Mr Clever Nyathi, Head of Governance, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), on Monday said elections remained a major source of conflicts in Africa and called for sustainable efforts to explain good governance and democracy to the people to uphold peace building on the continent.
He said: “Perhaps we need to better explain more clearly what we mean by 'good governance' and 'democratic governance' – and how they are essential elements in the battle for sustainable and equitable development.”
Mr Nyathi, who represented Mr Daouda Toure, United Nations Resident Representative in Ghana, was addressing the opening session of a three-week training programme on “Peace Building and Good Governance for African Civilian Personnel” organised by Legon Centre for International Affairs (LECIA), University of Ghana, in collaboration with Scoula Superiore Sant'Anna, an Italian University.
It is being attended by 30 participants selected from various African countries to equip them with peace building tools to serve as agents of peace in their countries.
Mr Nyathi noted that Africa had close to three million refugees and nearly 50 per cent of the world's 25 million internally displaced persons and questioned what Africans were doing to reduce the number of brutal conflicts on the continent.
“Accountability, human rights and participation are the roadmaps for poverty reduction and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals,” he said, and pointed out that training of peace builders must be an integral part of practical advocacy and compliance.
Commenting on the need to include women in peace and security issues, he quoted Mr Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General, as saying that “empowered women can be some of the most effective drivers of development”.
He commended Ghana for her leadership in democratic governance in Africa, pointing to the recent election as an example.
“If people believe in and trust governance institutions, it is possible to have smooth transitions across administrations. The success in Ghana can be traced back to very effective capacity development in the field of peace building in national institutions and civil society organizations.”
Professor Andrea Guttry, Rector of Scoula Superiore Sant'Anna and Director of International Training Programme on Conflict Management, said there was the need to adopt new methods of training peace builders.
He said his institution was also working with other organisations to expand the capacity of the programme to recruit more personnel.