Jan 7, 2009, 5:26 AM
Peace and security is an essential ingredient if we are to maintain our economic development, social order and political stability.
In view of this, we cannot over-emphasize the relevance of the training session held yesterday by the West Africa Network for Peace-Building (WANEP) for women and security forces on women’s participation in peace-building and conflict resolution.
Although The Gambia has not experienced any major conflict since 1981, it is situated within a region that has witnessed one form of conflict or the other during the past decades. So we should be vigilant.
More and more projects and initiatives should be employed to promote and preserve the peace in our dear motherland.
We are conscious of the fact that the government has amply demonstrated its commitment to peace and security by ratifying many international conventions and enacting them through various national laws and policies.
NGOs like WANEP, on the other hand, are complementing the government’s efforts at peace-building.
But any effort towards peace, safety and security of people can never be enough; no amount of peace can be enough.So, more effort is needed in that direction.
The more peace we have the more the tourism industry will flourish; the more investments we can attract and more employment will be generated, which will eventually lead to significant poverty reduction and national development.
On the other hand, the economic losses and the disruptions to food supply and access as a result of lack of peace and security can be disastrous, especially in countries like The Gambia where there are no effective social safety nets.
For all conflicts, the most important impacts are the suffering, injury and death of men, women and children. The losses in output, means of production and infrastructure seem insignificant in comparison. Yet these material losses are also important, for they undermine the ability of conflict survivors to subsist and recover.
This is most obvious in agriculture, where the destruction of crops and livestock results, at best, in reduced food security and, at worst, in famine and death.
The Food and Agricultural Organisation said in a report that in many cases, deaths resulting indirectly from conflict (through famine, for example) exceed deaths from direct violence.
It has been found that the indirect costs of war are typically greater than the more straightforward direct costs; and that they continue long after the end of a conflict.
To avoid conflict, we should be mindful of marginalization of sectors of the population, poverty, injustice, high competition for non-renewable raw materials like land or energy, and arms competition, which are major pointers of conflict in any society.
Of course, we know the government and NGOs are doing a lot to maintain the peace in The Gambia, but as we say no effort towards peace is adequate; hence more and more of such initiatives are needed.
“Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war.”