Africa's commitment to "silence guns" ambitious but important

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Children perform during the official launch of the "Children, Not Soldiers" campaign in South Sudan, a collaboration between the United Nations and the Government of South Sudan. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

The African Union's commitment to stop conflict across the continent by 2020 is ambitious but critically important, the Deputy Secretary-General has said.

Jan Eliasson was speaking at a high-level forum at the UN on Wednesday entitled the "Africa We Want".

Delegates discussed how to integrate the UN's new global goals together with Africa's development agenda for 2063.

Jocelyne Sambira reports.

Countries affected by conflict were among the world's poorest performers on the first UN anti-poverty goals known as the MDGs or Millennium Development Goals.

That's according to Jan Eliasson, the UN deputy chief, adding that they also every year dominate the lowest ranks on the Human Development Index.

He underscored the importance of ending conflict in order to arrive at a "peaceful and secure" Africa.

Recognizing this, the SDGs and Agenda 2063 require governments, regional organizations and the international community to focus on the root causes of conflict and fragility. These causes range from poverty, inequality and exclusion to governance failures, let's face it, the lack of decent work and the flow of weapons."

People living in fragile and conflict-affected countries make up for 15 per cent of the world's population, Mr Eliasson said.

They also represent more than 30 per cent of people living in extreme poverty.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

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