Saturday, 29 September 2012

President Kagame addresses the 67th UN General Assembly

New York, 25 September 2012
President of the General Assembly;
Excellencies Heads of State and Government;
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;
It is timely that we meet here over the next few days to seek ways and means to prevent and overall manage conflicts.
While it may seem that conflict is perennial and its forms increasingly destructive, we have the urgent task of seeking more effective ways to prevent, manage and solve it. The loss we witness or experience on a daily basis – in terms of human life and devastation – is unacceptable. Additionally, at a time when wide scale poverty robs too many people of realizing their full potential in life, conflict also detracts us from development.
We might ask ourselves why, after decades of efforts to rein in conflict on a global scale and foster multi-lateral coo
One, we must appreciate that many conflicts are caused when people are, or feel excluded from full participation in the affairs of their country, particularly around issues that affect their everyday lives. Even a cursory look at the conflict hot-spots around the world shows us the dangerous consequences of a disenfranchised and despondent citizenry. Durable solutions can only come from an inclusive approach to both politics and development.peration for sustainable peace, the results are still not what they should be. The reasons for this are several and multi-faceted namely:
Secondly, deep analysis of specific political and cultural contexts of any given conflict is key to lasting solutions. Too often, the inclination is to parachute into a situation with ready-made answers based on superficial examination of the conflict’s dynamics, doing considerably more harm than good, despite the intentions. There is no one-size-fits-all remedy; these issues are complex and should be approached as such for the best possible outcome.
Thirdly, the inter-linkages between conflict and development are often over-looked; if we are looking for peaceful ways to resolve and prevent conflicts, then promoting development tops the list.  The stakes are high – a civil conflict costs the average developing country about 30 years of GDP growth and violence can easily spill over borders threatening hard-won progress.
Since security and development cannot be achieved without each other, we all have to play our roles – from the average citizen, to government leaders, to global institutions like the UN – to find inclusive solutions for lasting peace and prosperity.
And finally, it is increasingly obvious that local or regional initiatives aimed at resolving conflicts yield more positive results because those involved have a deeper understanding of the issues at hand. Their proximity to the conflict makes them more invested in a comprehensive resolution, and enables the necessary support for whatever process is agreed upon. We need to see these initiatives strengthened. We should be highlighting root causes as we address conflicts.
In the fifty years of our independence and membership of the United Nations, Rwanda has lived through conflicts. Our country was destroyed by political exclusion and subsequent Genocide.
Over the last 18 years, we have been able to rebuild the country through policies that include all citizens in governance processes, and by applying home-grown conflict resolution and development mechanisms.
While our experience with the United Nations since becoming a member has been a mixed one, it has taken on a positive trajectory in recent years and we are optimistic that it will remain so.
The history of how conflicts have been handled in Rwanda, and indeed in our region, however, shows that improvement is needed. It is our obligation to point this out – not to be critical – but because we subscribe to the ideals and principles on which the United Nations was founded. We can and should do better.
Rwanda remains committed to a more effective United Nations, particularly with respect to the work towards a more peaceful, just and equitable world. We shall continue to contribute towards various programmes for development and peace, from our role in promoting the Millennium Development Goals and supporting the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, to our troops participating in peace keeping missions. We hope to contribute and participate even more going forward.
Let me conclude by saying that although the challenge to better prevent and resolve conflict may seem daunting, it remains ours to take on.  When we see leaders work with the people in an inclusive manner, when development can proceed unhindered by conflict, when regional groupings take greater responsibility in tackling their own issues, and when international cooperation takes place in a spirit of true partnership – I believe the results will speak for themselves, and billions of lives across the globe will improve. Ultimately, this is what we all should work towards.
Thank you.

For immediate release: 28 September 2012

Public accountability absent from new Sudan
and South Sudan oil deal

Sudan and South Sudan’s new oil deal fails to guarantee citizens the basic information they need to hold their governments accountable for the vast amounts of money involved, said Global Witness today.

After several years of negotiations, Sudan and South Sudan yesterday signed a series of landmark agreements, including one on the terms under which South Sudan will export its crude oil via Sudan’s pipelines and port. [1] Both countries are heavily reliant on oil revenues and have previously fought for control of oil fields either side of their common border. While the new agreement establishes mechanisms for internal information sharing and auditing, it includes no requirements for transit and financial data or audit reports to be made public. This lack of public accountability is particularly concerning given the allegations of high-level corruption that both governments are facing.

“Sudan and South Sudan’s citizens are the ultimate owners of their countries’ natural resources,” said Global Witness campaigner Dana Wilkins. “Yet they have been totally cut out of this new oil deal, with no way to verify the amount of oil and money that will be transferred between their governments.”

The fees paid by South Sudan for use of Sudan’s processing facilities, pipelines, and port will range between US$9.10 and US$11 per barrel, depending on the route by which the crude oil is piped out. Juba has also agreed to transfer an additional US$3 billion to help Khartoum fill the gap in its finances caused by the loss of oil reserves now controlled by South Sudan.

The new oil deal establishes a Petroleum Monitoring Committee including representatives from both governments and an independent chairperson appointed by the African Union. This Committee will be responsible for monitoring the operational and financial implementation of the arrangement. [2]  Sudan and South Sudan also agreed to appoint an independent auditor to report on the operating companies and identify any problems.

Though the Committee and the independent auditor are potentially very useful mechanisms for building trust between the governments, neither is required to publish anything. Unless their reports and the relevant production and payment data are publicly disclosed, it will be impossible for citizens even to check whether these oversight mechanisms are working.

The new agreement also includes an article on transparency. However, this only requires that the Sudanese and South Sudanese governments be ‘mutually transparent’; each sharing relevant information with the other.

“The absence of real transparency---meaning full public disclosure---in this new deal could have long-term consequences for democracy and stability in both countries,” added Wilkins. “South Sudan has included many strong public reporting and accounting requirements in its new legal framework. It is now all the more important that these are implemented without further delay.  For its part, Khartoum should put in place public disclosure laws that enable Sudanese citizens to see how their leaders are spending their country’s share of the oil wealth.”

/ Ends