UNITED NATIONS HIGH LEVEL FORUM ON CULTURE OF PEACE
Convened by H.E. Mr. John W. Ashe, President of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
In cooperation with The Global Movement of the Culture of Peace (GMCoP)
Tuesday, 9 September 2014 from 10:00 am to 6 pm
Trusteeship Council Chamber and ECOSOC Chamber, UN Headquarters, New York
“PEACE IS MORE THAN THE END OF ARMED CONFLICT.
PEACE IS A MODE OF BEHAVIOR.”
Photo Credit: Jose Pinto Stephen - PHOTO ALBUM OF THE HLF/CoP
Hande SUBASILAR, General Secretary of the Light Millennium and
NGO Representative at the United Nations, and
Isik BASARIR, UN Youth Representative of the Light Millennium
Part 1/2 - Part 2/2
The United Nations General Assembly resolution 53/243 on the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture Peace, establishing the principles and foundations of the Culture of Peace, was adopted by consensus on 13 September 1999. Since then, the General Assembly through its subsequent annual substantive resolutions has highlighted the priority it attaches to the full and effective implementation of this visionary decision which is universally applicable. In addition, the Assembly proclaimed the year 2000 as the “International Year for the Culture of Peace” (52/15) and declared the period 2001 to 2010 as the “International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World” (53/25).
Following the wide-ranging success of the UN General Assembly’s the first and second High Level Forum on The Culture of Peace (HLF/CoP) at the United Nations in 2012 and 2013, the UN General Assembly, under the guidance of its 68th Session President H.E. Mr. John Ashe, and with the newly added “Debate Session”, by which included the
participations of 25 member states, which presented a highly successfull, and further empowered, the third UN HLF/CoP. It was held at the Trusteeship Council Chamber on September 9, 2014, that was led by Bangladesh and organized in collaboration cooperation with Global Movement Culture of Peace (GMCoP.Org)
This third HLF/CoP, along with its new “Debate Session” and the enthusiastic high-level participation, wide–ranging partnership and inclusive collaboration among Member States, international organizations and civil society, presented evidence of its success and the ongoing sustainability of the HLF on an annual basis. The Forum has presented as an evidence as escalating its ongoing success and sustaining
the HLF on an annual base.
[Lightmillennium.Org] OPENING SESSION started with the remarks by H.E. Ms. Isabelle F. Picco Vice-President on behalf of H.E. Mr. John W. Ashe President of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. He reminded that in September 1999, United Nations General Assembly adopted, by consensus, a resolution on the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace. During the past fifteen years, the Assembly has unanimously adopted a follow-up resolution each year. He said “As our world and its people struggle with many challenges and obstacles, and news headlines remind us that violence, intolerance, injustice, indifference and cruelty still take hold of many people and places in the world, I thank the peacemakers I have met this past year for spreading their hope and optimism, and continuing their work, sometimes in the face of tremendous odds. Indeed, the very essence of our United Nations is to promote and work toward creating a culture of peace.”
In his remarks H.E. Mr. Ashe quoted these words from UN Charter “practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours”. He continued by saying “the desire for peace drives this organization and the work we do in nearly every programme, office and department. “ Then he welcomed welcome the initiative of UNITAR, in collaboration with Nonviolent Peaceforce, to develop an online course called Strengthening Civilian Capacities to Protect Civilians from Violence. The course supports efforts for sustaining a global culture of peace by engaging civil society and other relevant stakeholders in bringing about peaceful settlement of violent conflicts and is designed to foster intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation for peace.
H.E. Ashe announced that he would be passing the torch to his successor, H.E. Mr. Sam Kutesa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uganda and President-elect of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly, to carry on work forward and guide the next steps. He concluded by saying, “in fact, the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace reminds us that the massive responsibility of shifting our world toward a culture of peace belongs to all of us: parents, teachers, politicians, journalists, religious bodies and groups, intellectuals, those engaged in scientific, philosophical and creative and artistic activities, health and humanitarian workers, social workers, managers at various levels as well as non-governmental organizations.”
