Cairo, Egypt - On the occasion of the visit of H.E. Peter Thomson, President of the United Nations General Assembly (PGA), to Cairo from 31 March to 1 April 2017, the Cairo Center for Conflict Resolution and Peacekeeping in Africa, in cooperation with the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs, hosted a high-level lunch in his honor on 1 April 2017. The lunch brought together high-level Egyptian officials, members of the diplomatic community in Cairo, and regional directors of the UN Agencies in Cairo.
Mr. Thomson delivered a keynote speech titled, “Building Sustainable Peace for All: Synergies between the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development & Sustaining Peace.” He highlighted Egypt’s leading role in fulfilling the UN Charter’s objective of ‘saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war’, particularly in the areas of countering terrorism, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Concerning countering-terrorism, he noted Al-Azhar’s efforts to counter radicalization, as well as the Cairo Center’s program on Preventing Radicalization and Extremism Leading to Terrorism (PRELT), praising CCCPA’s approach of empowering local leaders and influencers. In the field of peacekeeping, he highlighted Egyptian contributions to peacekeeping missions, being one of the top ten troop-contributing countries to UN peacekeeping operations. Moreover, he illustrated Egypt’s role in peacebuilding, emphasizing in this regard Dr. Boutros Ghali's Agenda for Peace in 1992. The aforementioned agenda outlined the necessary elements to achieve peace, namely preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and peacekeeping.
The PGA highlighted the importance of fostering peaceful, just, and inclusive societies to reach the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. He reiterated the recommendations of the High-Level Dialogue held on 24 January 2017 in New York to reinforce linkages between sustainable development and sustainable peace. This includes emphasizing conflict prevention and addressing root causes of violent conflicts; the need for the inclusion of women and youth in peace processes; strengthening the protection of human rights and rule of law; partnerships between the UN, regional organizations and international financial institutions; and the availability of adequate and sustainable financing for peace and development efforts.
Counselor Ashraf Swelam, Director of CCCPA, highlighted that Mr. Thomson’s visit to Egypt comes in recognition of Egypt’s important contribution to conflict resolution, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. He emphasized Egypt’s role in UN peacekeeping, being one of the top troop and police contributing countries, and the prominent role that CCCPA plays in the field of training and capacity building. Swelam briefly presented the Center’s activities in areas of peacekeeping, peacemaking, peacebuilding, conflict resolution, crisis management, preventing radicalization and extremism leading to terrorism, human trafficking and smuggling of migrants, as well as women, peace and security.