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Humanity grappling with how to sustain peace – SACCORD

THE Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) says the world over humanity has been grappling with how best to maintain and sustain peace among and within nations.

In a message to mark the 2021 International Day of Peace, SACCORD executive director Boniface Cheembe said the entire universe is in dire need of “recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world”.

“The world over humanity has been grappling with how best to maintain and sustain peace among and within nations as evidenced by numerous examples on almost all continents,” he said.

Cheembe said globally, challenges to international peace and security include an increase in the phenomenon of organised crime and armed groups of a non-state character which had contributed to a rise in violence.

He noted an increase in civilians becoming casualties of some wars that were not declared; new sources of insecurity for global citizens such as climate destruction and change; cyber threats; terrorism and migration.

Cheembe said at regional levels, matters pertaining to extremism, terrorism, poverty, and constitutional subversion continued to be a challenge.

“For example, in southern Africa our neighbouring country of Mozambique continues to grapple with issues of violent extremism in the northern part prompting the intervention of regional bodies such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) among other regional and continental efforts. Efforts of constitutional reform and greater citizen participation in the democracy and governance process of various countries such as Eswatini continue…” he noted. “In West Africa, coup d’états in states such as Guinea and Mali continue to be the preoccupation of regional bodies such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). In the Horn of Africa, reports of attempted and failed coups. The list of problems that include domestic terrorism in Asia, Europe, and the Americas is endless where issues of peace and security is concerned hence the need for a continued effort at ensuring that we have an equitable world that is sustainable.”

Cheembe said in countries such as Zambia that were generally considered to be peaceful, many challenges continue to pose a threat to peace and security.

He said these range from political violence to the wide circulation of small arms and light weapons that pose a threat to general community safety where peace and security is concerned.

In the case of Zambia, Cheembe noted a worrying downward slide in the levels of peacefulness in the country as evidenced in the 2021 Global Peace Index (GPI).

“As such, the entire universe is in dire need of ‘Recovering Better for an Equitable and Sustainable World.’ In the case of Zambia, such recovery requires to reverse the misfortunes of lack of peacefulness posed by acts of political intolerance and co-existence that manifests itself in political violence and torture of individuals of a different political affiliation,” he said. “The short, medium, and long-term solution is deliberate investment in conflict prevention, resolution, management, and transformation taking into consideration the needs of all stakeholders especially the differently abled, women, and the youth. We must never take peace for granted but must continue to be proactive in nurturing and sustaining its prevalence through equity.”

Cheembe hoped that the ruling UPND and President Hakainde Hichilema would take note of the global, continental, regional, and national challenges to peace and security and provide the necessary or matching levels of financial and material investments to address them.

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