Address to the Opening Session of
2nd All Collo Peace and Development Conference
Malakal - River Transport Hall, Tuesday April 24, 2007.
By H.E. Hon. Dr. Lam Akol,
Sudan Minister of Foreign Affairs and Member of the National Assembly
-??????? The Acting Governor of Upper Nile State
-??????? The Commissioners
-??????? Members of the National, Southern Sudan and State Assemblies
-??????? Representatives of Political parties
-??????? Representatives of Civil Society and NGOs
-??????? The Chairman of the Conference
-??????? Distinguished Guests
-??????? Ladies and Gentlemen
It gives me great pleasure to address this august gathering at this critical moment in our history. From the outset please allow me to extend my sincere thanks and heartfelt appreciation to the chairman and members of the FASHODA SOCIAL AND BENEVOLENT ORGANIZATION for organizing this extremely important conference and inviting me to attend it. The time for holding the conference is ripe and appropriate. The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) has ushered in a new era of peace and democracy in the Sudan and all the Sudanese communities have to seize this golden opportunity and make use of the conducive environment created by peace.
Chairman of the Conference;
Peace is so invaluable that we must all protect it and defend it. This sounds obvious enough as there are many provisions in the CPA for that purpose ranging from security arrangements to power and wealth sharing. However, the most important way to protect peace is to bring about development all over the country especially in Southern Sudan and other war affected areas. After all, the lack of development was the main reason behind the conflict for 38 of its 51 years of formal independence. But development does not happen haphazardly, it must be planned. Hence, the importance of conferences likes this one.? It is one of the many conferences held all over Southern Sudan by different communities but with one objective; helping the Government to plan development.
At the centre of development is the human being.? Indeed, he is the objective, the mover and implementer of development. Therefore, the people concerned must be consulted and take active part in planning the aspects of development that affect their lives. When the Civil Rights Movement in the USA was protesting in the sixties of the last century that "there is no taxation without representation" they were actually drawing attention not only to the issue of keeping them out of participation in government but also to a more important aspect associated with that, i.e., deciding on what kind of duties and responsibilities are demanded by the government from its citizens. We now have the participation, thanks to the CPA, let us help our government at all levels (National, Southern Sudan and Upper Nile State) plan and bring about the development we want.
Allow me to pause and attempt to explain a little bit about what we mean by development.? In very simple terms, development is the sum total of purposeful actions that promote the well being of people. Development is a continuous process; even the developed countries are still developing. In this context development is not only physical and material but it also entails spiritual and ascetic aspects of the human being. This is why it is inevitable that development must change not only the physical environment we live in but also some harmful traditions and customs we have inherited over centuries. In other words, our cultures must be developed and in doing so we must rid ourselves of some aspects that retard that development. One important example that stands out clearly here is the way we look at the role of women in our society. Women must play their rightful role in development and running the affairs of our society. The physical and material development, such as building schools, health facilities, infrastructure, etc. may seem to be obvious and straight forward. Nonetheless, the resources will never be enough to implement all what we want at the same time. We must, therefore, identify our needs in all these areas and more importantly, prioritize them in order to help our government and the private sector investment realize our goals. Your conference will be judged as successful if you were to indulge in this exercise.
It is by now clear that there can never be development without peace and the converse is also true, that there can be no peace without development. Development must also be done with the active participation of the people. All the Sudanese people remember that the military regime of Ibrahim Abboud (1958 ? 1964) scored a singular success in physical and material development, but because it did not involve the people it won their wrath rather than approbation.
I conclude my remarks with an important message. To be able to succeed in everything, development included, we must develop and maintain a unity of purpose. Our unity is paramount. Let us push forward united so as to serve our people who have suffered enormously as a result of the war. They cannot afford unnecessary bickering and personalization of national issues. We should not mistake the wood for the forest. This conference brings together all Chollo nation with different political persuasions and social backgrounds. Despite, that they are all agreed to see that our community does not lag behind in getting its rightful share in development. We should not claim the right of other communities. The government of National Unity, Government of Southern Sudan and the Government of Upper Nile State expect all the constituent components of the relevant areas of their authority to help them in the planning of development. This conference must contribute to this endeavour.
I wish you every success in your deliberations.
Thanks you very much!
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