Karin Landgren, former UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Liberia, delivered the Kofi Annan / Dag Hammarskjöld lecture in Accra on April 19, 2016. The title of the lecture was The Future of Peace and Security in Africa: Implementation and Impact of Recent Reviews of UN Peace Operations.
Ms Landgren spoke about Dag Hammarskjöld and Kofi Annan’s commitment to making the UN a dynamic instrument for change, presiding over a number of reforms and significant changes in UN peacekeeping. She underscored that change needs to endure and the 2015 reviews – of UN Peace Operations, of Sustaining Peace, and of Women in Peace and Security are rich in reflections and in recommendations. “They recognise that as the nature of conflict continues to change, the UN must change too, if it hopes to remain true to its founding purpose, preventing and responding to the scourge of war,” she noted.
The lecture reflected on the multiple entry points to disorder and fragility, the root causes, the importance of regional organisations and the need for a a shared strategic vision, as well as a common agenda for action. “The UN family as a whole, operating on the ground in fragile situations, needs fresh energy in uniting around support to stronger national institutions, and to greater social cohesion,” explained Ms Landgren to the audience at the Kofi Annan International Peace-keeping Training Centre in Ghana.
To prevent conflict, or prevent relapse, Ms Landgren underscored we need to pay more attention to the role of the citizen, noting that when we speak of inclusive peace we of course mean inclusive of people. She argued that “..it’s incumbent on us to reflect more deeply on the meaning of inclusive and broad-based national ownership – including the active participation of women and youth – in peace processes and in sustaining peace.”
The lecture concluded with a call for the next Secretary-General to build a strong environment of trust in, and within, the UN. “UN leaders are remembered for their courage, vision, integrity, humility and ability to inspire others. Just five qualities, really… Those five qualities have never been more important to fulfilling the world’s hopes and expectations of the UN. May the qualities of Hammarskjöld and Annan continue to guide us.”