Top official lauds role of civil society in peace initiatives 

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Anjali Sharma

GG News Bureau
UNITED NATIONS, 1st Dec.
UN Assistant-Secretary-General for Peace building Support, Elizabeth Spehar on Thursday said that Civil society organizations are on the “frontlines” of peace building, as the world body convened the inaugural dialogue with grassroots organizations to build and nurture peace initiatives on the ground.

Elizabeth Spehar emphasized the importance of civil society.

She said “Civil society organizations are on the frontlines of peacebuilding, all over the world.”

Ms. Spehar added “As an unwavering force for peace, they are our strongest allies, from the grassroots to the global stage. We want to enable civil society to better contribute to the UN’s peacebuilding agenda.”

UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and the international organization, InterPeace co hosted a two day forum in New York will be attended by over 70 peace builders from all regions of the world.

The event provides a platform for South-South and triangular cooperation, and exploring how the dialogue can be sustained in the years to come in addition to foster interactions between civil society peacebuilders and the UN.

Itonde Kakoma, President of InterPeace noted the significance of partnering with civil society in the face of complex challenges.

“This partnership with the United Nations is important because the complexities of the challenges the world faces today require us to come together in partnership in a genuine, respectful manner that brings about a higher level of complementarity,” she said.

He added “We cannot in any way, shape, or form, assume that singular institutions are enough to work on the challenges we face,”.

Elina Kalkku, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Finland to the UN noted how civil societies can make communities more resilient.

“Civil societies can be key in building peace and resilience all over the world. CSOs can identify needs that must be addressed. CSOs can share ideas on how to move forward,” she said.

Civil society organizations are essential partners in implementing peacebuilding projects funded by UN’s Peacebuilding Fund, drawing on extensive local knowledge and solutions.

The Fund engaged with civil society in support of free and fair elections empowering women and the youth ahead of the presidential polls in Liberia.

The project is to ensure key benchmarks, including a 30 per cent gender quota among political party leadership and candidates, ending sexual and gender-based violence, and inclusion of youth in electoral processes and decision-making at all levels.

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