Monrovia — A major regional forum in Monrovia has called for peace and security to be one of four core dimensions of the world's development framework beyond 2015.
Representatives from eight governments, civil society organizations, academia, the media, trade unions and youth and UN agencies, and the African Union wrapped up a two-day event in Monrovia on Friday by agreeing that commitments to achieving peace and security should be part of a global development framework once the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) reach their target date in 2015.
The forum, hosted by the governments of Liberia and Finland, is the latest in a series of United Nations-led consultations enabling input from a wide cross-section of society on how issues concerning disasters, conflict and citizen security can be integrated into a new universal development framework.
Speaking at the event, Liberia's President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is one of the co-chairs of the UN Secretary-General's High-level Panel on Post-2015, emphasized the importance of inclusiveness and of involving youth in the discussion, all the way to 2015 and beyond. She also stressed the need for international development agencies to prioritize the promotion of peace and security. "There will be no peace without development and no development without peace," the President said.
During her opening address, Finland's Under Secretary of State for Development Cooperation and Development Policy, Anne SipilÃÂ¤inen, said it was important for a wide variety of actors to be involved in the discussions on future development goals. "This meeting is a good opportunity to discuss debate and formulate global goals in a truly inclusive and participatory manner," the Under Secretary said.
The consultations on conflict and fragility are led by UNICEF, the UN Peacebuilding Support Office, the UN Office for Disaster Risk reduction and the UN Development Programme and are part of an unprecedented global consultation process on the post-2015 development agenda.
Main outcomes of the Monrovia consultation included:
Shared recognition that achieving peace is a multidimensional endeavor and agreed with the United Nations Task Team report that peace can no longer be separated from the world's development framework.
Recognition that eradicating violence is a fundamental part of human progress, but achieving peace is about much more than the absence of violence, and depends on progress in addressing the drivers of violence.
Concern that the concentration of development deficit and poverty in countries affected by conflict and violence around the world.
The participants welcomed the progressive development of the New Deal and the Peacebuilding and Statebuilding goals by the g7+ and believed the post-2015 framework should be informed by these concepts in crafting commitments that would address conflicts in fragile states.
Across the post-2015 framework, it will be important to realize a vision for better governance that leads to inclusive, responsive, accountable and fair state-society relations.
The issue of equality needs to be addressed across all goals, targets and indicators, so that they ensure that no group is left behind. Therefore targets need to be disaggregated by gender, ethnicity, religion, geography and caste.
The need to involve youth was emphasized by Isabel Crowley, UNICEF representative in Liberia, "When we think beyond 2015, we think of the younger generation-children, youth and adolescents--and how so much of their future has been lost to conflict. We have a powerful opportunity here to begin changing that."
Also speaking at the event held on 29-30 November, Liberia's Acting Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs, Amara M. Konneh, said the very foundation of collective development plans going forward must be country-led and country-owned . "The country-led approach must not only entail government leadership in implementation, as the custodian of the state; but also the cultivation and empowerment of domestic private sectors as the drivers of development," Minister Konneh said.
Conflict, violence and disasters are widely recognized as significant obstacles to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in many developing countries.
"Resolving conflict requires us to resolve some of the issues of extreme poverty and inequity that exist in Africa and other violence-prone countries around the world," said Sam Doe, Policy Advisor and Team Leader of the Policy and Planning Division at UNDP's Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery.
"The post-2015 debate, which focuses on long-term goals, makes every effort to involve poor and marginalized people - including women, men, boys and girls - from conflict affected societies in the policy dialogue."
Since 2000, disasters have affected 2.7 billion people resulting in $1.3 trillion in economic losses and 1.1 million deaths. An estimated 526,000 people die violently every year including 55,000 who lose their lives in conflicts.
A third forum on conflict and fragility will take place in Panama at the end of January 2013 focusing on citizen security, armed violence and its impact on development.
This will be followed by a High-Level Consultation in Helsinki in February 2013, at which the outcomes of the various elements will be debated and consolidated into a synthesis report.
The results of the consultations will be available online.