Peace is Necessary for the African Continent to Achieve its Development Aspirations

After a marathon negotiation session, the Open Working Group (OWG) on the Sustainable Development Goals finalized its outcome document.

The final hours of negotiation included extensive discussions on achieving peaceful and inclusive societies for development. While there is little disagreement among countries that peace is a pre-condition for sustainable development, tensions have continued throughout the OWG negotiations on how to frame the issue.

As Eric Kashambuzi has written in this space before, peace and development go hand in hand for many African states and least developed countries in other regions, and CIC has long argued that the perspectives of conflict-affected countries have to take center-stage when it comes to framing relevant goals and targets. To this end, the views of the African Union are absolutely pivotal.

In his most recent article, Africa: Peaceful Inclusive Societies Pre-requisites for Development, Eric Kashambuzi highlights how peace and development are core to the African Union’s political formation and identity, as evidenced by its inclusion in the Constitutive Act of 2000 which transformed the Organization of African States into the African Union. Peace and security is also one of the six pillars of development outlined in the Common African Position (CAP) on the post-2015 development agenda, agreed by African Heads of State in January 2014. African nations have since pressed hard for adequate consideration of the CAP’s six pillars during the OWG negotiations, including peace and security.

If all countries are to achieve the universal ambitions laid out in the OWG document, progress will have to be accelerated across many countries that are currently being left behind by conflict, instability, and weak institutions. As the CAP states, this will require a collective commitment of African countries and partners to implement nationally-owned plans, tackle the causes of conflict, and prevent the onset of armed violence in order to advance development.

As the OWG document is debated in this year’s annual session of the General Assembly and UN member states negotiate the modalities for preparing the 2015 Summit on the Post-2015 Development Goals, adequate consideration must continue to be given for the perspectives of African governments and civil society.

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