General News of Wed, 30 May 20181

Let’s tackle youth employment and inequality - Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey

Ms. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has underlined the need for world leaders do more to tackle the growing youth unemployment.

This combined with widening social inequality and marginalization, she said, was at the heart of many conflicts and had become an emerging threat to peace and security.

She additionally urged that alternative forms of mediation should be used to for conflict resolution.

Ms Ayorkor Botchwey was speaking at this year’s International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers’ flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremony in Accra.

The event was under the theme, “UN Peacekeepers: 70 years of service and sacrifice” and it brought together the security services, diplomatic community, Ministers of State, chiefs and the general public.

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It was used to honour Lance Corporal Emmanuel Sekyi and Staff Sergeant Boniface Attayiri, two Ghanaian officers killed during peacekeeping duties in 2017.

The Minister said “while we work to fully implement Goal 16 of the SDG, which appropriately links peace, justice and strong institutions, we need to partner with experts who serve on and off the field, civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations and the private sector to achieve our goal”.

Ms Botchwey noted that peace, security, development and human rights were inter-linked and that conflict prevention was critical to national stability.

“We must therefore strengthen partnership with regional and sub-regional organisations and engage in peace building from national and regional perspectives with cross-cutting issues, including those focusing on youth empowerment and gender equality.

“In the wake of the ever-evolving trends of conflict management and peacekeeping, there should be a paradigm shift in our approach by expanding the pool of actors in those disciplines.”

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She highlighted the central role of women and said their potential in peace building could not be overlooked.

She welcomed the Action for Peacekeeping Initiative launched in March, this year, by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, which called for mobilization of greater support for political solutions and making peacekeeping missions stronger and safer by deploying well-equipped and well-trained forces.

It also seeks to include more women in peacekeeping operations.

Christine Evans Klock, the UN Resident Coordinator, saluted all officers and men, who had sacrificed their lives to maintain peace across the world.

“On this 70th anniversary, we express our gratitude to the more than one million men and women who have served under the UN flag, saving countless lives.

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“We honour the more than 3,700 blue helmets who paid the ultimate price, and we pay tribute to the 14 missions, working around the clock today to protect people and advance the cause of peace.

As we recognize a legacy of service and sacrifice around the world, I am also committed to taking action for peacekeeping – action to make our operations safer and more effective in today’s challenging environments,” she added.

Ms Evans-Klock pledged the UN Chief’s unwavering commitment towards reinforcing the important role the peacekeepers must play in promoting human rights and addressing sexual exploitation and abuse.

“United Nations peacekeeping is a proven investment in global peace, security and prosperity. Together, let us pledge to do all we can to enable that mission to succeed,” she said.

The UN Secretary-General would spend the day with peacekeepers in Mali to express his solidarity with troops facing high casualties and enormous volatility.

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Since May 29, 1948, when the UN was formed, men and women of diverse nationalities and varied professional competences, far removed from the arenas of conflict, disaster and extreme deprivation, had contributed to peace and security in other parts of the world.

As of April, 2018, Ghana ranked as the 10th largest contributor to UN Missions, worldwide, with a total 2,645 peacekeepers.

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