Rwanda this week announced the agenda for its April presidency of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), including conducting 11 closed consultations, nine public meetings, and one forum for troop contributing countries.
The agenda also includes a proposed meeting to discuss the root causes of conflict on the African continent, which claims the lion’s share of the United Nations’ spending on peacekeeping.
Indeed, since 1989 to date, Africa has been home to 25 peacekeeping missions, yet there is little to show for it. In fact, a candid debate about the root causes of conflict on the continent is long overdue.
Quite often the UN and other actors have preferred quick fixation as opposed to a conscious effort to genuinely study the underlying causes of these recurrent wars, some of which may be traced to the colonial era, or are rooted in decades of exclusion, state-sponsored violence, among other deep seated grievances.
It is also important to examine why the UN and western actors often prefer to impose haphazard solutions in war-torn countries, rather than playing the role of a neutral mediator, eager to get to the root cause of the conflict and finding lasting solutions.
The nature of conflicts on the African continent calls for a new approach. It’s obvious that conventional approach to conflicts is failing, thus the need to tackle every situation from its context and realities.
This requires home-grown solutions, and participatory approach that seek long-term gains.
This will not only save lives but also the resources that continue to be wasted on ill-conceived peacekeeping operations.