PEACE building is a long overdue initiative that should have been implemented 12 years ago says Sir Paul Tovua.
Sir Tovua was speaking on Thursday at the United Nations (UN’s) one day youth and peace building workshop held at the Solomon Islands National University (SINU).
“This is an initiative that I strongly believe is long overdue; an initiative that should have been implemented 12 years ago integral to the peace building process,” he said.
He said, “but then in peace building from a position of conflict, the bringing of youth to play a significant role in the peace-building process is never too late.”
Sir Tovua said that peace building effort must never undermine the importance the youth-our young men and young women-can play in peace building.
“In fact, it is my firm belief that we cannot complete our peace-building effort without the participation of our young men and women in the peace-building process.
“I say this with conviction because when conflict happens in any country, the youths of our ethnic-base society will be more than often the inheritance of their parents/uncles/elders’ beliefs, including beliefs underpinning hatreds against (or misunderstanding of) another group of people in our society.
“It makes sense therefore that our peace building effort cannot possibly ignore the significance our young people can play in our national peace building process,” he said.
Sir Tovua takes the opportunity to encourage development partners and relevant government ministries to hasten the process of bringing-in our youth to play a prominent role in the peace building process.
“I am absolutely confident that our young people can be catalytical in transforming conflict, building peace and countering violence.
“And for them to contribute optimally to the peace building process, it is our responsibility to ensure that there are adequate participatory opportunity and inclusive processes and mechanism for our youth to partner with decision-making bodies,” he said.
The UN Peacebuilding Programme, ‘Supporting Peaceful and Inclusive Transition in Solomon Islands’ has organised the workshop in cooperation with the Solomon Islands National University, Ministry of Women, Youths, Children and Family Affairs and the Ministry of National Unity, Reconciliation and Peace.
The workshop marks the first step in implementing the youth objective of the UN’s Peacebuilding Project and forms part of the United Nations efforts with Solomon Islands to implement the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
By STEPHEN DIISANGO