African governments must plan to prevent conflicts

President John Mahama
President John Mahama

President John Dramani Mahama on Monday called on African governments to employ systemic thinking and planning to conflict prevention and peace-building.

He said the move was more proactive than the current regime of fragmentation and “accidental” strategies adopted to prevent and resolve conflicts.

President Mahama said this in a speech read on his behalf at the opening session of the African Union Commission (AUC) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Consultation forum organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Accra.

It was on the theme: “Building National Peace Infrastructures: Strengthening National, Regional and Continental Co-ordination in Conflict Prevention”.

President Mahama said major changes in perspective and emergence of attitudes conducive to co-operation at new levels were required to achieve sustainable conflict prevention and peace-building.

He called on African governments to build collaborative relationships with development partners to strengthen national capacity for prevention, management and resolution of conflicts, provide training and advice to national and local institutions and leadership to enable them manage conflicts constructively and to engage peacefully in political transitions.

In a speech read on behalf of Mr Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, President of the ECOWAS Commission, he described the peace and security situation in the continent as fragile, adding that recent experiences in Mali, Guinea Bissau, Central African Republic, Madagascar and Egypt demonstrated the situation.

He described the forum as timely, aimed at preventing, mitigating and resolving violent conflicts and to rebuild in situations where violence had been contained.

Mr Ouedraogo expressed optimism that individual and collective initiatives would contribute to stabilize the African Region and sustain development of the citizenry.

“The time has come to integrate these efforts so as to maximize cost-effectiveness and benefits,” he added.

Ms Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, UN Resident Co-ordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, called on the participants to learn from Ghana’s commitment and peace infrastructure efforts.

“Ghana is not perfect… But despite it all, the political parties, the media, civil society, the Police Service, youth groups, women groups, the National Peace Council, traditional leaders such as the Asantehene…  played their parts to great and evident success,” she said.

The two-day event is expected to focus on an agreed framework for the elaboration of a regional action plan for establishing and operationalising national infrastructures for peace, including national early warning systems.

It aims at bringing together key partners in the West African Region to consult on how best to strengthen linkages between national, regional and continental initiatives on conflict prevention and mediation.

Participants attending the event include representatives from the AUC, ECOWAS, Ministers of the Interior, representatives of national peace infrastructures and UNDP.

Source: GNA

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