Vice-President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has called for action to prevent domestic inequalities which have led to urban migration and the creation of fertile grounds for conflict.
Dr. Bawumia said the issue of poverty, which is an important element in urbanisation, will need to be addressed – adding that national initiatives need to be supported to equalise access to economic opportunities in all parts of the country.
This, he underscored, will help manage the factors that drive migration, lead to unplanned urbanisation and nurture the environment for conflict.
The Vice President was speaking during a debate on ‘War in cities: Protection of civilians in urban settings’ presided over by Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gare Støre at the UN Security Council meeting, and also expressed worry over the activities of extremist groups.
He particularly expressed concern about the threat posed to civilian populations by extremist groups such as Boko Haram and Al Qaeda in the Maghreb – organisations whose activities have become a growing threat in West Africa.
He said such groups “scapegoat civilians in their crusades and consider them as cannon-fodder. The roles played by civilians in such wars demonstrate the complex nature of modern warfare”.
Dr. Bawumia said the world had witnessed “the horrific effects of urban conflict” in places like Syria, Iraq and Yemen; but also much earlier in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire, where civil wars were fought in cities.
He reckoned that urban conflicts created opportunities for violent extremist groups to radicalise young people.
Dr. Bawumia spoke on behalf of President Nana Akufo-Addo.
Ghana became a member of the UN Security Council in January this year for a two-year term.
The country is serving on the UN Security Council alongside two other African countries, Kenya and Gabon. Kenya’s term elapses at the end of 2022, having been elected a year earlier.
In November, Ghana will take over Presidency of the Security Council, on which it is serving for a fourth tenure since independence in 1957.
Among other concerns, Ghana wants to galvanise the Council’s attention to address violent extremism in the Sahel and growing piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.