Next, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations reminded the concept of a culture of peace was born 25 years ago with the UNESCO-supported International Congress of Peace in Yamoussoukro in his remarks. The Yamoussoukro Declaration states that “Peace is more than the end of armed conflict. Peace is a mode of behavior.” It is a “deep rooted commitment to the principles of liberty, justice, equality and solidarity among all.”
H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon highlighted that peace cannot be decreed solely through treaties; it must be nurtured through the dignity, rights and capacities of every man and woman. Reminding that peace means access to education, health and essential services, especially for girls and women, he continued if explain peace also means giving every young woman and man the chance to live as they choose, developing sustainably and protecting the planet’s biodiversity.
Although today we see a spreading virus of war, I am convinced that our strongest arsenal in the face of these threats is not weapons or missiles or guns. It is our shared values, common vision for peace, development and human rights, our universal aspiration for a meaningful culture of peace, said H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon.
In conclusion he expressed the need of new forms of cultural literacy and diplomacy, between societies and within them, and educational curricula to deepen global solidarity and citizenship. He said, “We need a new commitment to respect the right to be different and to make the most of diversity as a strength to share among all people, regardless of where you are coming from, what kind of ethnicities or languages and traditions and history one may have. We need mutual respect and mutual tolerance. We have to raise the level of tolerance among all of us.”
2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Founder and President of the “Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa” H.E. Ms. Leymah Gbowee was invited to give the keynote speech at the High Level Forum. Referring to her own experience during Liberia’s civil war she briefly explained how they form a peace-seeking consortium that included women of different religious and ethnic groups and varying income levels and how Christian and Muslim women learned to work together to bring the peace. She said this marriage was not easy and there was no honeymoon, we spent many days negotiating with each other to resolve our own conflicts. She continued by saying “we were very strategic, we planned everyday for hours, and we deliberately sorted out actors that further our cause and build strategic alliances in the course of our work. In that struggle, Ms. Gbowee said, we inadvertently followed Article 1 of the Culture of Peace declaration: “Through education, dialogue and cooperation, we fostered an environment conducive to peace.” In doing so they expended beyond their initial to end the civil war. The women of Liberia succeeded in 2003.
Nothing guarantees that a man’s gun and the efforts size of his arsenal gives him high intellect to sit at the peace table. Furthermore she said this year we have seen a resurrection of all conflicts, like Russia and Ukraine, Israel and Palestine, continuing violence in Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Southern Sudan and relapse in west of Africa’s’ development due to the health crisis. Our international leaders are again faced new challenges. Debating how to use military might, and which parties should be invited to the negotiation table . Then she raised these questions “where are we missing it, why conflict comes back to us viciously? How did the world get from removing Saddam Hussein to ISIL today? How did we get from getting rid of Kaddafi and Mubarak to Egypt and Libya where the anarchy persists on a daily basis? How did we get from fighting for the independence of South Sudan to a nation divided and drifted into ethnic conflict? “Nothing guarantees that a man’s gun and the size of his arsenal gives him high intellect to sit at the peace table…we will not see the culture of peace until we reevaluate the global structure that negotiates peace” Ms. Gbowee declared. She also pointed out that if women are left out of the peace negotiations it is not possible to build a culture of peace.
Ms. Gbowee concluded by saying “peace is possible every day, peace is possible when you do it right and the culture of peace is achievable.”
After Ms. Gbowee’s keynote message the opening session of the high level forum concluded and moved to the musical interlude by Sounds of African Drums.
MEMBER STATES HIGH LEVEL SEGMENT GENERAL DEBATE
Member States High Level Segment General Debate at the 2014 High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace started with the speech of Distinguished Representative of Philippines, Mr. Alberto A. Bernardo. First, he announced that the Philippines government integrated culture of peace into their development plan. Later, he stated that this forum is an opportunity for all of us to review our commitment and share our experiences towards a culture of peace. He also announced that Philippines welcomes women and the youth. He finally concluded his speech by saying: “Philippines stand ready to share our practices; and we’ll continue to support regional and international initiatives towards building of culture of peace and tomorrow.”
