community. He mobilized more than $6m for the work of the Commission.
Dr. Ojielo was the Principal Partner, Ojielo, Ojielo and Company, Legal Practitioners, Lagos, Nigeria, from 1990 till 2002. He was a Political Editor for New Outlook Newspapers, Nigeria, and a University Lecturer teaching courses in Law, Political Science and Conflict Resolution at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), Enugu and the ESUT Business School. He is a distinguished author: published three books, co-edited 3 books and published scores of refereed articles, journals and book chapters in publications from around the world.
The 2019 ADR Conference of ICMC is scheduled to hold on the 3rd of December, 2019 in Abuja. To register, kindly visit https://icmcng.org/portal