Category Archives: Op-ed

Why, more than ever, UN Peacekeeping needs global support by Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations

New York, 29 May 2015 – Eighteen months ago, Bentiu, like most towns in South Sudan, was bustling with the restlessness of markets, people trading and children going to school.  UNMISS, the UN Mission in South Sudan, was busy supporting development and growth in the world’s youngest nation.

Ghana Navy on parade to mark UN PKD 2015

Ghana Navy on parade at an event in Accra to mark UN PKD 2015

Today, a visitor to the UN Mission’s base outside Bentiu in Unity State, would see a sea of blue and white tarpaulin tents and hastily-erected stalls. The base has become temporary home to some 63,000 civilians seeking protection from the cataclysm of violence that has gripped the new state of South Sudan since the outbreak of the political crisis in December 2013. The town of Bentiu itself remains deserted, its main dirt road lined with the grim evidence of an ongoing war in the absence of a final peace agreement between Government and Opposition forces.

The story is repeated across the country. Today, more than 130,000 are being protected by UN peacekeepers in seven bases, with civilians continuing to arrive at UN protection sites as they flee unimaginable suffering and grave human rights violations.

The reality is that our peacekeepers are often the only hope for a better life for the civilians they are mandated to serve. In other places where peacekeeping missions are deployed today, there is little peace to keep. In some of the harshest conditions on Earth, UN personnel must negotiate complex threats each day amidst political instability, with large, often terrified populations to protect. They work to provide security in these places, while pursuing a political solution to ongoing conflict.

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“Declarations don’t feed people” IFAD President tells AU Heads of State in an open letter

Accra, June 19, 2014 – The African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government, during its 19th Ordinary Session, held in July 2012, declared the year 2014 to be the Year of Agriculture and Food Security in Africa, marking 10th Anniversary of the adoption of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

The Year is being commemorated across the continent, in Member States, Regional Economic Communities, Continental organisations, and at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the theme Transforming Africa’s Agriculture for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods, through Harnessing Opportunities for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development. 

Kanayo F. Nwanze

Kanayo F. Nwanze

It is a Year that gives “opportunities to communities, state and non-state actors in Africa to interact, express their voices on what works and chart the focus and targets for the next decade towards setting the agenda for sustaining the CAADP momentum.

The 23rd AU Summit takes place from 20 – 27 June, 2014 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea where Heads of State are expected to focus on agriculture and food security.

In an open letter to the AU Heads of States, Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD calls on African leaders to take concrete steps towards investing in Africa’s rural poor for economic gains and for ethical reasons. “Don’t just promise development, deliver it, make it happen now. Make real, concrete progress toward investment that reaches all Africans. Investments that prioritize rural people” he writes.

UN Peacekeeping: A Force for the Future

Accra, May 28, 2014 – It was a dark, February night in the hilly North Kivu province of Eastern Congo. At 02h45 a small, silent Unarmed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, circled the sky around a village in Masisi territory and sent back live video of a group of armed men who had recently overrun a local military post. As the UUAV relayed pictures to a control room, senior military officers prepared to move their soldiers if the civilian populations in the area were directly threatened. The attack never materialized, but if it had, the band of marauders would have gotten a most unpleasant welcome. This scene isn’t from a Hollywood studio film — it’s happening right now with the UN Peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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South Sudan – from cease-fire to sustainable peace?

Written by Ivan Simonovic, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights

We were picked up at checkpoints or during house searches. They recognized us by our accents, or by the traditional marks on our faces. 200-400 of us were brought to a room of a police station, so small that we were suffocating. Suddenly they opened fire on us from two windows. I fell to the ground, and was protected by the bodies of dead and injured lying on top of me. Some of the wounded were moaning, and they opened fire twice again during the night.”

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