REMARKS BY H.E. MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION OF SIERRA LEONE
DR SAMURA M.W KAMARA
PANEL DISCUSSION ON “COSOLIDATING PEACE AND SECURITY IN AFRICA”
Excellencies Heads of State and Government,
Deputy Commissioner of the African Union,
The Under-Secretary General and Special Adviser on Africa.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me express my deep appreciation to the African Union, the Government of Sweden and the United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Africa for organizing this event, and for the invitation extended to us. I am personally gladdened that I have been able to participate in this afternoon’s topical discussion on Consolidating Peace and Security in Africa which I consider timely; particularly in view of the great expectations in relation to the proposed implementation of the post-2015 development agenda and the African Union Agenda 2063.
Devastating Civil conflicts and trouble spots continue to rage in various parts of the world, and millions of people continue to be displaced, leading to growing refugee and illegal migrant crises. In Africa, even though we have made significant strides in reducing resurgence and in managing conflicts during the last decades, some African countries continue to face complex contexts defined by civil unrests and terrorist activities. Going forward, we must strengthen peace initiatives and mitigate the conditions fueling discontent and unrest.
The UN remains the key platform to strengthen and sustain partnerships for global peace and security as it has the comparative advantage in light of its universal outreach. We must continue to leverage on the opportunities provided by this global platform to foster international and regional cooperation.
In the light of significant advances in consolidating peace on the continent, in particular, in Sierra Leone, the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) drew down in March 2014 and transferred its residual activities to the Government and the United Nations country team. UNIPSIL successes underscore the importance of national ownership and leadership, inclusive political dialogue, coordination and sustained resources for efforts to bring about peace, stability and development. In July 2014, the Peacebuilding Fund approved additional funding for peace consolidation in post-transition Sierra Leone.
While African countries, the African Union and the regional economic communities continue to make progress in consolidating the African Peace and Security Architecture and accelerating efforts to implement the commitments contained in the Fiftieth Anniversary Solemn Declaration, in particular on silencing the guns, ending all wars by 2020 and achieving a conflict-free Africa, the United Nations should intensify its support and cooperation with African countries, the African Union and the regional economic communities and regional mechanisms towards the timely realization of this goal.
In conclusion, as the continent is increasingly contributing to United Nations peacekeeping and seeks to further strengthen its peacekeeping capacity, including through the operationalization of both its African Standby Force and its rapid deployment capability, these global debates and decisions are particularly relevant for Africa.
In line with the 7th aspiration of Agenda 2063 – “Africa as a strong, united, resilient and influential global player and partner”, Africa continues to demand for at least 2 permanent seats with all the prerogatives and privileges, and 2 additional non-permanent seats in the United Nations Security Council. Additionally, Africa now plays and increasing role in the maintenance of international peace and security. Yet, even with the largest number of Member States in the UN, Africa continues to be the only continent without any representation in the permanent category of the United Nations Security Council.
Let me, drawing from our experience in Sierra Leone, conclude by outlining a few of the lessons learnt for the future:
• We must always start by reflecting on the root causes of conflict and comprehensively addressing them with a view to consolidate sustainable peace and avoid relapse into conflict.
• Winning and consolidating the peace as well as sustaining it begin with the constant need to pay adequate attention to the fulfilment to of Peace Agreements acceptable to all parties, and providing adequate and timely resources for implementation. In particular, managing Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration of former combatants should be well resourced to its logical conclusion and not left hanging or abandoned towards the end as was the case in Sierra Leone. Unfinished DDR programmes have a negative socio-economic effect, as well as attitudinal and behavioral challenges that have social ramifications.
• Having the right balance between military and non-military intervention mechanisms is central to winning the peace, consolidating the peace, and sustaining the peace.
• It is also imperative that the United Nations is more inclusive in managing conflict and peacemaking related interventions at the Security Council level.
Finally, in line with the 7th aspiration of Agenda 2063 – “Africa as a strong united, resilient and influential global player and partner”, Africa continues to demand for at 2 permanent seats with all the prerogatives and privileges, and 2 additional non-permanent seats in the UN Security Council. Additionally, Africa now plays an increasing role in the maintenance of international peace and security. Yet, even with the largest number of Member States in the UN, Africa continues to be the only continent with any representation in the permanent category of the United Nations Security Council.
I Thank You.