Former First Minister speaks on conflict resolution

Published: 27 February 2009

Tackling global conflicts requires the reform of international institutions such as the United Nations, according to Rt. Hon Dr Jack McConnell MSP.

The development of stable and successful states is the responsibility of everyone and tackling conflict requires the reform of international institutions such as the United Nations, according to Rt. Hon Dr Jack McConnell MSP.

The former First Minster was speaking at a lecture on the Role of Development in 21st Century Conflict Resolution organised by the Glasgow Centre for International Development.

Since August 2007, he has been working with the Clinton Hunter Development Initiative supporting educational development in Malawi and Rwanda. In October 2008, he was appointed as the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Conflict Resolution Mechanisms.

Dr McConnell said resolving and preventing conflict in the 21st century requires greater involvement by emerging global economic powers such as Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa and others such as the Gulf states.

He said: “Securing the changes that are needed internationally will require significant political will and leadership. Turning understanding into action will be difficult, but there are certainly many good people who want to help change come about.”

He also spoke about the growing recognition of the role women play in conflict resolution, highlighting that peace processes in which women were involved are more successful and durable.

And he warned that the world’s developed nations should not let the global economic crisis divert their attentions from dealing with conflict.

He said: “If the international community is serious about promoting human development across the world, then [it must] keep trying to find better ways to support fragile states, resolve conflicts and build sustainable peace.”

As First Minister of Scotland from 2001 – 2007, Rt. Hon Dr Jack McConnell MSP and was responsible for the establishment of the devolved Scottish International Development Strategy and the support of the Scottish Government for the Scotland Malawi Partnership.

The lecture, which took place on Monday 2 March 2009 in the Sir Charles Wilson Building, Dr McConnell described the changing nature of conflict at the start of the 21st century and reflected on the failure to halt the re-emergence of conflict in too many instances.

He outlined the central importance of political, social and economic development in peace building and commented on the role of the United Nations and other international institutions in supporting failed and fragile states move from conflict to sustainable development.

Further information:
Eleanor Cowie, Media Relations Officer
University of Glasgow Tel: 0141 330 3683 

First published: 27 February 2009