Ending conflict key in achieving sustainable development

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THE United Nations (UN) deputy secretary-general Amina Mohammed has called for regional collaboration in ending armed and non-armed conflicts, saying they are an impediment to the achievement of sustainable economic development.

Mohammed said this during the regional coordination mechanism dialogue session with African Union representatives at the 6th session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD) in Victoria Falls yesterday.

“It is very clear that if we are going to be able to silence the guns or end non-armed conflicts in Africa, we need to collaborate at the regional level.

“Collaboration at regional level is very important as it will ensure that we come up with sustainable solutions to end conflicts, the effects of climate change, hunger and poverty.

“Regional support and togetherness is key in creating conducive environments for economic development,” Mohammed said.

Armed conflicts have cost millions of dollars to countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria and Sudan while in Zimbabwe, unresolved non-armed conflicts between main political parties are derailing engagement efforts with the international community and dialogue for economic development.

Mohammed added that the UN is committed to ensuring that necessary reforms are being implemented within the UN to facilitate the formulation of policies that seek to end conflicts, hunger and poverty as informed by the real challenges being faced in Africa.

“Today, the UN has been able to listen to the African perspective, your challenges and expectations of the UN. Going forward, strong engagement between African leadership and the UN will be key to ensure that pragmatic and successful strategies are implemented,” she said.

AU commissioner for social affairs Amira Elfadil called on the UN to increase the AU’s involvement at all stages in terms of the formulation and implementation of strategies, in order to ensure their relevance and successful implementation.

“The United Nations should involve us (AU) from the beginning of designing strategies, policies and programmes. This will ensure that the strategies and policies that are formulated have an insight on people’s needs and gaps that need to be addressed,” Elfadil said.

“Even as the AU, we need to prioritise engaging at grassroots levels in order to identify new issues and old issues that need to be addressed. This is how we can achieve sustainable development as we will be operating using accurate and relevant information to formulate and implement strategies and policies,” she added.

She added that there is also a need to include civil society organisations and the private sector in order to achieve the implementation of SDGs and sustainable development.

“Our governments cannot achieve sustainable development alone. They need support from the private sector and civil society organisations to formulate strategies, policies and programmes that have the ability to deal with Africa’s plethora of challenges,” Elfadil said.

Under secretary-general and special representative to the AU Hanna Tetteh said African countries should also have infrastructure to deal with their challenges instead of waiting for outside assistance.

“If we don’t put our house in order, how do we expect people to help us?

“Let us have peace or conflict resolution infrastructure of our own and the UN will come in to assist where there is something that is going on already rather than starting from scratch,” Tetteh said.

“Let us also engage each other and come up with practical solutions on what Africa needs to do to address it’s challenges,” she added.

 

Sindiso Mhlophe
in Victoria Falls

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