Canada’s Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan writes on “Why we should prevent and reduce conflict” for the Daily Nation citing Canada’s partnership with AKDN in East Africa

I left convinced that we must strengthen and expand that tradition of partnership. What I heard from organisations that have a long presence and commitment here, such as the Aga Khan Development Network, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and Unicef, is that we must partner with both government and civil society to create the conditions for East Africa’s long-term peace, prosperity, and pluralism.

 

– Hargit Sajjan, Canada’s Minister of National Defence

Canada’s Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan, learning about Canada's partnership with AKDN and AKDN's experience in the East African region. AKDN Project brief "Where Hope takes Root," on the table. (Image credit: Harjit Sajjan's Twitter page)
Canada’s Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan, learning about Canada’s partnership with AKDN and AKDN’s experience in the East African region. AKDN Project brief “Where Hope takes Root,” on the table. (Image credit: Harjit Sajjan’s Twitter page)

Why we should prevent and reduce conflict

We must aim to avert crises before they reach point that requires military intervention.

By HARJIT SAJJAN, for the Daily Nation. Published Thursday, August 25, 2016.

As a former soldier and police officer, I have seen the ways that conflict and strife can tear people down, and experienced first-hand how people focused on a common good can work together to build healthy societies.

As Canada’s Minister of National Defence, I had the privilege of spending a week visiting Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to learn more about how Canada can collaborate with these nations and contribute to conflict prevention and peace support operations.

After our government was elected last year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada would be a responsible partner in the world. He made it a priority to renew Canada’s commitment to United Nations peace operations. Today, the nature of conflict has changed, and so must the ways in which we conduct peace operations.

Around the world, the nature of conflict is changing, so what we do to prevent, mitigate, and resolve conflict must change as well. Wars used to be between states, now they are often internal. How do you keep the peace when there is no peace to keep? Nations face threats from violent extremists that require a comprehensive response that encompasses military, political, humanitarian, and development efforts. As they seek education and jobs, young people are facing challenges that our generation could not imagine.

The old approach and solutions will not work any more. We need to think innovatively about how we move forward. To do this, we need to see the situation for ourselves. We need to speak directly to those who know best. We need to respect the knowledge and experience that they have, and learn from it. We need to understand the root causes of conflict. In other words, we need the ground truth. This tour helped us ascertain that.

We learned a great deal this week. We had fruitful, informative discussions with our government counterparts. We listened to and asked questions of our colleagues at the African Union and United Nations. We had an opportunity to learn from and thank individuals who are working to build up civil society, police officers who protect women and children from abuse, teachers and volunteers, who educate the young, and doctors and nurses, who heal the sick.

I was honoured that General Roméo Dallaire accompanied me to Africa. He has done tireless work on child soldiers through the Dallaire Initiative. By addressing the war crime of recruitment and use of child soldiers, we can prevent conflict while protecting children. Indeed, Gen Dallaire’s work is just one example of Canada’s long history of support to East Africa’s security and development.

In education, health, agriculture, and support to women and girls, the Canadian Government and a large number of institutions have been working for decades with their East African partners to improve quality of life for the people of the region.

I left convinced that we must strengthen and expand that tradition of partnership. What I heard from organisations that have a long presence and commitment here, such as the Aga Khan Development Network, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and Unicef, is that we must partner with both government and civil society to create the conditions for East Africa’s long-term peace, prosperity, and pluralism.

 

Read the complete story at the source: Daily Nation | Why we should prevent and reduce conflict


Research, Insight & Perspective by A. Maherali


Author: ismailimail

Civil society media.   Find Ismailimail blog on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s