28 October 2004
Security Council Briefed on Objectives of November Conference on Great Lakes Region, Positive Results Expected
Secretary-Generals Representative Notes Series of Upcoming Meetings in Africa, Welcomes Increased Participation by Countries in Region
NEW YORK, 27 October (UN Headquarters) -- An extensive preparatory process that had seen the participation of an expanded core group of countries, the United Nations and civil society representatives would culminate with the holding next month in Dar es Salaam of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, the Security Council was told this morning.
At a Council meeting to brief members on the preparations for the Conference, to be held on 19 and 20 November, Ibrahima Fall, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for the Great Lakes region, said there had been many developments since the Council had met last November on the International Conference. Regional preparatory meetings had taken place in Bujumbura and Kinshasa, and a third such meeting would take place just prior to the summit in Kampala.
The convening of an International Conference on the Great Lakes Region at an appropriate time had been supported by the Council on various occasions in the decade since the Councils adoption of a presidential statement on Rwanda in 1994 (document S/PRST/1994/59). Co-organized by the United Nations and the African Union, the objective of the International Conference is to establish a regional framework for adopting a stability, security and development pact around four main areas, namely, peace and security, democracy and good governance, economic development and humanitarian issues.
With the holding of two major meetings in Africa in the course of the same week, Africa would be given very special attention, he said, referring to the Councils decision yesterday to hold a meeting on the Sudan on 18 and 19 November in Nairobi. The preparatory regional process had yielded a number of results, including a political one. The number of core members had increased first from six, then to seven and now to 11, including Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, and Zambia.
Another result of the preparatory process had been the emergence of consensus on a number of delicate issues, he continued. Priority areas had been identified for discussion by the International Conference, including peace and security, democracy and development, economic development and regional integration and humanitarian and social issues. In a war-ravaged region, education for peace had also emerged as a priority issue. Combating pandemic diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis would also be a focus of the International Conference, which would end with the adoption of Declaration of Principles on the Consolidation of Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region.
An inter-ministerial committee would be set up after the November summit, to follow a programme of action and work on protocols for implementing the Dar es Salaam Declaration. In that context, the second summit, to be held in Nairobi in 2005 would then be prepared.
The meeting began at 10:18 a.m. and adjourned at 10:31 a.m.
Briefing by Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Great Lakes
IBRAHIMA FALL, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes, recalled that on 20 November 2003 the Council had held a special working meeting to consider the Secretary-Generals report. There had been many developments since that meeting. In less than one month, heads of State and government would be gathering for the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region on 19 and 20 November in Dar es Salaam. By a happy coincidence, the Council would be holding an important meeting in Africa -- on the Sudan -- at the same time. In the course of that week, therefore, Africa would be given very special attention.
The Dar es Salaam summit in November would be followed by another summit in 2005, he continued. That summit would also be part of the International Conference. After the second summit, an agreement on security, stability and peace in the Great Lakes region would be adopted. The main objective of the first summit would be to adopt a Declaration of Principles on the Consolidation of Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region. It would also instruct the setting up of a Standing Inter-Ministerial Committee for the period between the two summits. The Dar es Salaam Declaration was currently being prepared.
Since the Councils last meeting, preparatory meetings had been held at the regional level, he said. The first meeting had taken place in Bujumbura in September 2004, the second in October in Kinshasa. There would be a third preparatory meeting from 8 to 10 November in Kampala. Special ad hoc thematic meetings had also been held at the regional level to allow for the participation of women, young people and non-governmental organizations in the preparatory process. Religious groups, trade unions and parliamentarians had also organized special meetings. An initial draft Declaration had been considered in Kinshasa and would be finalized in Kampala, before being submitted to a meeting of foreign ministers just before the summit.
The preparatory regional process had yielded several results, including a political one, he said. There had been a geographical increase in the number of members in the conference, moving from seven to 11 core members, including Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, and Zambia. That was important for ensuring the logic and coherence of the conference, as the goal was to involve everyone involved in the Great Lakes region. Another result of the meeting had been the tendency towards consensus on a number of delicate issues. A number of priority areas had also emerged as a result of the process, including security, governance, economic development and humanitarian and social issues.
Several priority areas had been identified, including education for peace and tolerance and multiculturalism, he said. Education for peace was crucial for a region that had suffered such upheaval as a result of war. Combating pandemic diseases, including HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, was also a priority for the region. The rule of law, womens rights and promoting economic development had also been identified as priority areas. There had also been recognition of the need to promote common strategies on the conferences priority themes. Also, since borders had to play a natural role in the Great Lakes region, they must lay the foundations for peace by becoming a framework for political and economic cooperation.
Under the theme of peace and security, several areas had been identified, including education for peace, the common management of border issues, the involvement of social actors in conflict prevention, reconstruction and combating crime, as well as regional mechanisms for the implementation of disarmament, disengagement and reintegration. Under the theme of democracy and development, the promotion and protection of human rights had been established as a priority area. Under economic development and integration, the main issues were the need for clear strategies in sectors such as transport, communications, agriculture, electrical networks, food security, and reconstruction.
Continuing, he said that the Dar es Salaam summit was to end with adoption of the Declaration, which would also include a follow-up mechanism. An inter-ministerial committee would be set up after the summit, to follow a programme of action and work on protocols for implementing the Declaration. In that context, the 2005 summit would then be prepared.
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