“It is everyone’s business to bring peace into the community.”
This was the message shared by Janet Mbuda, a woman leader, following the first Komo Peace Conference held from 26th to 27th, November 2019.
Held in Komo Station, the conference brought together more than eighty local leaders and community representatives from Komo Rural Local Level Government (LLG) as well as representatives from the private sector, development partners, civil society groups and faith-based organistions. Over the two days, participants articulated the causes and effects of local conflicts in Komo and identified ways for communities to contribute to peace and development.
Building on the outcomes of the Hela Peace and Development Workshop in October 2019, the conference organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the Catholic Diocese of Mendi, with support from ExxonMobil PNG, saw community leaders commit to contributing and supporting peace and development efforts in Komo.
Charles Haluya, President of Komo Rural LLG, acknowledging UNDP and partners said: “The Komo Peace Forum is timely for the people to come together and resolve all issues that are happening in the community. This includes tribal conflicts affecting peace and development growth in Komo.
“We look forward to working together with partners for peace and development in Komo.”
Speaking at the event, Dirk Wagener, UNDP Resident Representative in Papua New Guinea, said: “This conference is intended to be bottom-up. It has allowed the voices of the people of Komo to be heard – the men, women and youth. The people of Komo have spoken and we, the development partners and private sector actors have heard the cry for both peace and development.
“With the pool of expertise in peacebuilding and local development work, UNDP is proud to support Komo Rural LLG and the Hela Provincial Government to work with partners to facilitate peacebuilding in communities and create enabling conditions for development to take place.”
The conference was capped off with a highly symbolic ceremony where local leaders and community representatives signed the Komo Commitment and were presented with peace medallions as their commitment to act as advocates for peace in their communities and across Komo.
(Over 80 participants turned up for the first Komo Peace Conference)