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Government to build library, museum in honour of Kofi Annan

The government has started a process to build a library and a museum in honour of the former United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan.

The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, who announced the plan, said the decision was taken in consultation with the family of the late Ghanaian diplomat who dedicated his life to peacebuilding in the world.

Dr Bawumia stated this at the close of the maiden edition of the Kofi Annan Peace and Security Forum in Accra last Thursday.

The two-day forum was on the theme: “Peace operation in the context of violent extremism in Africa,” and was attended by political leaders, diplomats and security experts who dialogued and shared ideas on critically evolving trends on peace and security on the African continent.

They also deliberated on the vulnerability of peacekeepers and their exposure to danger.

Solutions

The Vice-President said until Africa focused on finding political solutions to its security challenges, the war on violent extremism and radicalism would be difficult to win.

Although the continent desperately needed growth and development, Dr Bawumia said, the lack of security through violent extremism had largely undermined efforts by various governments to eradicate poverty and transform societies.

That, he said, was because governments in Africa were often compelled to invest more resources on recruiting, equipping and mobilising security sector institutions to provide protection for their citizens.

“This has come at a real cost since in many instances scarce resources are taken away from investing in economic activities which could generate more employment and opportunities for the youth,” the Vice-President added.

The government of Ghana, Dr Bawumia said, would continue to support efforts by the international community to bring peace and security to the world.

He said Ghana’s commitment towards the elimination of violent extremism would require critical policy changes.

“We cannot build resilient societies if we allow violent extremism to take hold of our communities. This is why I agree that the concept and approach to security should shift and embrace more human dimensions,” the Vice-President said.

Peacekeeping

Dr Bawumia said the vulnerability of peacekeepers had left them less capable of defending their peacekeeping mandate as well as protecting civilians.

There was, therefore, an urgent need to mitigate the vulnerability of peacekeepers without compromising on human rights and international humanitarian laws.

The Vice-President said it was cardinal to let human rights and humanitarian laws be pivotal in all preventive, counter terrorism and extremism strategies.

“This is the reason the government of Ghana seeks the support of the UN political solution initiatives for peace operations,” he added.

Observation

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, said African governments must not view violent extremism and radicalism as something happening far away, adding “it is with us and we need to bring on necessary planning to tackle it.”

He called for collaboration at the sub-regional and regional levels and from international partners who have experience in the sector to deal with the challenges.

“It is an international threat which needs collective international action,” Dr Chambas stated.

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