President Adama Barrow joined world leaders in calling for collective commitment to peace building and sustainable peace.
In a statement delivered at the UN High Level meeting in New York, President Barrow informed the UN General Assembly that progress has been registered with reforms in the security sector, and there was economic stability.
He also highlighted that there was progress on youth empowerment and the processes towards establishing the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission - TRRC as important steps in sustaining peace.
President Barrow stated that his government was working to consolidate the rule of law, democracy and respect for human rights which are strong pillars of good governance. He also noted that Constitutional review would also be part of the process to strengthen democracy. The Gambian leader added that his government would ensure due processes are followed and independence of the judiciary guaranteed.
The President acknowledged the support partners were providing to The Gambia in the peacebuilding process and urged them to continue the partnership to sustain the peace in the country. President Barrow also said the Gambia's Development Plan outlined priorities which support sustainable peace and development and informed them that the environment for civil society engagement in constructive criticism to sustain peace now exists in The Gambia. The President recognised the role of civil society in building and sustaining peace thus, pledged his government's commitment to providing a peaceful environment for the citizenry to develop their full potential.
While recognising the challenges, President Barrow stated that the commitment to sustain peace should go along with material and financial support for capacity building processes and effective coordination. These, he added, are crucial for timely and critical interventions. President Barrow urged all to work together to achieve the goal of sustainable peace.
In a separate engagement, President Barrow introduced The Gambia's National Development Plan 2018 -2021 to the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission at a meeting held in preparation for an International Donor's Conference scheduled for May 2018 in Brussels. President Barrow said the priorities in the development plan are geared towards economic growth and transformation and reiterated that it was a collective responsibility to ensure that the vision expressed in the National Development Plan was realised.
While in New York, President Barrow attended a series of bilateral as well as advocacy meetings in preparation for the Donor's Conference in Brussels to support the implementation of The Gambia's National Development Plan. These included a meeting with the President of the European Commission of International Cooperation and Development, Mr Neven Mimica, and Deputy Secretary General of the UN, Amina J Mohammed. He also had an earlier meeting with the President of the UN General Assembly, Mr Miroslav Lajcak in preparation for the High Level meeting on peace building and sustainable peace.
At the bilateral level, the Gambian leader met several representatives to discuss issues of mutual interest including security and other areas of development that are linked to sustaining peace. President Barrow met the King of Belgium, His Majesty King Philip, the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, Prime Minister of Estonia, H.E Mr Juri Ratas and Foreign Ministers of France, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne and Norway, Ms Eriksen Soreide respectively.
On his last day, he had discussions with the Prime Minister of Ireland, H.E Mr Michael Higgins and later met with the Vice Chair of the Peace Building Commission, Ambassador Cho of the Republic of Korea on bilateral issues to strengthen diplomatic relations.
During his visit in New York, President and First lady Fatou Bah- Barrow attended a reception hosted by their Majesties, the King and Queen of Belgium held in New York.
Foreign Affairs Minister, Ousainou Darbo, Justice Minister, Abubacarr Tambadou, Finance Minister, Amadou Sanneh, Secretary General, Habib Drammeh, Security Adviser, Momodou Badjie, Deputy Chief of Defence Staff, Yankuba Drammeh, Gambia's Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Momodou Tangara and other senior government officials attended the UN meeting in New York.