The Western Regional Peace Council has held ap two-day capacity-building workshop on conflict management and reporting for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) in the Region.
The training, with support from the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), among other things, sought to build the capacity of the MMDCEs to manage and report on conflicts.
It was also to equip the executives with the skills to analyse conflicts and identify peace connectors and early warning signs and initiate responses to them.
The participants were taken through topics such as the Concepts of conflicts and peace and their implications for development, tools for conflict prevention, management, resolution and transformation.
Other topics covered were conflicts, early warning and response mechanisms, managing and resolving conflicts in MMDAs, Vigilantism, and Related Offences, integrating peace in development planning, among others.
The Western Regional Minister, Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, who opened the workshop, noted that the vast land and natural resources in the region was a recipe for conflicts.
He mentioned some of the causes of conflicts in the region to include chieftaincy, unemployment, mining and expressed the hope that the training would broaden the understanding of the MMDCEs to be able to resolve the pressing issues of chieftaincy among others in their jurisdictions.
The Regional Minister expressed worry about the numerous chieftaincy disputes in the region, numbering about 60 and said that depicted the energy with which people would compete to gain control over the resources in the region.
He said there could not be development without peace and as such admonished the MMDCEs to work towards protecting and operating in an environment devoid of conflicts.
The Western Regional Chairman of the Peace Council, Bishop Emmanuel Botwey noted that though the region was relatively peaceful compared to other regions, pockets of violence, mostly from chieftaincy, land and resource conflicts occur.
The phenomenon, according to him, did not only affect peaceful co-existence but total development in the affected communities.
As political heads, he said, the MMDCEs ought to ensure that there was peace in their communities to engender the needed development.
Bishop Botwey underscored the importance of the training and said equipping the MMDCE with the necessary conflict resolution tools and skills was necessary to ensure the effective management and resolution of conflicts within their jurisdictions.
He said it would also help them to create a peaceful environment for sustainable development, adding that the NPC would in partnership with the MMDAs to build the capacities of members of the justice and security committees to assist the MMDCEs in their work.
Bishop Botwey said the Peace Council would avail itself to assist MMDAs in dealing with conflicts that arise and urged the MMDCEs not to hesitate to contact the Council when the need arises.
Dr Patrick Osei-Kuffour, a Research Fellow at the Department of Peace Studies, School for Development Studies, University of Cape Coast (UCC) educated the participants on the link between peace, development, and violence.
He reminded the MMDCEs, who were agents of development at the local level, to consider the human aspects of development through economic growth was equally important.
He urged them to endeavour to identify peace connectors in their districts and work with them to keep and sustain the harmony and peace of their communities in shape.
Dr Osei-Kuffour advised the MMDCEs not to rush into resolving conflicts but rather take the time to analyse the drivers of the conflicts and design appropriate remedies to address them.