The second in line was the United States. Ms. Terri L. Robl, Deputy U.S. Representative to the UN Economic and Social Council, started her speech by stating the core values that this country stands upon, which are freedom, justice, democracy, and human rights. She continued on by explaining the USA’s efforts on promoting a culture of peace. In her words; “Focusing on the important role of education in fostering a culture of peace, United States is proud to partner with the government of Brazil to sponsor the UNESCO' teaching respect in its all educational program to design a curricular framework that countries can adapt to their own respective context to fight racism and promote tolerance.”
3rd place speaker was the Distinguished Representative of Pakistan. He called our attention to the conflicts we face today in the world. “These conflicts bring untold miseries to many including innocent women and children,” he commented. He also called attention to the UN’s and governments’ role in establishing a culture of peace by saying; “International peace is closely linked to prevention and settlement of conflicts and establishment of a just and fair international economic order. The UN must find just and lasting solutions to the fastening political problems around the world which erupt in intermittent violence every now and then.” In addition, he declared that we should only resolve conflicts through peaceful ways. Peace, security and sustainable development are closely linked. Where there is no security, there is no economic development. Peace will bring security, and by achieving security, we can achieve sustainable development that’s in post 2015 agenda.
The next speaker who went on to the podium was the Distinguished Representative of Bangladesh, H.E. Abdu Hassan Ali. He announced that peace, justice, democracy, tolerance, fundamental freedoms, secularism, human rights, respect for minorities, and empowerment of women have all been the guiding principle and the building blocks of Sheikh Hasina’s government and her development doctrine. Culture of peace is engraved in Bangladesh’s foreign policy. As a founding member of UN peace building commission, Bangladesh works to inculcate peace through its partnership role at the UN peackeeping as a top peacekeeper country. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina placed culture of peace in their governance which led to her being awarded the UNESCO peace award. H.E. Ali declared that democracy can bring sustainable development and peace.
Afterwards, the Distinguished Representative of Qatar declared that the state of Qatar gives great importance to culture of peace, non violence, importance of dialogue and cooperation among cultures and religions. “Out of our belief we try to establish a center for interfaith dialogue for promoting the culture of dialogue. We can’t talk about the culture of peace without addressing the important role of youth, not only because they have infinite capacities, but because they are also the victims of conflict in various parts of the world. Therefore there is a vital role for education, which is considered one of the main tools to build a culture of peace. That’s why we launched initiative of teach a child program in cooperation with the UNHCR aiming at providing children high level education.”
After Qatar, the Distinguished Representative of Cuba expressed his concern by saying; “today the challenges we face before us are greater than ever and multilateralism is the only way to overcome these challenges.” He said; “Class struggle and racism need to be energetically and vigorously rejected. Cubans are fully convinced that united in our action we can achieve a better world that better world that we all aspire.”
Then, the Distinguished Representative of Bhutan, in his speech, thanked the Bangladesh government for their peace efforts and reaching out to Bhutan government to work on this year’s resolutions. “Many have spoken about the importance of education and we share this value too. We need to reach out and nurture young and innocent minds for they’re our future… Also, without ensuring the empowerment of women, there can be no peace within our nation and in the world... Peace starts at home. It is the government’s responsibility to create necessary conditions for people to be happy. Happy people are peaceful people.”
Afterwards Representative of Kazakhstan said women and youth must be given the chance to build global citizenship for a new vision of the world. He continued saying that Kazakhstan is committed to advancing the implementation of the program of action on the culture of peace so women can be the flag bearers of the global processes. He also mentioned a crucial aspect of attaining education by saying that “education plays an important role to young people to control their faith”. Then, he finished his speech by saying; “my country stands ready to be a part of all regional and international efforts to create a better world.”
Next in line was the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN, H.E. Dr. Palitha L. Kohona. He started his speech by expressing his gladness to attend this forum for the 3rd time after 2 very successful conferences on culture of peace. He expressed his concern for people suffering from the poor allocation of resources for the basic needs to people in the world claiming that it leads to destruction of peace. He declared that Sri Lanka, as a multicultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious country understands the significance of peaceful coexistence and pluralism. He concluded his remarks by ensuring the audience that Sri Lanka will contribute to efforts for cultural peace. Differences are good and differences are enriching.
