On 11 June 2015, Peace Islands Institute held the first panel of the Ambassadors Series 2015: “African Solutions to African Problems.” This forum hosts Permanent Representatives of African States to the United Nations who share their experiences and shed light on the perspectives of African States concerning the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This year, our focus will be on agriculture & food security, industrialization, energy & realization of economic growth, business & Public-Private Partnerships and peace & security for sustainable development in Africa.
Honorable panelists at “African Solutions to African Problems” were H.E. Mr. Omar Hilale and Mr. Mehmet Kilic, Director of the Center for Global Affairs at Peace Islands Institute. H.E. Fr. Simon Lokodo, Minister of Ethics and Integrity of The Republic of Uganda joined the discussion with a video message on agriculture and food security in Uganda.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Kilic indicated that Peace Islands Institute strongly believes that Africa is a land of opportunities. He stressed that the perceptions and insights of African nations and their people are not well known in the international community, and that with the Ambassadors Series panel discussions PII would like to generate discussion about the long-lasting challenges and prospects for the future of the African continent.
Mr. Kilic underlined that African leaders can best come up with solutions to their own national and regional challenges due to proximity, depth of understanding and personal implications in many of said challenges.
It is for this reason, as Mr. Kilic underlined, that PII believes that solution proposals should come from African Member States and be recognized, seriously considered, and supported by the international community. According to Mr. Kilic, it is important to acknowledge that African problems are not Africans’ problems only; they are global challenges to which we all have the responsibility to contribute dedicated efforts to come up with and consider different perspectives, especially from those nations who are most implicated by the issues at hand.
The panel discussion continued with the video message of H.E. Fr. Simon Lokodo, Minister of Ethics and Integrity of The Republic of Uganda. Mr. Lokodo indicated that Uganda has a very important priority in terms of transformation: shifting to a mechanized system of agriculture and increasing the level of output for extensive production.
According to Mr. Lokodo, post-harvest handling is a main area that hinders Uganda’s capacity to expand their production. Mr. Lokodo mentioned how fertile the soil is in Uganda, which attracts investors and the agri-business sector. He also underlined that the government is providing several critical incentives for these investors to establish businesses in Uganda. Minister Lokodo indicated that 70 percent of the Ugandan population depends on the agricultural sector.
Minister Lokodo underlined that the Uganda is a peaceful land where the people respect all kinds of diversity in terms of religion, ethnicity, race and ideology. He underlined that by means of the sustainable development strategies they established peace, unity, harmony and positive coexistence in Ugandan society. He also thanked Peace Islands Institute, Kimse Yok Mu and other partners in the clean-water project for their establishment of water facilities for the people who did not have safe access to potable water before.
H.E. Mr. Omar Hilale, the Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco to the United Nations shared Morocco’s priorities and perspectives in the United Nations Post-2015 Development Agenda. Mr. Hilale started his remarks by saying that he remains convinced that the promotion and protection of human rights, the rule of law and sustainable development are closely linked and mutually reinforcing. He emphasized that the stability of societies, their development and the respect for human rights are indivisible, since without peace, there can be no development, and without development lasting peace remains an elusive goal.
Ambassador Hilale also underlined that the enjoyment of human rights, particularly the right to development, and the establishment of conditions of peace requires the empowerment of all people through inclusive growth that creates decent jobs and the implementation of social policies that guarantee human dignity to the entire population. In this context, he mentioned that the Moroccan government is proactively launching policies that create jobs to better meet the demands of younger generations.
Mr. Hilale indicated that women’s empowerment is another essential element for the development of nations. He underlined that gender equality is strongly linked to good governance, rule of law and peace. Lastly, Ambassador Hilale stressed that without regional and international cooperation at all levels, governments would not be able to find effective solutions to the challenges that hinder Member States’ potential to build peace and achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.