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UK: Overcoming the silos of UN system for UN conflict prevention

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Thank you, Mr President. And thank you to the Secretary-General, the President of the General Assembly, to Ambassador Kelapile from ECOSOC and to Judge Donaghue for your briefings.

In 2016, this Council and the General Assembly adopted a pair of groundbreaking resolutions on peacebuilding and sustaining peace. What these resolutions did was acknowledge explicitly and for the first time that conflict prevention was the responsibility of the entire UN system.

Building on our collective recognition that development, peace and security, and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing, these resolutions envisioned a more integrated and coherent UN approach to preventing conflict.

As we’ve heard today, making this a reality is still a work in progress – as the 2020 UN Peacebuilding Architecture Review also reminded us. And we warmly welcome the Secretary-General’s prioritisation of peace in Our Common Agenda.

Mr President, I have three points:

Firstly, a system-wide approach to sustaining peace is critical. By the time an issue reaches the Security Council, it may be too late for many on the frontline of the receiving end of conflict. Peace needs to be a core consideration of the wider UN architecture. The Peacebuilding Commission is obviously key but we can do more to realise the PBC’s full potential as well as we’ve heard today of the roles of other UN bodies.

In this, the Human Rights architecture is particularly important. And those who hide behind arguments about mandates and competencies to maintain that human rights have no bearing on peace and security would do well to revisit the UN Charter. Moreover, as we see, human rights violations are often an early indicator of conflict, and human rights diplomacy is a key part of preventive diplomacy.

Second, peace needs embedding more firmly into the work of UN bodies concerned with development. Development may be the best form of conflict prevention. But, as we have said before, development done poorly is not the “master key to unlocking all problems.”

For development to be sustainable, it needs simultaneously to address issues that we know often drive conflict, including economic, social and political exclusion.

Thirdly, Mr President, as your concept note states, an international order based on the rule of law is indispensable for a more peaceful, prosperous and just world. That includes this Council holding governments to account when they disregard international treaties, especially when this involves serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

For the United Kingdom, this also means promoting open societies, good governance and the rule of law at the national level. Combatting corruption and ensuring that people have access to justice and security can be important steps in preventing conflict.

To conclude, Mr President, overcoming the silos of the UN system is critical for UN conflict prevention. The United Kingdom is committed to realising the promise of the 2016 “twin resolutions”, and we are grateful to you Mr President for this timely debate and I thank you.

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Panic As Explosion Rocks Housing Estate In Borno

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An explosion on Saturday morning at 1000 Housing Estate in Maiduguri, Borno State, left residents in fear and confusion. 

According to a report by Daily Trust, the explosion was believed to have been triggered by Boko Haram fighters.

Also, a rocket launcher landed at Gomari Airport, a community about four kilometres from the airport located in the state capital.

Details of the incidents were sketchy at the time of this report.

In a video shared online, residents of the estate were seen discussing the incident in groups.

A large crowd was also seen in one of the houses affected by the explosion.

One of the residents said no life was lost in the incident.

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Farmers cry out as Katsina government blocks dam

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Farmers in Ajiwa and other communities using the Ajiwa Dam for irrigation have cried out to the Katsina State government to reopen the canals that feed them water from the dam.

This is even as the state government said it blocked the canals to carry out repairs and expansion of the dam.

But the farmers said the state government did not inform them about the project and has not assisted them with alternative measures to sustain their farms.

PREMIUM TIMES visited Ajiwa Dam on Thursday and saw farmers in the area digging the ground to source water for their plants.

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Usman Hassan

Usman Hassan, a farmer from Gangarawa, said the unavailability of water is affecting his plants.

Mr Hassan, who produces lettuce, pepper, onion and garden eggs, said he would soon abandon the farm due to lack of water.

“They have been asking us to return to the farm. We are serious farmers year in year out but what has the government done to support us? Blocking the canals that supply water to us is wickedness because they did not even inform us, we just woke up to see all the water supply stopped,” he lamented.

He faulted the water board management for not releasing the water despite pleas made by the farmers.

All the farmers told Premium TIMES that for 22 days, they had been left to look for alternatives to water their plants.

Lawal Umar

Lawal Umar said he has been engaged in irrigation farming for years but the management of the dam has been making it hard for them.

