Ms Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Ghana, has urged Ghanaians to manage political competition in order to avoid potential escalation from peaceful competition to violent conflict.
“This scenario must be avoided with the strongest determination as it would threaten Ghana’s hard-won development gains and affect its international reputation as a beacon of peace in the region and as a preferred place for long-term economic investment and development,” she stated.
Ms. Sandhu-Rojon made the statement at a flag-raising ceremony organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration to mark the 67th UN Day in Accra.
Commenting on the message of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, Ms Sandhu-Rojon said the issues highlighted in the message including the progress that had been achieved across the globe in areas of development, democratization and economic growth as well role the UN had played in supporting this progress, ranging from peacekeeping, emergency relief, development to the provision of justice were reflected in Ghana’s theme for this year’s celebration “sustaining good governance, peace and stability for national development”.
She said this underscored the fact that without peace there was no development, and without development, it was difficult to ensure peaceful coexistence between people.
Ms Sandhu-Rojon noted that Ghana had consistently pursued sustainable development built on peaceful social relations as reflected in its culture of deep mutual respect, clear vision in establishing national peace architecture and her laudable efforts to secure international peace by providing peacekeepers.
“I am happy to see that in Ghana today, there are many very encouraging signs which confirm the political will and the strong commitment of the Ghanaian people to sustain peace at this critical juncture: hundreds of Ghanaian groups, institutions and media houses around the country have been working hard over the last year to promote peace, there are peace marches, peace billboards and advertisements, youth for peace, football for peace and the electoral commission is raising the bar on standards through the Biometric Voter Registration and voter verification” she added.
She also highlighted the Secretary General’s stress on the importance of accelerating the achievement of the millennium development goals and forging an effective and practicable post-MDG agenda.
She announced that Ghana had been chosen as one of 50 countries to organize a national dialogue which would ask the common person on the street or in the rural communities: “what future do you want?” the National development planning commission and the UN would jointly engage civil society organizations and the most vulnerable populations to gather their views. Some consultations would focus on priority themes such as rising income and geographical inequalities, population, malnutrition and food insecurity among others.
According to the Secretary General’s message, friendships, partnerships, mutual support and close collaboration were very important as no one leader, country or institution could resolve the world’s problems alone and Ms Sandhu-Rojon called on the friends and partners of the UN in Ghana to work with them to deliver as one and to address the remaining challenges Ghana faces towards the MDG target date and beyond.
Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, reiterated Ghana’s commitment and adherence to the protection and promotion of electoral integrity and deepening of the culture of respect for fundamental human rights and the rule of law as imperatives for good governance and sustainable development, and called on development partners and entire international community to help to realize the vision.
He also called on all Ghanaians to treasure the peace that Ghana was enjoying and to work earnestly towards sustaining it, especially as they prepared for the elections.
Alhaji Mumuni paid glowing tribute to the UN for their role in securing world peace in their 67 years of existence. “It is Ghana’s considered view that in spite of daunting challenges, drawbacks and difficulties facing mankind, the UN remains relevant and constitutes an important time-tested instrument in securing global peace and the advancement of sustainable economic growth and social development” he said.
He added that the UN, in partnership with the government of Ghana, had worked assiduously to address fundamental issues such as development, disaster relief, disarmament and non-proliferation, poverty reduction, HIV/AIDS, Mediation, the promotion of good and democratic governance and conflict resolution.
He also commended Ghanaian peacekeepers, who had worked hard and sometimes sacrificed their lives to help promote peace on missions, and pledged Ghana’s continued commitment to working to promote international peace, security and development.
Mr. Kwashie Klu-Duvor, First Vice Chairman of the Ghana United Nations Students Association (GUNSA), who read a statement on behalf its President , also called on the youth to work towards peace and to embrace any action aimed at ensuring peace, being inspired by the fact that as peace provides good grounds for national development, a better future was assured.