3 December 2012

Liberia: Violent Conflict Creates Challenges for Development

The Under Secretary of State, Development Cooperation and Development Policy of Finland has indicated that fragile states and violent conflict create huge challenges for development worldwide.

Ms. Anne Sipilainen said over 1.5 billion people live in countries that suffer from violent conflicts and constant political violence.

Speaking last week at the opening of a two-day conflict and post-2015 development agenda consultation in Monrovia, Ms. Sipilainen said this situation is causing immense human suffering, distress and insecurity around the world.

She said criminal violence is also eroding peace processes and weak institutions that lack legitimacy are unable to generate security, justice and economic development.

"Environment suffers, education suffers, the most basic health care cannot be provided, child mortality increases, women are not heard...in this kind of condition, it is very difficult to work on long term development challenges and goals..." Ms. Sipilainen said.

The Under Secretary of State noted that state building requires long term vision and commitment.

She indicated that the process of state building also requires a new approach to the development of fragile states, as agreed in 2011 Aid effectiveness meeting.

"It aims to stop conflict, build nations and ends poverty and puts the voice of fragile states and their people at the heart of peace building and state building efforts, with the support of international partners" Sipilainen noted.

She reminded the guests of some crucial issues that were agreed at Busan meeting which included security, civil society, human rights and democratic governance.

Conference co-hosted by the Governments of Liberia and Finland, is the latest United Nations led thematic consultation seeking input from a cross-section of society on how issues concerning disasters, conflict and citizens' security can be integrated into a new universal development framework.

Finance Minister Amara Konneh said the world is cognizant of the challenges to human development in developing nations, and in particular, the impact of violent conflicts on social, economic and political development, including universal mass deaths, disease and displacement.

Minister Konneh said it was regrettable that nearly half of all the civil wars and political turmoil that occurred between 1990 and 2005 took place in Africa and the continent's war related deaths exceed all other conflicts around the world.

He said Liberia suffered significant setbacks during that period due to violent conflicts and state fragility.

Minister Konneh said it was important for participants at the global thematic conference to build consensus on the most effective means by which conflict, violence, disaster and fragility impede development; to discuss solutions and offer concrete recommendations for prioritizing priorities, setting realistic targets and identifying indicators that will put fingers on the pulse of the peace and security issues.

Conflict, violence and disaster are widely recognized as significant obstacles to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in many developing countries.

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