17 February 2006

Secretary-General Urgent Support for Post-Conflict Peacebuilding, Reconstruction in Message to Addis Ababa Conference

NEW YORK, 16 February (UN Headquarters) -- Following is UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's message to the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) Conference on the Consolidation of Peace, in Addis Ababa, 16 February, delivered by Tuliameni Kalomoh, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs:

It gives me great pleasure to send my greetings to this TICAD ministerial Conference on the Consolidation of Peace in Africa.  I thank the people and Government of Japan for organizing this Conference in collaboration with the United Nations system -- in particular the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank - and with other partners such as the Global Coalition for Africa.  I would also like to thank the African Union, which has strongly supported this initiative and which itself continues to undertake important efforts to promote peacebuilding and the consolidation of peace on the continent.

Armed conflicts and other forms of strife are still prevalent in Africa, inflicting extensive suffering on millions of people, destroying essential infrastructure and ecosystems, sparking emigration and displacements of people, and hampering economic growth and development.  In recent years, the international community has come to recognize that conflict resolution calls for a comprehensive approach in which parties emerging from conflict require assistance not only in negotiating peace agreements, but also in building and consolidating peace.  That means providing humanitarian and reconstruction assistance, ensuring security and security-sector reform, promoting good governance, and in the broadest sense demonstrating to people that peace brings real dividends -- improvements in their standards of living, in their sense of opportunity, and in the way their societies function.

The recent establishment of a new United Nations Peacebuilding Commission is an important step in this regard.  Too many countries lapse back into violence when efforts to consolidate peace or create stability are weak, or are not sustained.  The new Commission is meant to counter this trend, and fills an institutional gap.  It will bring all actors to the table in an effort to improve international coherence, and it will try to ensure that attention does not diminish once the media spotlight turns its focus on other crises.

The United Nations is also strengthening its efforts to promote smooth transitions from war to peace through new planning and coordination mechanisms, such as integrated task forces and integrated missions under the overall coordination of a Special Representative of the Secretary-General.  The appointment of United Nations resident coordinators as deputy special representatives has brought about better coordination among the many entities that make up our country teams, and helped to more effectively bridge the gap between security and development activities.

It is encouraging to know that Japan has made the consolidation of peace one of the three pillars of the support it provides to Africa.  Its decision to provide additional support to United Nations agencies carrying out such work in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda -- beyond its already substantial official development assistance -- is another clear expression of Japan's commitment to peace and security on the continent.

I urge all participants in this important Conference to recognize the urgent need for the international community to do even more -- from high-level political attention to contributions on the ground -- to support post-conflict peacebuilding and reconstruction in Africa.  I look forward to the recommendations you will make that will contribute to establishing a more effective framework and process for the consolidation of peace in Africa, and offer my best wishes for a successful Conference.

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