Community leaders train to become peacebuilders

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BY LYNTON AARON FILIA

Ms Azusa Kubota, Country Manager of the UNDP Solomon Islands

THE United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) has trained nearly 60 community leaders on how to respond to violence and ways to maintain peacebuilding.

In a four-day workshop organized by Ministry of National Unity, Reconciliation and Peace (MNURP) 60 participants have learned about trauma, healing, basic counselling concepts and mediation services which are useful to victims when crisis arise.

UNDP Country Manager Ms Azusa Kubota said the approach applied in the workshop responds directly to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

She said in the UN they have facilitated a number of peacebuilding dialogues across the country, and common message is that without peace, there is no development.

She said, “Without development, there is no peace. In order to achieve 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, we must engage with community leaders.”

Following the workshop on Traditional Governance Leaders Peacebuilding and Mediation last week, Ms Kubota said they are responding to SDG 16 which is to achieve peace, justice and strong institutions.

“Similarly, in support of SDG 5 which aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, we consider that women and girls not as victims but as active peacebuilders and agents for change, taking power of building peace back into their hands,” she adds.

Meanwhile, during the course of the four-day, group of community leaders comprises of men, women and youths have discussed the principles of Gender Equality, women’s role in mediation, and women’s role in peace and security.

Socio-economic development, political stability and social cohesion in Solomon Islands largely depend on the sustainable and inclusive development of provincial urban centers, where conflict is inherent.

Peacebuilding is a central theme in the UN’s work in Solomon Islands.

Currently, UNDP through Peacebuilding project, have been supporting community-led initiatives in close collaboration with the MNURP.

It is understood that conflict is an inherent part of urban and community life, involving interaction between business, local communities and language groups.

In the 2017 UN peacebuilding survey, over three-quarters (76.2 percent) of all respondents said they knew of a dispute that had occurred in the last 12 months.

The most common cause of disputes was alcohol and other substance abuse with 71.9 percent of respondents, followed by land disputes account to 50.3 percent and logging 20.5 percent.

Alcohol and other substance abuse were identified as the primary cause of conflict in Guadalcanal.

Youths were identified as the group most likely to cause disputes with 64.0 percent, followed by adult men 51.5 percent and tribes or clans 36.4 percent.

The most likely group to be victims of disputes was identified as children account to 70.4 percent, adult women 66.7 percent and youths 51.7 percent.

Following the report, youths were identified as group most likely cause disputes and at the same time victims of disputes as well.

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