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New York, 12 October, 2015: COMESA continues to support and implement programmes that respond to the spectrum of economic and structural factors of conflict affecting the region.

Specifically, the conflict early warning system supports the management and resolution of existing conflicts, post conflict reconstruction, democratic governance and addressing security.

In his address to the annual briefing of the African Regional Economic Communities to Member States of the United Nations on the topic: “Silencing the Guns in Africa: The Nexus Between Peace, Security, Governance And Development, Secretary General, Mr Sindiso Ngwenya said the current multiplicity of actors and programmes needs to be channeled towards the goals of conflict prevention and economic development.

He told the delegates that since the commencement of formal structures to address peace and security in 1999, COMESA developed the conflict early warning system (COMWARN), which is focused on structural vulnerability assessments and identification of structural drivers of conflict for respective countries.

In addition, the organization supports the management and resolution of existing conflicts through its Committee of Elders that are mandated to work with the Secretariat on preventive peacemaking assignments. In this initiative, COMESA normally plays a supportive role where other RECs take the lead.

“The support to post conflict reconstruction involves exploiting the nexus between trade, development and conflict prevention with COMESA assisting border communities of the Great Lakes region to enhance cross border trade using the COMESA Simplified Regime,” Mr Ngwenya said.

This initiative also involves aid to the development of infrastructure at the borders including border markets.

With regard to addressing security, the Secretary General briefed the meeting on COMESA contribution to regional maritime security, which focuses on addressing money laundering crimes.

“Although this is done to prevent maritime insecurity, addressing money laundering crimes also support prevention of other trans-border crimes such as terrorism, drugs and human smuggling,” the Secretary General said.

The programme on democratic governance involves election observation and submission of recommendations to ensure more successful future elections. COMESA also conducts pre-elections missions to identify any areas that require support.