The Words of the Zinsou Family
Niamey, Niger -- A UPF Crown of Peace award was presented to the head of the Economic, Social, and Cultural Council of Niger at a meeting at the council's headquarters on December 14. The 85 members of the council promote dialogue, tolerance, and solidarity among the peoples of the nation.
The Council's chief of protocol officiated at the ceremony, welcoming the guests and explaining the significance of the event. Then he invited Mr. Paterne Sosie Lin Zinsou, Director of Sub-Region 1 of UPF-Africa, to address the gathering.
Representing the chairman of UPF's Presiding Council at this ceremony, Mr. Paterne described UPF and its Crown of Peace Award to institutions that work for peace guided by principles of moral leadership, good governance, cooperation, and development. Niger ECOSOC was the first recipient in Niger of this honor. After his speech, the "Crown of Peace" certificate was presented.
"We are promoting a true culture of peace founded on human rights, democracy, and development," H.E. Cheiffou Amadou, president of ECOSOC, said upon receiving the award. Having served his country in various capacities, including as Prime Minister during the transition to a multi-party democracy from 1991 to 1993, he stated that peace is not simply the absence of conflict but requires respect for differences and constructive dialogue. "Since the world has become a 'global village,' the destiny of any one of us is always intimately linked with that of others," he added. "Only as we unite in peace and harmony will we be able to assure the well-being of all."
Fourteen government ministers attended the ceremony, along with the presidents of the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court, the President of the Islamic High Council, and the Governor of the Niamey Region. Vice Presidents of the Parliament participated along with their staff.
The president of ECOSOC thanked Mr. Paterne and UPF for letting the people of his nation and the international community know about the work the council has been doing during since this five-year term that began in 2006.
A landlocked country in West Africa, Niger is home to diverse people with long independent histories and a relatively short period living in a single state. Eighty percent of the country is desert, with grasslands and rivers in the more fertile south. Its economic base is subsistence agriculture with some export agricultural products and raw materials. Additional challenges are poor education, infrastructure, and health care, along with environmental degradation.
Members of the Economic, Social, and Cultural Council represent economic and finance, social affairs, cultural affairs, and rural development, and environment. Established in 1971, the council meets twice a year and make recommendations to the President and the National Assembly on economic, social, and cultural affairs. Much work still remains for the council in carrying out their mission to promote education and development.
Similar councils exist in other countries of the African Union to builds partnerships between governments and all segments of civil society and to promote democratic principles and institutions, popular participation, and good governance.
After the official ceremony, everyone was invited to the balcony for refreshments and exchanges of gifts.