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Speakers at a forum to mark this year’s International Day of Peace in Accra have underscored the need for Ghanaians to work towards consolidating the peace the country is enjoying in order to fast-track its developmental efforts.
According to them, there was the need to sustain and build on the peace, since without peace it would be impossible to bring about development.
They said Ghanaians must not take for granted the peace the country enjoyed but cherish and jealously guard it by channelling their energies into the promotion of peace wherever they found themselves.
The speakers included the Chairman of the National Peace Council (NPC), Rev. Dr Ernest Adu-Gyamfi; the United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator, Mr Charles Abani; the Omanhene of the Asante Asokore Traditional Area, Nana Dr S. K. B. Asante, and the Head of Office of UNESCO, Mr Diallo Abdourahamane.
The event was organised by the NPC, with support from the UN Office in Accra.
The UN has declared September 21 of every year as International Day of Peace. It is a day devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among peoples and nations of the world.
This year’s commemoration is on the theme: “Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world”.
Rev. Dr Adu-Gyamfi said collectively, it was the duty of every Ghanaian to work to protect the peace being enjoyed in the country, adding: “We call on compatriots to report any suspicious activity to the relevant law-enforcement agencies.”
“The issue of unemployment and dwindling opportunities for the youth in our country need attention from all Ghanaians, particularly the government and the business community.
“The country has to do more to create job opportunities for our teeming youth, some of whom, as a result of the lack of jobs and other opportunities, have become vulnerable to insurgents who are lurking around to foment violence,” he said.
He said building sustainable peace in Ghana could not be the “job of the NPC alone; neither can it be the job of the government or the citizenry alone. It takes a concerted effort by all citizens, the government, the business community, civil society groups, our development partners and friends to build sustainable peace”.
The NPC Chairman said the 2021 GPI Report, in which Ghana was ranked as the second most peaceful country in Africa and 38th in the world, out of the 163 countries reviewed, made Ghana the most peaceful country in the West African sub-region, having scored 1.715 points.
“This is an improvement over the 2020 ranking in which Ghana placed third in Africa and 43rd in the world. The five least peaceful countries in the world, according to the 2021 GPI, are Iraq, which ranked 159th; South Sudan, 160th; Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan, 161st, 162nd and 163rd, in that order.
“The result shows that Ghana has been steadily making progress in its quest to ensure sustainable peace. While we celebrate this feat, we cannot go to sleep, as the threats against this feat are not far from Ghana,” he stressed.
Rev. Dr Adu-Gyamfi described the killing of some people in the course of post-election violence last year as a dent on Ghana’s democratic credibility.
He said it was an unfortunate incident which should not be allowed to recur.
Mr Abani said peace should never be underestimated because of its importance for the realisation of development, emphasising that “it accelerates development, and in its absence it stagnates development”.
He also said sustainable development could not be achieved without peace, and that Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 called for the promotion of peaceful, inclusive society providing access to justice for all, among other things.
He said a peaceful society was one where there was justice and equality for everyone and commended the NPC for the work it was doing to sustain the peace in the country and cited its role in last year’s elections as an example.
For his part, Nana Asante, who represented the National House of Chiefs, said traditional rulers were agents of peace.
“We are devoted to the whole process of peace,” he said, and gave an assurance that traditional leaders were committed to peace and would continue to work towards its sustenance.
He said although Ghana was an oasis of peace and constitutional system in a turbulent region, its reputation could be affected by disputes and conflicts, some of which were seen in the last elections, and so there was the need for all to adhere to the tenets of peace.
“All of us should work conscientiously towards the maintenance of peace in the country,” he said.
Mr Diallo said peace should be one thing that should never ever be ignored, and that there was the need for all to be vigilant to protect it.
He too lauded the NPC for the leadership role it was playing in helping the country to maintain its peace.
The Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the NPC, Rt Rev. Samuel Kofi Osabutey, called for more young people “to be part of our peace architecture”.