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15.04.2005 General News

International peace-building conference opens

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Accra, April 15, GNA - An international security think-tank conference aimed at generating an African perspective on the United Nations peace-building mechanism opened in Accra on Friday. The Conference on the theme: "The UN and Peace-building: African Perspective," would focus on the importance of peace-building, the modalities for the establishment of a Peace-building Commission, the role of regional organization in the UN's peace-building efforts and the perspective of West African Civil Society.

Addressing the conference, Mr Jorgen Bojer, Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed concern about the effect of conflict, especially in the West African sub-region, which he said, have caused regional instability and hamper economic development. He therefore, called for strengthening of measures to secure regional stability through peace-building mechanisms such as early warning initiatives, conflict prevention modalities, effective strategies for crisis and post-conflict management and respectable mediation institution.

Mr Bojer said, "It is crucial that people of the war-torn society feel ownership of the peace building process. They must be involved in setting the agenda and leading the process locally as well as with the international stakeholders."

It is of utmost importance to ensure true local ownership to the process of devising and implementing post-conflict peace building strategies in order to make them sustainable.

The Danish Minister stressed the need for the development of participatory dialogues between the UN and local stakeholders. The regional perspective is often underestimated in the attempt to address one particular conflict.

"Narrowly conceived country-based peace building strategies are unlikely to succeed in regional setting where conflicts have interlocking political, security and economic dynamics across borders." Mr Bojer suggested the provision of security and enhancement of stability as the obvious priority for post conflict management and the definition of strategies that ensured the transition from peace building to development where other bodies take over the responsibility. He said the aim of peace building, which was to avoid a relapse into conflict, but more importantly, to establish the conditions for sustainable peace must be the focal point underpinning any agenda towards peace building.

The Conference was co-sponsored by the Government of Ghana and Denmark and organized jointly by New York University Centre on International Cooperation, African Security Dialogue and Research and Conflict Security and Development Group of Kings College London. Experts from the academia, security agencies, journalists, civil society organizations and a cross section of the public attended the two-day conference.

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