CPS Urges UN to Move from Commitments to Action

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Mr. Mathews addresses the press on behalf of the CSO groups in Monrovia

As the 74th annual section of United Nations General Assembly takes place in New York, the Civil Peace Service (CPS) has called on the UN governing body to move from commitments to action on peace if the 2030 agenda must be achieved.

The CPS comprises several civil society organizations including the New African Research and Development Agency (NARDA), Lutheran Church in Liberia Healing and Reconciliation Program (HRP), the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC), Lutheran Development Service (LDS), Liberia Opportunities Industrialization Centers (LOIC), and National Adult Education Association (NAEAL).

On Saturday,  September 21, 2019, the CPS joined its counterparts around the world to celebrate the International Day of Peace (IDP). The CPS was initiated by the German Federal Government which comprises of non-governmental agencies, religious-affiliated and non-affiliated institutions.

The CPS call came in the wake of the global economic cost of violence, which exceeds US$14 trillion per annum. noting that by the end of 2018, over 70 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict violence, or human rights violations, something which they said if current trends continue, by 2030 more than half of the world’s poor will be living in countries affected by high levels of violence.

Addressing journalists at a news conference held in Monrovia, NARDA Executive Director Lancedell Matthews said one of the main achievements of the 2030 Agenda is to commit to a radically different approach to development, particularly in conflict-affected and transitional environments.

Mr. Mathews said fostering people-centred social, economic and political inclusion, ensuring access to justice and human rights, strengthening the social fabric and good governance have repeatedly shown to be essential to achieving prosperity and peace, globally and at all levels of national development.

He also used the occasion to call on world leaders and the UN member states to accelerate their commitment to peace, which is the gateway to achieving the SDGs.

“Align crisis response with longer-term prevention and peace-building efforts,” he said. “If we are to move beyond late-stage, reactive, expensive and often ineffective responses to complex crises, including climate change and migration, governments need to fully embrace a commitment to preventive actions by fostering resilience.

“Resilient societies are just and inclusive, where the relationships between individuals, their communities and the state are based on trust and the respect, protection and fulfillment of everyone’s human rights, and where there are robust mechanisms for addressing inequality, difference and grievances,” he also said in the statement.

“When a crisis response is nonetheless required, we call on relevant actors to structure and implement such interventions in a way that does no harm, is people-centred and holistic, and explicitly aligns with longer-term efforts to sustain peace,” he stated.

The group stressed the need to protect and support civil society actors, as part of fostering sustainable peace. Social, political and economic advocacy contribute to increasing peace if they are owned, implemented and sustained by local actors, including youth and women. “Civil society inclusion continues to be under threat around the world, with onerous restrictions imposed on the ability of civil society groups to be effective, speak out and access funding.”

The CSO group also said for the UN system to model inclusion in all its local and global processes, think local and act global, recommit to multilateralism as a safeguard for the most vulnerable.  National implementation alone will not
suffice to achieve the SDGs or to address the global challenges of climate change and inequality.

This is particularly the case with sustainable peace, where fostering the external drivers of peace, justice and inclusion requires concerted action by states, as duty holders, to strengthen adherence to international humanitarian law, support responsible trade, reduce arms flows, and promote constructive financial, tax and investment practices.

The group however urged UN member states to also seek to strengthen a rules-based system that creates a more effective enabling environment that privileges the long-term peace, development and human rights of all people and
communities.

The United Nations was founded to ‘save a succeeding generation from the scourge of war’. Now, 75 years later, will we reaffirm our commitment to collective action, centered on a vision of a peaceful and prosperous world for all? The global economic cost of violence now exceeds 14 per annum.

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