Sunday, July 10, 2011

For Fragile Countries State Building Should Come First

Last week in Liberia's capital, Monrovia, leaders from 40 conflict ridden countries came together to take a hard look at the successes and failures of different initiatives aimed at helping fragile, low-income countries emerge from conflict and fragility.

This was the second meeting of International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding that has taken place. The meeting signifies a turning point in how the world should support the building of peaceful states.

The participants recognized at the meeting that the Millennium Development Goals are the ultimate objective for each country. However, they also asserted the fact that no low-income, fragile state is likely to achieve these goals without a process of peacebuilding and statebuilding.

This means a framework of political settlements, security, justice, jobs, growth, revenues and services needs to be implemented first, essentially ensuring that the people feel safe in their communities. Abuses must be addressed through fair legal processes and jobs must be created for the youth.

In Sierra Leone and Liberia, a similar process of ensuring the security of their citizens was a key factor in creating a peaceful social environment after years of war. Likewise, without a strong emphasis on justice, reconciliation and security, Rwanda would not be where it is today.

Finally, "after years of talks and millions spent on humanitarian operations, the members of the International Dialogue are saying what they want and what they will do to work together to say goodbye to conflict and welcome development"

-Gabrielle Gurian