International Order & Conflict

Conflict, Security and Development in East Africa






Conflict, Security and Development in East
Africa

 

An event hosted by the Permanent Missions of Finland
and Kenya

in cooperation with Stimson
Center
’s Managing Across
Boundaries program

 

On May 13, 2011, the Permanent Missions of Finland and Kenya, in cooperation with Stimson
Center’s Managing
Across Boundaries program
(MAB), hosted an event at the Finnish Consulate in
New York titled, “Conflict, Security and Development in East Africa.”
The event, attended by some 50 diplomats and experts, primarily from African
nations, featured a distinguished panel including Stimson Center
President Ms. Ellen Laipson,
Ambassador Ochieng Adala, Deputy
Director of the Africa Peace Forum and MAB in-region collaborator, and Mr. Øistein
Moskvil Thorsen from Oxfam International.


May 13 UN Event Panelists

 

Dr. Janne Taalas, Deputy Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations, opened the
meeting by declaring that Africa has been a top priority for the Government of Finland
for several decades and that Helsinki
is prepared to address the complex relationship between security and
development on the continent.  In her
remarks, Ms. Laipson highlighted the importance of building stronger
public-private partnerships in order to bridge the security-development divide.
She noted critical links between human security and development priorities in East Africa, including public health and economic growth,
to capacity-building assistance available in the nonproliferation and counterterrorism
contexts. Ambassador Adala provided an “on-the-ground” analysis of the nexus
between security and development, particularly focusing on trafficking of small
arms and the impact on human security and development throughout the East
African sub-region. The former Kenyan representative to the UN further
explained the benefits of forging partnerships between governments,
sub-regional and nongovernmental organizations in tackling East
Africa
’s security threats and development needs. Mr. Thorsen placed
the security-development discussion in the context of the forthcoming Arms
Trade Treaty negotiations. Mr. Thorsen also demonstrated several “dual-benefit”
assistance opportunities, including security sector reform and border and
customs capacity-building. In closing, Dr. Josephine Ojiambo, Deputy Permanent
Representative of Kenya
to the UN, synthesized the central themes of the panelists’ remarks and the
question and answer session, and reiterated the significance of innovatively
connecting the security and development needs of the region to ameliorate the challenges
faced by both areas.

 

The event was part of MAB’s continued research, analysis and
regional outreach under its “Beyond
Boundaries Initiative
,” which seeks innovative ways to utilize international
security assistance to simultaneously benefit regional security and development
needs. In East Africa, the program has already
identified “hard security” related assistance as pathways to capacity building vis-à-vis
public health infrastructure and disease surveillance, as well as toward border
security to curb the small arms trafficking threat.

 

“The Beyond Boundaries Initiative,” formerly known as the
“Next 100 Project,” is one of MAB’s flagship projects that hopes to change the
current dialogue on international security assistance so that donor and recipient
states alike can have a more productive relationship in overcoming both “hard
security” priorities, such as proliferation of chemical, biological and nuclear
weapons, as well as terrorism, and regional security priorities and development
objectives. Besides engaging with East African governments and other stakeholders
in the sub-region, MAB is also engaged in the Caribbean
Basin
, Central
America
and the Middle
East
. At the end of 2011 and throughout 2012, MAB will begin working with on-the-ground
actors in the Andean Community and Southeast Asia.

 

To read MAB’s most recent analysis on East
Africa
click
here
.

 

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