Zanzibar, Tanzania | July 21 – 24, 2015
“Promoting Peace, Security and Sustainable Development in East Africa”
This speech was read by Amb. Tewolde G/Meskel Redda, Director of IGAD’s Peace and Security Division
Recognition of dignitaries present,
I feel privileged to be with you today at this very important meeting. It is also a privilege for IGAD as an institution to take part in this meeting as a co-convener. IGAD attaches a lot of value to our budding relationship with the Global Peace Foundation and think that GPF is doing commendable work in using innovative means in promoting peace and security in the East Africa region.
Before I go any further I also wish to convey the apologies of IGAD Executive Secretary Amb. Mahboub Maalim who could not be here with us today due to other unavoidable commitments. He asked me to convey his thanks to the leadership of the Global Peace Foundation and partners present here today for creating this platform as well as our gracious host the Government of the Zanzibar.
This is an important gathering as addressing peace and security challenges in the East Africa region remains an utmost concern of the leaders of our region. As rightly described in the concept for this meeting, achieving sustainable peace and security is a foundation for alleviating poverty and building a prosperous and integrated region.
There is also a shared understanding that our responses to peace, security and development challenges need to be adaptive; well-coordinated and pragmatic (by identifying and building on existing strengths and opportunities).
IGAD sees this as necessity – as opposed to a choice – given the highly interconnected nature of the world we live in today and specifically the increased interconnectedness and interdependence of countries of the east and horn of Africa regions.
There are currently large economic and trading ties being developed among these countries driven – for instance by – large infrastructural projects. While these developments signify a huge positive trend and are expected to yield concrete socio-economic opportunities for the member states, we also anticipate that these opportunities will be accompanied by new security challenges.
The formidable challenge we currently face in relation to acts of terrorism and violent extremism as well as the series of related tragedies we have witnessed this year alone in the East African region – is another strong case which necessitates robust regional collaboration.
IGAD commends the approach this meeting is designed to take in exploring how interfaith partnerships; engagement with the private sector; ‘moral and innovative leadership’ as well as youth leadership, entrepreneurship and service can be leveraged to promote peace, security and development in East Africa. All these themes are areas of great interest and concern for IGAD. As a matter of principle, IGAD – in all its operations and strategies particularly on peace building and conflict resolution –places strong emphasis on different sectors of society and local communities in having a major role with a spirit of collaboration with governments.
For instance, IGAD has a strong interest in building a strong partnership with the private sector to leverage the huge potential business has for sustainable and shared development, and its role as an engine for growth.
I understand IGAD’s Conflict Early Warning and Response Mechanism (CEWARN) which is one of our specialized units dealing with conflict early warning and response across IGAD Member States will be co-convening a session this afternoon to explore how partnership with the private sector can be leveraged to achieve sustainable pace and security in these regions. I look forward to joining you there.
I have no doubt that the outcomes of this meeting will be beneficial in informing future operations of all partners gathered here and deepening our resolve as a region to develop cohesive responses to the threats of peace and security in the region.
Let me end here by wishing us well successful deliberations.
I thank you.