Countries must do their utmost to translate their commitments to peace building into life-enhancing realities for their citizens, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today in a message to a post-conflict event in Rwanda.
“We must do more to strengthen the impact of peace-building. This means better partnerships, greater agility, decisive support for peace processes, and empowering women,” he stated in the message, which was delivered by Assistant Secretary-General for Peace building Support Judy Cheng-Hopkins in Kigali, the country’s capital.
Mr. Ban said peace building efforts are an essential tool in preventing the recurrence of large-scale violence, and they need to be carried out in a sustained and in-depth fashion to deliver positive results.
He also spoke of the major impact that effective peace-building can have in a country, citing Rwanda’s rapid progress as an example.
Since the 1990s, infant mortality in Rwanda has been halved, and primary school enrolment has increased from 68 per cent to over 96 per cent. In addition, Rwanda has become the only country in the world where women hold a majority of parliamentary positions.
“Rwanda’s major gains, as well as the significant challenges the country still faces, can offer valuable lessons for other post-conflict societies engaged in peace-building and state-building,” Mr. Ban said.
He also said he has been encouraged by the formation of the ‘g7+’ group, which consists of 19 of the world’s most fragile States that have come together to share experiences and lobby for international actors to engage more effectively in their countries.
“This initiative has the potential to push forward necessary reforms that can improve donor coordination and aid effectiveness, and I urge Rwanda and other countries to support it,” he said.
The two-day event was organized by the United Nations Peace-building Commission, whose goal is to help countries emerging from conflict make an irreversible transition from war to peace.
To do this, the Commission seeks to establish partnerships between countries and relevant stakeholders such as the African Union, the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and other UN missions and agencies, among others.
“Peacebuilding involves addressing some of the most sensitive issues facing a given society – issues that have previously proved so charged and intractable that they led to violent conflict,” Mr. Ban said, urging the international community to “help countries put violence behind them, once and for all.”