“This time, I had already planted my tomatoes and pepper and they were growing when suddenly the water stopped coming. We have been complaining to those involved but they kept telling us that we should meet the Commissioner (of Water Resources). Even the dam manager asked us to see the Commissioner because he is the only person that can address our issue,” Mr Umar said.

Usman Sule
Usman Sule

On his part, Usman Sule from Kazama village complained that since the water they get is waste, the water resources ministry should help reopen the canals for them.

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“The water we get is waste because they generate from the filter. I don’t know why they should be hoarding the water for us. It is wastewater from the clean water being sent to the Katsina metropolis,” he said.

About 300 farmers benefit from irrigation system farming in the dam area.

During the visit by this reporter, several farmers were seen using generating set to get water while others were busy digging the earth.

READ ALSO: Nigerian govt built nine new dams in four years – Official

The ministry of water resources in the state said the dam is being repaired and its capacity is being boosted.

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A statement sent to this reporter by the public relations officer of the ministry, Bashir Kurfi, said the state government signed for the work.

“CCECC Nigeria limited is working for the improvement of Ajiwa dam and spillway. The project will cost N3, 309, 803, 986. The work will be concluded in the next 18 months.”

Mr Kurfi said the ongoing work on the dam site was the reason for the blockade.

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Powerful local US-style governors could soon be elected under Michael Gove's plans

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Devolution plans could see local governors, such as those in the US, ’empowered’ into leadership which would ‘allow communities to take back control’. 

The plan is part of Housing Secretary Michael Gove’s Levelling Up project and the Prime Minister’s push for devolved leadership.  

A white paper with proposals was set to the published by the end of 2021.

Michael Gove’s devolution plans could see local governors ’empowered’ into leadership which would ‘allow communities to take back control’

But the draft has now been delayed to early next year, The Times reports.

It is expected to suggest greater powers for local leaders and and a focus on reviewing regional inequalities created by policymaking.

Suggestions may include the creation of a quango, in which an independent review body would thoroughly assess policy impacts on inequality on a regional level, if the idea is approved by Gove.

Ambitious devolution proposals for places with a population of at least 500,000 could also see areas with a strong sense of identity derive greater negotiating powers and more control over issues like housing, health and transport. 

Andy Street, West Midlands Mayor

Ben Houchen, Tees Valley Mayor

The Government appears to have embraced the concept of mayors, following a new onset Conservative leaders

A mayor or governor wouldn’t need to be elected by each area, but those with one would have greater powers, a move which could receive pushback from local council leaders.

While there have reportedly been tensions about how far the proposals should go, the Government appears to have embraced the concept of mayors, following a new onset Conservative leaders including Tees Valley’s Ben Houchen and Andy Street in the West Midlands.

A government source told The Times: ‘Levelling up is about empowering local leadership and allowing communities to take back control.

The Levelling Up Secretary, 54, came on stage to Abba's Dancing Queen in Manchester to make his speech on local leadership

The Levelling Up Secretary, 54, came on stage to Abba’s Dancing Queen in Manchester to make his speech on local leadership

‘The white paper will set out ambitious plans on devolution so we can see more Andy Streets and Ben Houchens delivering for communities across the country.’ 

At last month’s party conference, Gove made a speech on Levelling Up, saying: ‘We want everyone to have the chance to choose their own future, to own their own home, to walk the streets in safety and to live their best life.’

He added: ‘We want to strengthen local leadership to drive real change.

‘We will raise living standards, especially where they are lower.

‘We will improve public services, especially where they are weaker.

‘And we will give people the resources necessary to enhance the pride they feel in the place they live.’

Despite plans to push for Levelling Up, Johnson faced criticisms for the Government’s ‘betrayal’ of the North over HS2 last month.

Conservatives MPs and local leaders joined a brutal backlash as the PM tried to defend his ‘ambitious and unparalleled’ overhaul of inter-city links.

The premier was accused of giving his crucial Red Wall voters ‘scraps off the table’ after the HS2 route to Leeds was ditched in favour of a Birmingham to East Midlands Parkway line.

The HS3 line linking Manchester and Leeds – known as Northern Powerhouse Rail – is also being shelved.

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