Proposals for preventing conflict and fostering recovery in Africa were widely discussed today in the United Nations Security Council, which held a daylong meeting on the issue that saw the participation of over three dozen speakers.
Addressing the session at the outset, the Chairman of the Council's Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Recovery in Africa, Jagdish Koonjul of Mauritius, said that since its establishment at the end of February, the Group had agreed to deal with a number of key issues, including observing elections, establishing coalitions to tackle specific conflict situations, and galvanizing the work of non-governmental organizations, universities and academia.
He said the Group would look into ways of encouraging cooperation among countries of the Mano River Union - Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea - in order to ensure peace and stability there. The Group was also proposing that the UN examine ways to provide comprehensive electoral assistance to interested Member States.
Ibrahima Fall, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, called for meetings among representatives of the Security Council, the OAU and subregional organizations to facilitate discussion on issues of mutual concern that could impact peace and security on the continent. In order to foster productive follow-up, he also suggested that these consultations include Africa's development partners, including the international financial institutions.
Ivan Simonovic, the Ambassador of Croatia and current President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), called for a comprehensive approach to conflict prevention and recovery in Africa, "embracing a wide range of areas, including political, diplomatic, humanitarian, human rights and institutional measures." ECOSOC could contribute to that effort, he said, because it "has important responsibilities in these areas which it is beginning to address in a more concerted manner." In addition, ECOSOC was considering the establishment of an ad hoc advisory group on African countries emerging from conflict, he noted.
The Permanent Observer of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), Amadou Kébé, said that discussions on the African Union included a proposal to create a central for a conflict prevention organ, called a peace and security council. He also recommended that efforts be made to ensure that all peace agreements include provisions on disarmament, reconstruction and rehabilitation.