Closing Remarks by
H.E. Dr. Francis M. Kai-kai
Chair of g7+
Minister of Planning and Economic Development
at MAFRA Dialogue, 18 May 2021 (19H00 Lisbon/18H00 Freetown)
on “Strategic Dialogue for Peace Diplomacy”
Excellency Mr. Paulo Neves, President of IPDAL
Mr. Helder Sousa Silva, Mayor of Mafra
Excellency Miroslaw Jenca, Under Secretary General for Europe ,Central Asia and the Americas, DPKO,
Excellency, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, Eminent Person of g7+, former President and Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Timor Leste;
Representative from Swiss Embassy in Portugal
Distinguished Speakers Ladies and Gentleman,
Let me start by thanking IPDAL, Institute for the promotion of Latin America and Caribbean and Municipal Chamber of Mafra with the support from Swiss Embassy in Portugal for organizing this important event on “Strategic Dialogue for Peace Diplomacy”.
The theme for this event is very timely and relevant to the current situation in many g7+ members and other conflict affected countries.
The g7+ was established in 2010 in Dili as an intergovernmental organisation that brings together 20 conflict affected countries, aim at achieving sustainable peace, stability and prosperity. The group provides a platform to advocate for effective cooperation and facilitate peer learning and sharing of experience through our flagship program called “Fragile to Fragile (F2F) Cooperation”, in pursuing peace, stability and sustainable development.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The outbreak of the COVID-19 has meant more than health crisis for the g7+ countries that already have weak institutions, fragile economy and peace. It has threatened to reverse the hard-won gains in pursuit of peace and stability. Despite the global call for ceasefire stirred by the UNSG, conflicts and violence in some of our countries did not only continue but were escalated.
The g7+ members issued a joint solidarity statement “A call for concerted support in our effort to curb COVID-19” to the UN Secretary General and other institutions calling for ceasefire and asking for collective effort to address the consequences of the pandemic. However, we witness the increased of violence and conflict some of our member countries such as Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Chad, South Sudan and Yemen. We hope with our observer status at the UN, that was granted by the UN General Assembly in December 2019 will help us in raising our voice and mobilize timely and effective international support for our member countries.
Now, many of these conflicts were born of the fragility of States. Many conflicts are inter-linked more strongly, with other countries as supporter of the parties to the conflict or as parties to the conflicts, so they are not merely internal conflicts any more, sometimes asymmetric, with huge suffering, displacement of populations.
Having served my country, as Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations over the years, I lived in a multipolar world, and it is in this context that I believe a surge in diplomacy for peace promoted by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is imperative nowadays. Member states will have to assume the leading role, and it is very much expected that the UNSG office can, using his good offices, be an added value in that surge, acting as a catalyst, sometimes a convenor, but always as a bridge-builder and an honest broker. The g7+ fully supports this initiative!
However, this task will not be easy in the complex world we are facing today, that is why we also need a lot of preventive diplomacy, a lot of efforts in mediation, and we need to have a strategy to address the root causes of these kinds of conflicts in the world.
For sure, there are two things in mind: the alignment of the sustainable and inclusive development with sustaining peace agenda. The g7+ outlook to development is based on the premise that without peace and stability there can be no development; and that development cooperation engagement should be consistent with domestic contexts based on the national development agenda of countries. It is clear that development is an important element in the prevention of conflicts, specially if it is inclusive and sustainable.
We need to address the root causes of the fragility and to support States, institutions, civil societies to become stronger, more resilient that will help diminish the tendency of States to be involved on conflict situations. The g7+ experience in mediation and reconciliation shows that understanding the people, understanding their concerns, anxieties and fear, and caring for them, and trying to find solutions for them are absolutely essential to re-establish the confidence between political establishments and populations.
The question is how can we use our partnerships with other entities, taking into account each other´s comparative advantages – the EU, AU, G7, G20, regional organisations – to enhance our capacity to manage the peace dividends from prevention to conflict resolution to peacekeeping to peacebuilding and to long term development under the strategy for peace diplomacy.
Hence, I would like to leave you with two important points as a food for thoughts before we close the first day of this dialogue.
Firstly: the g7+ recently conducted a joint assessment together with the UNDP on the secondary impact of the COVID-19 in Countries Affected by conflict and Fragility across six OECD Dimensions of Fragility – Economic, Social, Human, Political, Security and Environments. The paper is concluded with some recommendations to mitigate the impact of the pandemic in conflict affected countries.
The recommendation includes pursuing ceasefire to end ongoing conflicts, more regional cooperation founded on solidarity, revival of commitment to the New Deal Engagement in Fragile States, fostering self-reliance in conflict affected countries, and ensuring that people in conflict affected countries have access to the COVID-19 vaccine. To achieve this, the world needs multilateralism more than ever as a fundamental part of conflict prevention.
Yesterday, the g7+ secretariat was officially invited by the UN Peacebuilding Commission (UN PBC) in New York virtually to share its experiences on peacebuilding in conflict affected states. We are keen to institutionalize such partnership with the UN and support the mediation efforts undertaken by the Un Secretary General, as outlined in the objectives of the I Mafra Dialogue – Strategies for Peace Diplomacy.
Secondly, the g7+ believes in the soft diplomacy of using dialogue and reconciliation to achieve peace. We have firsthand experiences in few g7+ member countries ( for example Guine Bissau and Central African Republic) and we need to activate every track of diplomacy to have a dialogue and reconcile to pursue peace.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am glad to see that in the first day of dialogue this evening, we had two important panel discussion. One of the sessions, discussed on the benefit of peace in the case of Colombia. The experience that was shared by Mr. Emilio Archila, the Special Advisor for Stabilization and Consolidation from President of the Republic of Colombia really inspired us on the importance and benefit of peace to the development of the country.
I wish this can be as starting point to establish our relationship, between g7+ and Colombia and the g7+ Secretariat which is led by General Secretary of g7+, Dr. Helder da Costa (who is with you today physically in this Mafra dialogue), stands ready to get in touch with you to start the discussion and explore for areas of common interest for collaboration.
Another great panel session was on the conflict prevention and mediation in the case of Mozambique. After listening to the talk from all speakers including H.E. Pedro Comissario, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Mozambique, I have an expectation that similar experience can be shared with our g7+ member countries under our flagship program “the Fragile-to-Fragile Cooperation”.
So against the backdrop of wars and the pandemic, I would like to call all of us to double our effort, raise awareness for addressing conflicts and use diplomacy as a means to achieve peace and stability.
I thank you all.