26 February 2013

Africa: Ban Urges Inclusion of Conflict Areas in Development Planning

Mediating, strengthening governance and creating jobs were some of the United Nations objectives highlighted today by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to ensure that people living in conflict areas or in countries emerging from conflict are not forgotten from future development agendas.

"The 1.5 billion people who live in fragile and conflict-affected areas have been largely left behind in our work towards the MDGs," the Secretary-General said referring to the Millennium Development Goals, the eight anti-poverty targets world leaders agreed to reach by 2015.

Mr. Ban delivered the remarks in a video message to participants at a conference held in Dili, Timor-Leste, on shaping development priorities after the 2015 deadline.

The central element to post-2015 plans must be "transforming violent conflicts and fragility into peace, justice and shared prosperity," Mr. Ban said.

He added that to accomplish these goals, the international community must work together on "strengthening legitimate institutions and governance, building capacities for mediation and dialogue, enhancing security and adequate social protection, and ensuring justice and jobs."

The conference, entitled 'Development for All: Stop conflict, build states and eradicate poverty,' was hosted by the Timorese Government and the g7+ group in collaboration with the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and partners.

The g7+ group, which is currently headed by Timor-Leste, 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.

Timor-Leste endured a long and often violent journey towards independence and democracy since it formally broke away from Indonesia in 2002. The UN peacekeeping mission there, UNMIT, shut down in December 2012. The UN remains engaged in Timor-Leste, focusing on social and economic development.

During today's conference, Mr. Ban noted that the objectives he outlined are not only relevant for the g7+ or post-conflict countries but for the entire international community.

"Peace and security, the rule of law, human rights and inclusive political processes are mutually reinforcing goals for all countries," he said.

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