European External Action Service

06/21/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/21/2024 12:51

EU Statement - 2025 Review of the Peacebuilding Architecture: The Gambia’s experience in peacebuilding and sustaining peace

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EU Statement - 2025 Review of the Peacebuilding Architecture: The Gambia's experience in peacebuilding and sustaining peace

New York, 21 June 2024 - EU statement at the Ambassadorial-Level Meeting of the Peacebuilding Commission, 2025 Review of the Peacebuilding Architecture and Gambia's experience in peacebuilding and sustaining peace, delivered by H.E. Ambassador Hedda Samson, Charge d'Affaires, a.i., EU Delegation to the UN.

Mr President,

  • Your Excellency, Mr. Mamadou Tangara, Minister for Foreign Affairs of The Gambia,
  • Your Excellency, Mr. Cho, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea,

Allow me first to thank the President of the PBC for today's meeting, providing us a welcome opportunity to reflect on and take stock of activities and results through our engagement in The Gambia. And to consider their relevance in the context of the upcoming peacebuilding architecture review.

I would like also to thank the briefers for their contributions. We are especially grateful to the insights shared from the experiences from The Gambia, a country that has demonstrated strong commitment to peacebuilding.

Mr. President,

I will speak first on the EU experience working in partnership with The Gambia before turning to some observations of relevance to the peacebuilding architecture review.

First, since 2017, The Gambia has moved ahead with an ambitious agenda to consolidate democracy, to build national reconciliation and to advance socio-economic development. From day one, the EU has been accompanying The Gambia on this road towards reaffirming democracy.

Constitutional reform, transitional justice and security sector reforms are the three pillars which underpin the peacebuilding process in The Gambia. The EU has invested to an unprecedented degree in The Gambia's democratic consolidation over the last 7 years amounting all-in-all to half a billion Euros.

The EU welcomes the substantial steps taken by the Government, including an ambitious "White Paper" endorsing almost all recommendations issued by the Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission.

The EU actively supports this key reform with various programmes strengthening democratic governance that entail specific transitional justice components such as supporting reconciliation, the National Human Rights Commission and increasing civilian oversight of security institutions. As an example, I can point to an EU-UNDP Insider Mediation project, which plays a vital role in conflict resolution by promoting peace and stability through empowering national mediators.

In addition, the EU welcomes the Partnership Platform launched on 13th February, which will be a key forum to coordinate the development partner's support to this crucial reform.

In many ways, The Gambia represents a positive narrative in a West Africa region. However, recently strong internal pressures to repeal the law that criminalises Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a concerning issue which might jeopardise the trust that has been gained since 2017 and may eventually make the country the first nation in the world to re-admit FGM. In our perspective, a successful peacebuilding process has to rely on human rights protection, inclusion, a ban of all gender-based violence and all forms of discrimination across society.

Mr. President,

Secondly, I would like to share a couple of observations on the relevance of these experiences in The Gambia to the peacebuilding architecture review.

One key observation concerns the importance of national prevention strategies, developed on a voluntary basis and clearly based on national ownership. Such national prevention strategies are fundamental to address the drivers of violence and armed conflict. To be effective, they must be people-centred, inclusive and adopt whole-of-society approaches. The experience from The Gambia speaks to the centrality of national prevention strategies.

A second, central observation is emphasizing the importance of protecting civic space and the crucial role of civil society for building peaceful, just, and inclusive societies. Human rights are critical to guarantee conditions of inclusion and protect against marginalization and discrimination, thus preventing grievances before they arise. The role of local peacebuilding organizations, human rights defenders, women and youth peacebuilders, as well as the private sector, among others, are fundamental.

Thank you.