|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Heralding Mozambique’s Transition from Conflict to Peace, Secretary-General Tells
International Relations Institute Students, Faculty, ‘Hope Starts Here’
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the Instituto Superior de Relações Internacionais, in Maputo on 21 May:
Thank you for your warm welcome. It is a pleasure to be in Mozambique and to feel the excitement and optimism of this wonderful country. And it is an honour to be here at this prestigious institution.
This is where your future is taking shape. This is where you are training young women and men to go out into the Government, and out across the country, the continent and the world. This is where they learn how to put skills to work for the common good.
My visit to Maputo is the first stop on a five-country journey through Africa. In many ways, it can be called a Horizons of Hope tour. One of my main objectives is to support the peace agreement for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region.
I will go to the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda. Then I will join leaders in Addis Ababa to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Organization of African Unity and its successor, the African Union.
But the hope starts here — in Mozambique, a country that helped show the world how to transition from conflict to peace. I have had an eye-opening visit. Where once there was destruction, today I see development. Where once there was despair, today there is democracy. The United Nations was proud to play a crucial role in helping you emerge from conflict — and we celebrate your great achievement.
But I know you are focused on the future. Today, you are managing twenty-first century transitions for Mozambique, and for the future we are all striving to build. Consolidating peace. Strengthening institutions and the rule of law. Developing the enormous economic potential of your country. Ensuring that everyone can share in the peace dividend.
The world looks to Mozambique — and I look to you. I look especially to Mozambique’s young people to be global citizens. And today, I want to speak about three elements of global citizenship in our time. It begins with understanding that all of humanity shares a common home.
Poverty anywhere diminishes possibilities everywhere. Greenhouse gas emissions from one country elevate the risks for all countries. The food, fuel and financial crises of recent years have spread quickly across borders.
We are in this together. And so our common destination must be sustainable development for all. The foundation rests on three pillars: economic growth; social justice; environmental protection.
This is why the United Nations is accelerating our work for the Millennium Development Goals as the 2015 deadline approaches. It is why Mozambique is discussing its own Agenda 2025. So many of the country’s leaders and decision-makers at the grass-roots level have been sitting together, charting the future in concrete ways.
Yesterday I heard from some of them at an inspiring round-table discussion. The United Nations is taking the same open approach in defining the global development agenda for the period beyond 2015. We have held 88 national dialogues around the world. Thirty-one were in Africa, including one here in Mozambique. I want this inclusive process to produce inclusive solutions.
We have all seen too much inequality. There have been too many cases in which natural resource wealth benefits elites and fuels conflict. Mozambicans are excited about recent resource discoveries. I encourage you to keep working to strengthen governance and take the other steps that will ensure this wealth is widely shared. Sustainable development is the basis of sustainable peace.
That brings me another key ingredient in global citizenship: being a good neighbour. Mozambican diplomatic and mediation leadership has helped address challenges from Zimbabwe to Madagascar, and from Guinea-Bissau to Malawi and Tanzania. Mozambique is also one of the guarantors of the DRC peace framework. I look forward to the lessons you will share as we seek to implement that agreement.
You know from experience the importance of consensus. You know that when antagonists finally get around the same table, they find that much more unites them than divides them. You know that instead of simply managing crises or attending to the aftermath of fighting, we must address underlying causes.
And you know that peace cannot be solely about silencing guns. It must also be about restoring hope. People must be able to see a horizon that includes quality schools for children and nutritious food for families. Decent jobs for communities and sustainable energy for societies. Empowerment for women and real opportunity for young people.
That leads me to the third and final way for Mozambique to realize its dreams: education. Education is the path to jobs, health and hope. And it is especially important in a place like Mozambique. Half the population of Mozambique was born in the twenty-first century.
Your country has made big gains. More children than ever are in primary school. But around the world, more than 60 million children remain out of school. The challenge goes well beyond getting children in school. Education today must give people the skills and knowledge they need to make the most of a globalized, fast-changing world. It must provide tools for entrepreneurship. It must train young people for decent jobs. Education can help prevent the spread of killer diseases such as HIV/AIDS. And we must put a priority on education for girls. This is the key to empowering them to realize their dreams and fulfil Mozambique’s full potential.
Here in this room, I see and feel the hope in Mozambique and Africa. A new story is being written. It is one of economic dynamism. The continent’s economies are growing at an average of 5 per cent or more per year. It is a tale of ownership. African leaders and organizations are more actively managing conflicts and crises.
And it is a story of engagement. Civil society is growing more vibrant. Democracy is taking deeper root. The calls for more accountability can no longer be ignored. At this milestone moment, Mozambique is on the move, and Africa is on the rise.
My eyes are wide open to the obstacles. But, I am full of optimism. I grew up in the shadow of war in Korea many years ago. My world was destroyed. But my hope wasn’t. I will never forget the words of one of my teachers. He said: “Keep your head in the clouds, but your feet on the ground.”
In other words, combine idealism with pragmatism. Recognize that opportunity and risk go hand in hand. Dream without losing sight of what is achievable. And if you do, you will scale new heights.
I have no doubt that’s what you will do. And so will Mozambique. The United Nations will be proud to be your partner on every step of your remarkable journey.
* *** *For information media • not an official record