After two days of intensive debate on the situation in Africa, the United Nations Security Council today outlined a series of measures and recommendations aimed at preventing conflict and creating political, social and economic conditions essential for peace and sustainable development on the continent.
In a wide-ranging presidential statement that followed statements of representatives from close to 50 nations, the Council underscored the importance of partnership and enhanced coordination and cooperation between the UN, the Organization for African Unity (OAU) and African subregional organizations. It stressed the importance of an intensified cooperation between the UN and the OAU and other organizations to help build capacity in early warning conflict prevention and peacekeeping.
The Council expressed its strong support for the decisions of the OAU government leaders to deny recognition to governments that came to power through unconstitutional means and reaffirmed that conflict resolution required, above all, the political will and courage of the parties themselves to seek peace.
The Council also underscored that economic rehabilitation and reconstruction were important elements in the long-term development of post-conflict societies and the maintenance of lasting peace, and called for greater international assistance in those areas.
In that connection, it stressed that early resumption of international cooperation and development aid to countries where a peace process was being implemented was of critical importance for its success, and emphasized the importance of the role of the donor community and international financial institutions in those instances.
The Council reaffirmed its commitment to addressing the problems of conflicts in Africa and poverty and development, the illicit proliferation of small arms and light weapons, the problems of refugees and internally displaced persons, the illegal exploitation of natural resources and, social exclusion as a source of intra-State conflicts, bearing in mind that those problems were interlinked. It also expressed its resolve to try to establish the political conditions that would prevent the recurrence of conflict before making a decision to withdraw any peacekeeping operation.
The statement, which was read out by Foreign Minister Anil Kumarsingh Gayan of Mauritius, the current president of the Council, reiterated the importance of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration in the process of conflict resolution and post-conflict peace building, and noted the lack of adequate resources for effective reintegration programmes. It urged the international community to support such programmes, including through the implementation of quick-impact projects.
On a related matter, the Council expressed concern over the effects of conflicts on civilians, including violations of their human rights, underlining the need to address the problem of refugees and internally displaced persons, which, in addition to humanitarian consequences, was a burden on the affected countries and might become a source of conflict.
Also today, as part of the Council's ongoing bid to improve transparency and improve work methods, the 15-member body held a formal "wrap up" session on its activities over the past month.