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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 24th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)



NIGERIAN LEADER PROPOSES CREATION OF UN CONFLICT MEDIATION COMMISSION

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan today proposed to the General Assembly the creation of a conflict mediation commission within the office of the United Nations Secretary-General to develop strategies for the resolution of disputes across the world.

Such a commission would be tasked with collating information on conflicts, identifying the parties to them and developing rules of engagement, including the sanctions that would apply to those who obstruct efforts to resolve disputes peacefully, Mr. Jonathan told the Assembly’s annual general debate in New York.

“For the world to move from a culture of response after conflict to that of a culture of prevention, the international community must muster the political will to promote preventive diplomacy, in particular through mediation,” said Mr. Jonathan.

He said conflicts were also linked to the proliferation of small arms and pledged that Nigeria remains committed to the implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty that addresses the problem of illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.

Mr. Jonathan also voiced concern over the increasing incidence of piracy and maritime crime in West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea and expressed his support for the Secretary-General’s proposal to send a UN assessment mission to the region to study the situation and explore possible options for UN support and action.

He pointed that Nigeria had in the recent past faced an upsurge in incidents of terrorism, including the suicide bomb attack on UN House in the capital, Abuja, on 26 August that claimed the lives of 23 people, including 11 UN staff, and said his country will continue to work with the world body and other partners to combat the scourge.

He announced that the UN Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) will launch its first project in Abuja in November intended to prevent conflict and counter the appeal of terrorism to youth through education and dialogue.

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AFRICA THE FOCUS AS UN CHIEF HOLDS TALKS WITH TANZANIAN AND ERITREAN LEADERS

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with the leaders of Eritrea and Tanzania today to discuss some of the many political and humanitarian challenges confronting Africa.

In a tête-à-tête with Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki, held on the sidelines of the General Assembly’s annual general debate, Mr. Ban discussed peace and security issues in the Horn of Africa, particularly Somalia, Sudan and the long-standing border demarcation issue between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Separately, the Secretary-General also met Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete and offered his personal condolences following the boat accident off the island of Zanzibar on 10 September that claimed the lives of nearly 200 people.

Mr. Ban and Mr. Kikwete also discussed Tanzania’s constitutional review process, as well as regional peace, security and development, including the situation in Somalia.

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HOME-GROWN METHODS OF MEDIATION WORK BEST, RWANDA TELLS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Conflict mediation efforts will be far more successful if they are home-grown and harness the capacities of young people and regional groups or institutions, Rwandan President Paul Kagame told the opening of the General Assembly’s annual general debate today.

Speaking at United Nations Headquarters in New York, Mr. Kagame warned that traditional methods of diplomacy can frequently take a toll on the people they are supposed to help.

“Too often, while resolutions are being debated and refined, people are dying,” he said. “And sometimes when those resolutions are eventually adopted, enforcement is slow, or they only halt the conflict for a short time but with no sustainable solutions.”

The theme of this year’s general debate is the role of mediation in resolving conflicts and the Rwandan leader stressed in his remarks that national ownership of the process remains vital.

“Mediation efforts must be based on an over-riding desire to bring conflicting parties to resolve their differences. But this should not be confused with supporting one side in the conflict, or imposing a solution in the interests of the mediators.”

He said the most effective way to prevent conflict from even arising was to empower citizens, particularly young people, so that they feel they have an important stake in the management and stability of their community or country.

“This generation carries less historical and political baggage, and is more inclined to getting the most out of this global village we all find ourselves sharing.

“With social and communication tools, they are key innovators and thought leaders not only of tomorrow but right now. We have an important responsibility to empower them.”

Mr. Kagame said mediation processes must be based on “specific cultural and political contexts. In Rwanda, for instance, we have seen this produce long-lasting solutions and tangible results on the ground because they are home-grown.

“It is also important to involve regional and sub-regional players, who have ample knowledge of the often complex regional dynamics of the conflicts in the mediation efforts. These organizations should be supported expeditiously, before disputes escalate into intractable conflicts.”

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