The Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), together with the Centre for Sustainable Development and Education in Africa (CSDEA) on Thursday 11 May hosted a conference in Abuja. The conference brought together government officials, academia, military, non-governmental actors and diplomats, to discuss the issue of implementing in Nigeria the IDPS principles and instruments for sustainable peace.
The Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), together with the Centre for Sustainable Development and Education in Africa (CSDEA) on Thursday 11 May hosted in Abuja the 'Nigeria Consultative Conference on the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (IDPS) and its New Deal for Engagement in Conflict Affected States'. The conference brought together government officials, academia, military, non-governmental actors and diplomats, to discuss the issue of implementing in Nigeria the IDPS principles and instruments for sustainable peace.
The following is the goodwill message of Ambassador Pirjo Suomela-Chowdhury at the event:
Honourable Minister of State for Foreign Affairs H.E. Khadija Buka A. Ibrahim, Professor Oshita O. Oshita Director General of IPCR, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for the opportunity to say a few words at this important event. When I last attended an IPCR conference, that time organized with the Nordic Africa Institute, the discussions focused on the crucial role of regional organizations. I commend the IPCR for all the great work that it does, and I am very grateful and honoured to be back here today.
The IDPS is an important platform for dialogue on building peaceful societies, and no doubt has relevance for Nigeria, too. Over the years, Finland has been an active supporter of the IDPS, including in 2014 when we were co-chairs. We all know that development and conflict are intricately linked. To be able to produce sustainable development, we need to resolve conflicts – and to resolve conflicts in a sustainable way, we need to ensure development. It is an important achievement that this is now also reflected in the global development agenda – in the Sustainable Development Goals.
Here in Nigeria, some time ago, I had the chance to visit Maiduguri in the North East, and to meet H.E. Governor Shettima Kashim. I have since, on countless occasions, recalled that meeting. The vision, the commitment and the optimism of the Governor were truly impressive. I was especially impressed by the way he stressed the role of women, and the importance of educating girls. He was very clear about the importance of long term development efforts in resolving conflict in a sustainable way. Since that meeting, Finland has committed 3,5 million euros of humanitarian funding to Nigeria, through the United Nations system. While it is only a small part of the resources needed for the North-East, it is for my country a very important contribution - and it is very important for us to see the strong commitment by Nigeria.
This week, when the Honourable Minister of State for Foreign Affairs hosted women Ambassadors at her Ministry, that same commitment was very evident. I commend Nigeria for its active role, and for working closely together with the international community, including in the context of the recent Oslo conference, to address the situation in the North East.I also want to take the opportunity here to congratulate Nigeria for the recent release of many of the Chibok girls, while continuing to be concerned for those still in captivity.
Finally, though it may seem distant today, my country, over the past 100 years, has experienced its share of violent conflict. This year, when we celebrate our centenary anniversary, the overarching theme of the celebrations is 'Together' - just one small word, but a very important one. We celebrate the hard work it has taken by all quarters of our society to take us where we are today, and we remind ourselves that we need to continue engaging all parts of our population for this positive development to continue.
I wish us all a very fruitful conference, and I thank you for your kind attention.