UNDP Administrator urges Kenya - Ethiopia border communities to invest in sustainable peace and development
Marsabit County Deputy Governor H.E. Omar Abdi Ali, UNDP Administrator and UN Under Secretary General Ms. Helen Clark and UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Siddharth Chatterjee pose next to a plaque commemorating the launch of the Kenya-Ethiopia cross-border programme
UNDP Administrator and UN Under Secretary General, Ms. Helen Clark, has called upon communities who live along the Kenya – Ethiopia border to step up their pursuit for long-lasting peace as the only means to achieving sustainable development. Ms. Clark was speaking to elders and peace committee members in Moyale town during a visit to assess the progress and potential of the UN-supported “Cross-border Integrated Programme for Sustainable Peace and Socio-economic Transformation: Marsabit County, Kenya and Borana/Liben Zones, Ethiopia.”
Ms. Clark met with the elders and peace committee members after a tour of the town during which she saw the destruction meted on houses and property following past ethnic conflicts. During the meeting, Ms. Clark listened to the Chairman of the peace committee as he spoke candidly of their experiences and the gains achieved so far in their pursuit for sustainable peace. National Cohesion and Integration Commission Chairman, Mr. Francis Ole Kaparo, thanked the peace committee members for restoring peace and explained to Ms. Clark that the committee is experiencing serious financial constraints.
Even as she appreciated the support from national and international partners, the UNDP Administrator reminded the locals that their input as communities was core to the success of the programme. She also acknowledged the uniqueness of the cross border programme, pointing out that “this joint cross-border programme has the potential to be replicated in other parts of the Horn of Africa.” “Programmes like these can help overcome the barriers borders created and lay the foundation for sustainable peace and development,” she said.
Speaking ahead of the launch of Human Development Report, the UNDP Administrator urged the elders to incorporate women in peace making. “Women bring in certain competencies and skills that are very important in peace-making. It is therefore important that your peace initiatives do not lose out on this,” she said.
Also present were UN Resident Coordinator (Kenya), Mr. Siddharth Chatterjee; UN Resident Coordinator (Ethiopia), Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa; IGAD Executive Secretary, Ambassador Mahboub Maalim; Senior Advisor, International Relations and Social Sectors, Executive Office of the President, Ms. Ruth Kagia; Marsabit County Deputy Governor H.E. Omar Abdi Ali and representatives of Development Partners.
Ms. Kagia pointed out that little development can be achieved in the absence of peace and reassured the local communities and the UN Administrator that the Government of Kenya will upscale its support for peace initiatives in the area.
The cross border programme, which was officially launched by President Kenyatta and Prime Minister Desalegn on 7 December, 2015, aims at transforming the region into a prosperous cross border hub of economic activity, peaceful community, flourishing trade, employment opportunities and improved livelihoods and sustainable resource utilization. These efforts will also respond systematically to the current risks of deepened radicalization, human trafficking and illegal migration. The interventions cover Marsabit County in Kenya and Borana/Liben Zones on the Ethiopian side.
The UN has been a key player in the formation and implementation of the programme and therefore Ms. Clark’s visit was a valuable gesture of the UN’s commitment to this cross border programme.