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Upper East Peace Advisory Council Holds Workshop

2007-08-03 21:44:56
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Bonface Gambila
Mr Boniface Gambila, out-going Upper East Regional Minister, on Friday lauded the government's position of non-interference in chieftaincy matters, saying the stance had been largely responsible for the prevalence of peace in otherwise potentially explosive parts of the country.

He said right from the onset, the government recognised the fact that chieftaincy matters were best resolved by the National House of Chiefs in collaboration with the various regional houses and traditional institutions.

"That is why we always refer such issues to the appropriate structures mandated by the Constitution for redress," he said. Mr Gambila was speaking at the closing ceremony of a five-day capacity-building workshop for the Upper East Regional Peace Advisory Council in Bolgatanga.

It was jointly organised by the Ministry of the Interior and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with the aim of developing the skills of members in conflict management and peace building mechanisms.

The Minister indicated that rather than being imposed, sustainable peace could only be achieved through the understanding and commitment of all parties involved in a dispute. He urged Council members to remain neutral wherever they were met with issues that had the propensity to ignite conflict.

He expressed appreciation to the UNDP for supporting peace-building initiatives in the Region and expressed the optimism that the five-day session had equipped participants with the right attitude to tackle conflict situations whenever they arose.

Mr Francis Azuimah, UNDP Programme Coordinator, explained that the collaboration between the UNDP and government of Ghana in the implementation of the National Architecture for Peace led to the establishment of the National Peace Council and subsequently the various regional peace councils including that of the Upper East. He indicated that a core mission of the UNDP was to fight poverty in all its manifestations and that conflict and sustainable development were incompatible.

Mr Azuimah noted that a multi-dimensional approach to peace building or conflict resolution was essential because it facilitated easy engagement of all stakeholders in the particular situation, thus making any decisions arrived at collectively owned.

"It is the conviction of the UNDP that the National Architecture for Peace is a window of opportunity for us all to act now with realism and foresight, think globally and allocate our resources strategically to achieve positive peace," he said.

Mr Ofosu Mensah-Gyeabour, Regional Police Commander, who chaired the closing ceremony, noted that conflict and crime would continue to bedevil society as the world became more inter-connected and it was important to equip security personnel with adequate skills and logistics to enable them to deal with conflict situations whenever they occurred. Topics treated during the five-day session included Conflict Analysis, How to Deal with Post-Conflict Situations, Mediation, Principles of Effective Communication, Trust and Confidence Building and the Role of Regional Peace Councils in Preventing, mitigating conflicts. Members of the Regional Peace Advisory Council include representatives from the National Fire Service, Immigration Department, Muslim Council, the Regional House of Chiefs, women's groups and civil society organisations.


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