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​Addressing p​ressing social challenges: Programme of the ACDS

The Africa Centre for Dispute Settlement (ACDS) works primarily within three thematic areas based on social need, the Centre's network and experience, and a business nexus to pressing social challenges and their solutions in Africa:​

  1. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). This thematic area encompasses policies, practices and the enabling environment that result in less litigious approaches to resolving discrete grievances for which courts can provide only sub-optimal outcomes in terms of time, financial resources, quality of the solution, or commitment to their implementation.
  2. Business, conflict and development. This thematic area encompasses collaborative approaches that mitigate conflict risks and improve development outcomes in the context of large-footprint private investment (for example, in extractives, commercial agriculture, or infrastructure), particularly in post-conflict, weak rule of law, and other complex environments.
  3. Unlocking local development. This thematic area encompasses the mechanisms by which government at the municipal and sub-municipal levels, business and communities can better assess, plan, define their respective roles, manage complex initiatives, and monitor and evaluate outcomes where collaborative solutions are required to meet social needs.

Within each of these thematic areas, ACDS works to create a virtuous circle of research, reflection, capacity-building, and coalitions for constructive action:​

  • Convening of stakeholders across sectors, dispute resolution practitioners, scholars, and students to share perspectives, assess the state of play, bring evidence to bear, and create new space for innovative solutions;
  • Commissioned research in support of higher quality dialogue and deliberation, including scholarly articles, monitoring & evaluation reports, and case study development;
  • Capacity building based on needs identified by stakeholders, in particular curriculum development and piloting of innovative approaches;
  • Support for emerging scholars and practitioners, in particular bursaries for master's and doctoral candidates.​