By Cindy Trinh
Impunity Watch Reporter, Oceania
SUVA, Fiji – A conflict resolution expert for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Tracy Vienings, says Pacific countries have to put more effort into overcoming issues of marginalization and inequality.
She says that the issues of marginalization and inequality are often at the root of conflict and more effort needs to go into connecting peace building with development.
A UNDP meeting in Suva, Fiji resulted in the implementation of project called the Strengthening Capacities for Peace and Development, and involved various Pacific governments, NGOs, and regional agencies.
The Strengthening Capacities for Peace and Development project includes immediate capacity building support. The project aims at establishing programs to facilitate needs-based planning and monitoring, and to support reconciliation activities in the Pacific region.
The project aims to bring together regional organizations, government and civil society actors to share experiences, discuss the difficult issues, and begin to strengthen leadership and capacities for peace in the Pacific.
One part of the project’s goals is to introduce a core group of Pacific peace builders. This is a workshop that hopes to answer questions regarding the meaning of peace, the linkages between peace, conflict, and development, and how human rights can be addressed through peace building projects.
The core group of peace builders will be drawn from selected countries in the Pacific.
Vienings stated that: “Through this project we are targeting a core group of peace builders, generally middle level staff in civil society organizations, governments and intergovernmental organizations. Those participating in this programme will also benefit from a small grants mechanism to fund peace projects of those participating in the initiative.”
Although this project has triggered discussions about positive changes in the Pacific region, Vienings believes that governments and civil society have struggled to take action. She urges the Pacific countries to put more effort into overcoming the issues and take action.
She stated: “The reason that [the Pacific countries] don’t [take action] is because they are politicized issues and are very difficult. They require long term solutions but governments and civil society are not necessarily addressing them at the moment.”
For more information, please see:
Pacific Islands News Association – Core Group of Pacific Peace Builders to Get Introduction Training Soon – 26 February 2010
Radio New Zealand International – More effort needed to solve root causes of conflict in Pacific – UNDP expert – 25 February 2010
United National Development Programme – Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme: Strengthening Capacities for the Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation Framework