By Theresa Vamboi
The Mano River Union (MRU) together with United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) has ended their four day conference on peace and security that they said was remarkable and productive.
In her closing remarks the Secretary General of MRU Madam Medina Wesseh said the four day conference they worked so hard to plan has come to an end and she is very pleased of the outcome, she is very happy that all they wanted to achieve they had and hope that come next year they will start the implementation phase as they want to make sure that the four countries in the MRU are secured and stable so that the continued development process will be achieved.
She said MRU States since 2008 have made concrete effort towards consolidating peace, security and democracy, after more than 20 years of armed and socio-political crises.
Madam Wesseh said the post-electoral contexts of 2017 and 2018 in Liberia and Sierra Leone and pre-electoral contexts in Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea, marked by political tensions and several reported outbreaks of skirmishes.
“The nature of conflicts, which are now more infra-state than inter-state; and the growing awareness and appreciation of the relationship between peace and development, shows a direct correlation to improvement of the health, Education, women’s and youth empowerment sectors, as well as agriculture and infrastructural development.”
She averred that the persistence of certain crises, increase in crime, challenges in political and economic governance, the new forms of threats to peace and security characterize by youth engaged in cliques and gang. terrorism. Maritime piracy, migration as well as external threats that exacerbate existing ones, armed and/or socio-political crises in some frontier states bordering on the Member States of the Union are what we have been discussing and how to put an end to all of it.
“It should be recalled that, in accordance with the expressed directives of the Heads of State and Government, the MRU has adopted a legal and regulatory framework, the 15th Revised Protocol to deal with and promote all issues related to peace, security and stability within the Member States.”
Madam Wesseh said these are the reasons they worked so hard to get this conference and the communiqué produced will guide them in implementation of peace and security as well as cross border development programmes.
UNOWAS deputy Sec Gen Madam Ruby Ronjon said that it is worth noting that the countries in the MRU, blessed with abundant natural resources have, over the years been taking concrete steps to promote democratic consolidation, peace and stability in the region.
“We have seen the holding of regular elections, putting in place of institutional frameworks to enhance democratic values, human rights and the rule of law and undertaking efforts to promote governance and development, which are all key attributes for sustainable peace, stability and development.
“This meeting takes place at an ideal time for our respective Institutions as it provides us with a unique opportunity to assess our joint efforts and plan ahead in a strategic manner that would enhance the realization of mutually agreed goals. I am optimistic that what we have achieved in this meeting, we will make useful contributions to enhance the peace and stability of the sub-region as well as the wider West Africa and Sahel regions.”