UN Secretary General: African conflicts’ root causes must be addressed

UN headquarters in Geneva UN headquarters in Geneva Photo by Mathias P. R. Reding on Unsplash

19 May 2021

The Secretary General reaffirmed the UN’s commitment to supporting peace processes in Africa in order to enable an effective post pandemic recovery.

On May 19, addressing the Security Council during an open debate on peace and security in Africa, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, discussed the need to contend with the root causes of conflict while promoting post-pandemic recovery in Africa. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, he recalled, the UN has been engaged across the whole continent in order to enhance conflict prevention and the negotiation of peace agreements. These processes have been at risk due to the overall negative impact of the pandemic on our societies. Instances of UN contributions in this area include increased efforts by the UN Support Mission to Libya to foster further political dialogue towards peace in the country, as well as recent efforts to promote stabilization in Chad after the death of President Déby Itno.

In order to respond to this situation, the Peacebuilding Fund has adapted its actions to focus on strengthening national and regional crisis management, as well as dialogue and inclusion in peace processes and conflict prevention. This response engages with the many ways that the pandemic has impacted African societies, especially its exacerbating of pre-existing inequalities and security crises. The pandemic has had a profound social impact on women and youth through the loss of opportunities, marginalization, and the growth of inequalities. These factors threaten their potential to gain full and equal participation in all life spheres, including peace processes. Guterres, consequently, reaffirmed the need for the international community to be involved in the post pandemic recovery to make it fair, equal, and effective.

The Secretary General also highlighted the ongoing fruitful cooperation with the African Union to enable space for national and regional dialogue on the subject of fighting and defeating Covid-19 and fostering an effective recovery. This dialogue is crucial, because out of 1.4 billion doses of vaccine administered around the world, only 24 million have reached Africa. Needless to say, without full access to vaccines and complete support, the much needed recovery will be delayed and made more difficult to achieve. He ended his speech by saying that only through solidarity and unity will a recovery be made possible. Addressing the root causes of conflicts and making the peace processes fully inclusive is the only way to achieve a strong and long lasting recovery.


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Author: Alessia Rossinotti; Editor: Alexander Collin

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