We thank you for organizing this high-level debate on “Peaceful resolution of conflicts in Africa”.
We congratulate the African countries on the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Organization of African Unity.
Today, although we are discussing resolution of conflicts in Africa, Mr President, we all know that Africa is not all about conflict. Africa is, in fact, much more than that. We can safely say that the 21st century will be Africa's century.
Five things give us that confidence:
Historically, the OAU played an instrumental role in freeing the African continent from colonialism. Within 15 years of its creation, all African countries achieved independence.
However, the legacy of artificial borders, exploitation of natural resources, poverty, and governance issues in some regions have led to the outbreak of conflicts in Africa. These conflicts have wreaked heavy toll in the continent in terms of human life and lost economic and development opportunities.
For Africa these are existential, contemporary challenges, not mere historical problems.
Africa has resolved to take these challenges head on and it is determined to succeed. Africa is forging ahead.
Today we are witnessing a confident and assertive Africa. An Africa that has taken charge of its destiny and is determined to transcend conflict and underdevelopment. An Africa that is surging ahead in economic progress.
According to the IMF the growth in sub-Saharan Africa will surge to 6.1% this year, outstripping the global average of 4%. Foreign direct investment inflows to that region are projected to increase to record levels each year over the next three years, reaching US $ 54 billion by 2015. In fact, several of the world’s top economic performers are African countries.
The continent has also made tremendous strides in managing and resolving conflicts. It has created a solid peace and security architecture, with built-in mechanisms for conflict-prevention and mediation. The African Union has provided strategic coherence, leadership and on-ground management in nearly all conflicts in the continent.
Despite these strong and positive trend lines, huge problems remain. Even as speak, many parts of Africa are wracked by violence and conflicts.
Conflict situations in Africa constitute bulk of the agenda of the Security Council, around 62 % in 2012. There have been new flare-ups including in Mali, Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In addition to traditional sources of conflict, we are now witnessing the rise of new threats such as terrorism, drug and weapons trafficking, and piracy.
The entire Sahel region is under the threat of destabilization due to rise of organized crime. Youth unemployment and illegal exploitation of natural resources are two important issues, which have to be given priority to prevent future conflicts in Africa.
Addressing this situation requires greater coherence in international and regional efforts. The United Nations in particular should adopt an active approach designed to create peace in Africa through a coherent strategy. Such a strategy would have to encompass several aspects:
First,it should focus on institution building both at the regional and national levels. Legitimate and capable governance institutions allow peaceful resolution of conflicts.
Second,the United Nations should continue to provide support to strengthen the African Union’s capacity for conflict prevention under the umbrella of the Ten-Year Capacity-Building Programme for the African Union.
Third,keeping in view the nexus between development and security, the strategy must focus on creating economic opportunities in particular for the young people. The promises made to Africa for development assistance must be fulfilled. However, in the long term, the best solutions for preventing conflicts would be to integrate these nations and regions into the world system of trade and finance on an equitable and sustainable basis.
Four,it should address the challenge of illegal exploitation of natural resources. The African countries should be able to benefit from their immense natural wealth by fair exploitation and by getting due share of their trade.
Five,greater emphasis needs to be laid on peacebuilding in post conflict countries to prevent relapse of conflicts. The strategy should focus on SSR, DDR and national reconciliation.
Six,the lessons learned in post-conflict countries should be clearly articulated and used.
Seven,the strategy must be based on ensuring that peace agreements concluded are adhered to by the parties concerned, and the decisions of the Security Council are implemented.
Africa should not be seen only through the prism of security. The second crucible for Africa is socio-economic development. The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) provides an overarching vision and policy framework for accelerating economic co-operation and integration among African countries. The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) supports these objectives.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate Pakistan’s long-standing and abiding commitment to the stability and progress of Africa. We were steadfast partners in Africa’s struggle to exercise their right to self-determination against colonial rule. Pakistan is proud of its strong bilateral ties with African countries which are poised to expand rapidly. We work closely working with the African Union.
Over the past 53 years, Pakistani peacekeepers have contributed to peacekeeping, peacemaking and peace-building in Africa. More than 132 of our peacekeepers have laid down their lives, 119 of them in Africa. Up to now, we have contributed more than 140,000 UN peacekeepers worldwide. Today out of 8221 Pakistani troops in six peacekeeping missions, 8075 are deployed in Africa. We would continue to actively contribute to this endeavor.
Pakistan wishes Africa success and glory.
I thank you.