May 2 (UPI) -- In announcing an upcoming Global Peace Leadership Conference, Uganda President H.E. Yoweri Museveni urged African nations to take greater responsibility for their own future peace and stability within their borders.
"We can't invite the U.N. to fight our wars," he said. "How can people from Bangladesh and Uruguay come to die in the forests in Africa?"
Conflict in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo has drawn 19,000 U.N. peacekeepers to the country and is spilling across the border with the flow of refugees into Uganda. The GPLC, to be held Aug. 1-3 in Uganda, will address this and other conflicts in the Great Lakes region and the Horn of Africa together with their underlying causes.
The president was joined by former Zanzibar President Amani Karume, a key leader in the initiative, who said that the conference would facilitate collaboration for a common vision of collective peace and development in the region.
Karume chairs the Africa Leadership Mission, a group of former political leaders committed to developing solutions for a peaceful and prosperous African future. The Mission was launched as an initiative of Global Peace Foundation, which organizes GPLCs around the world to address critical conflict and development issues.
Museveni said the problems in nations such as the DRC arose from "conflicts of identity, tribalism and religious sectarianism" combined with a weak state structure. These and related challenges will be tackled at the GPLC by a multi-sector gathering of 1,000 leaders from the region under the theme Moral and Innovative Leadership: New Models for Sustainable Peace and Development.
In addition to government leaders and parliamentarians the conference is expected to draw leaders from a wide variety of fields, including faith communities, business, women's and youth organizations, educators, entrepreneurs and innovators, environmentalists and other civil society groups.
The government of Uganda will host the conference in partnership with Global Peace Foundation, Inter-Religious Council of Uganda and Private Sector Foundation Uganda.
Recognizing the role of GPF, the president said, "I am happy to welcome the initiative of the peacemakers from Global Peace Foundation." Speaking of the GPF approach to peace and stability, he continued, "We support structured peace because peace is an end product and a result of many things, which if not put in place, you may not get peace or you get vulnerable peace ... which is not sustained."
He added that the conference would offer an analysis of the "elements of global peace" and gather "the best practices around the world in one place."
GPF Vice President David Caprara said, "We chose the theme, together with the African Leadership Mission, chaired by former Zanzibar President Amani Karume and the Uganda national organizing committee to unleash catalytic solutions required for peace and an African-led renaissance targeting the UN 2030 goals on peace and development."
GPF is committed to a values-based and innovative approach to conflict resolution and peace-building that engages multiple sectors of society at all levels, from government and international organizations to local communities, faith groups, and grass-roots civil society organizations.
Mobile app and website launched
In their remarks, the two presidents announced the launch of a website and mobile app in preparation for the conference expected to reach millions of users. These online tools will serve an educational as well as promotional role through identifying and explaining the different elements needed to build sustainable peace.
These include moral integrity, education, business, job creation, and unity in diversity. Further details are at: www.gplc2018.org.
Uganda has established a task force to work with GPF on conference preparations. Museveni also called on GPF to establish a secretariat to follow up on the implementation of proposals coming out of the conference.
Michael Marshall is editor emeritus of UPI and senior research adviser for the Global Peace Foundation. GPF is affiliated with the ultimate holding company that owns UPI.