Brussels,1 October 2011: In progressing ACP’s outreach to civil society forums, Secretary General Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas has joined the board of trustees of International Alert (Alert), one ofthe world’s largest peace building organizations.

“It is important to have a civil society platform and we look forward to working with Alert in reaching out to communities through peace building and development initiatives,” said Dr Chambas.

At a special briefing this week with Secretariat staff in Brussels, Alert’s Secretary General Dan Smith underlined the interdependency of sustainable economic development and peace.

“Development and peace-building agendas are becoming the same thing. You cannot have stable economic development without peace, and you cannot have peace without a strong socio-economic foundation.”

He added that amongst countries labeled as “failed states”, where the threat of security and stability is high, none have achieved a single Millennium Development Goal. Post-conflict job access and threats to education and health facilities were also issues of concern.

“Extensive research in the World Bank Report points to the human dimension of development… What [Alert] brings to many situations is this belief that we can bring people to the table in dialogue, despite differences and look at shared problems, possible joint solutions and joint initiatives.”

Alert supports programs in 7 regions, including vital projects in ACP states such as Burundi, Uganda and Darfur. Founded in 1986, Alert works with people who are directly affected by violent conflict to improve their prospects of peace. The group also seeks to influence approaches taken by policy makers, in order to reduce conflict risk and increase the prospects of peace.

Dr Chambas joins a board of 13 international trustees, chaired by Norwegian Frida Nokken.

Photo: ACP Secretary General H.E. Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas (centre) with International Alert Secretary General Dan Smith and Alert Representative Herta Eckert. (ACP Press Office)