The Great Lakes Region (GLR) has been home to some of Africa‘s most intractable and turbulent conflicts. Over a 20-year period, this region has experienced genocide in Rwanda, civil war in Burundi and cross-border conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), exacerbated by internal and external illegal armed groups. As part of its objective of establishing a peaceful international order, the Non-Aligned Movement believes that it is in the interests of the GLR, Africa and the wider international community that this area be supported to emerge from violent conflicts and human suffering to embrace peace and stability and engage in economic cooperation, regional integration and development.
NAM has welcomed the positive developments in the situation in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) following the end of the M23 rebellion and the signing in Nairobi on 12 December, 2013, endorsed by a joint Communique signed by the outgoing Chair ofthe International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the incumbent Chair of Southern African Development Cooperation (SADC). NAM leaders have further welcomed the role played by Uganda in particular H.E Yoweri Museveni, outgoing ICGLR Chair in his capacity as Mediator, for his peace efforts and the outcome of the Kampala Dialogue between Democratic Republic of Congo and M23 to ensure Peace, Stability and Development in eastern DRC. The Movement recognises that establishing a link between peace, security and development is indeed a crucial element in support of the implementation of this Framework.
NAM has further lent its support the decisions of the extra-ordinary Summit of the ICGLR and its recent Joint Summit with Southern Africa Development Cooperation (SADC) which took place in Luanda, Angola, in March 2014, to ensure durable peace and stability in the DRC. NAM also has welcomed the establishment of the ICGLR Regional Training Facility on 18th February, 2014 in Kampala to fight against Sexual Gender Based Violence in the Great Lakes Region. NAM believes that the implementation of the Framework requires financial resources to assist the countries of the region in the provision of social services for the population, generate more cross-border trade, and develop the hydroelectric potential in a region richly endowed with water resources. It also requires the coordinated efforts and the sharing of responsibility between different actors and stakeholders in its implementation, monitoring and evaluation. National and regional institutions should be strengthened to help the private sector to increase its competitive.
On 21 March 2016, a statement by H.E. Mr. Dehghani, Ambassador and deputy Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations in the Open Debate in the Security Council on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement on Prevention and resolution of conflicts in the Great Lakes region mentioned that “Lack of economic growth, jobs and opportunities creates a breeding ground for conflict.
The international community and political leaders of the region need to focus their efforts in creating an environment that ensures business operations and investments. To foster an effective strategy for Prevention and resolution of conflicts in the Great Lakes Region, first and foremost, we need to strengthen productive capacities, creating decent jobs and livelihoods, improving economic governance and foster inclusive development and shared responsibility. This Region has the potentials to become the engine for economic growth and development for the whole Continent”.
The Non-Aligned Movement has used international forums like the United Nations to re-invigorate national and international commitments towards the implementation of the peace process in the region as well as for mobilizing resources and working towards the implementation of the UNDG Great Lakes Regional Strategy. The Movement has been mphasizing the imperative of ending the cycle of violence in the Great Lakes region, said there was a need to redouble efforts to defeat armed groups that caused insecurity, as well as to address the root causes of conflict, and the importance to eliminate the illegal exploitation of natural resources, along with stressing the need to strengthen existing control mechanisms.
By Dr. Ankit Srivastava, Editor