The Moderator next gave the floor to the Distinguished Representative of Romania, H.E. Mrs. Simona Miculescu. She started her speech by drawing attention to the significance of this timely debate by saying “the developments around the world show us that we need to increase our efforts in promoting the culture of peace.” She then praised the key-note speaker, Ms. Leyman Gbowee, for her wonderful speech, strong courage and admirable success by saying that she’s an inspiration to women all around the world. Noble prize being granted to her is a fantastic recognition of women. She also added: the contribution women can make to global peace cannot be underestimated. Moreover, she underlined that creativity and energy of younger generations should be much more valued in building a culture of peace. She also mentioned the importance of education by saying, “we should continue to foster culture of peace through education and everyone should increase their efforts in this respect.”. She also announced that Romania is committed to implementing the culture of peace. She finally concluded her speech with a quote from the well-known Romanian diplomat Nicolea Titulescu: “Diplomats are soldiers of peace whose will only contains one word: Continue.”
Next, Permanent Mission of Nigeria’s Senior Counsellor Dr. Tope Adeleye Elias-Fatile came onto the podium. He touched on the importance of empowering youth and educating the youth towards a culture of peace. Encouraging governmental and non-governmental organizations, he concluded his remarks saying that culture of peace should be a continuous process with participation of everyone.
Then, Permanent Representative of Malaysia, H.E.Ambassador Hussein Haniff started his speech by saying that the conflicts happening right now in the Middle East and Africa bring us challenges towards reaching a culture of peace. Malaysia believes in the value and principle of moderation can be applied in preventing these conflicts. He also talked about the important role of youth and the priorities and expectations of the youth. According to statistics, number one is good education, second is better healthcare, third: honest and responsive government, and fourth is better job opportunities. He finally, offered his full support to all his fellow diplomats.
After Malaysia, Brazil was on the podium. Distingueshed Representative of Brazil, presented her country as one that maintains good diplomatic relations with all UN members, a country with no enemies quoting the words of Kofi Annan; built up and led by a culture of peace. For Brazil culture of peace is culture of tolerance and respect at all social, economic and cultural levels. We see that the biggest challenges that culture of peace faces are poverty, hunger, and inequality. Overcoming these challenges is a top priority for the Brazilian government. As a result, Brazil brought 40 million of its citizens out of poverty in recent years. Promoting a culture of peace means bringing different cultures together. Therefore, Brazilian government policies fight against discrimination. She concluded her remarks by adding that Brazil is ready to contribute in helping achieve a culture of peace.
The distinguished representative of Republic of Korea gave us four criteria for a global way of life towards a culture of peace.
1. Respect for life. End of violence. Promotion of non violence through education dialogue and cooperation.
2. Full respect and promotion of all human rights.
3. Madde soyle: Respectful and promotional equal rights and opportunities for women and men.
4. Respect for and promotion of equality.
Then, he focused on importance of three global goals; empowerment of women, education of children, and global citizenship. Women are the most vulnerable in conflicts thats why we need to empower women, we can educate the future generation on culture of peace. Also, as a part of global citizenship efforts Korea hosted technical consultation meeting on global citizenship in Seoul in 2013.
The Distinguished Representative of Algeria informed the audience, the Algerian government includes lessons on Culture of Peace, citizenship human rights in its school system. They also hold seminars dedicated to peace. Also after a decade of fighting against terrorism Algeria confirms that a culture of peace among ourselves is no longer an option but an imperative that must be pursued. On a national level, by national referendum, Algeria accepted the UN charter for peace and national reconciliation in 2005. The Algerian representative finished his speech by quoting an African saying: “If you want change, you need all of us including women and men to shake up the cocoa tree.”
Next, the Distinguished Representative of Montenegro announced that in accordance with the UN charter, Montenegro is committed to culture of peace. And Montenegro will continue to be a reliable partner of UN in its activities of threading the culture peace to every part of the world.
Then, Permanent Representative of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, H.E. Ambassador Tekeda Alemu reminded us that the phenomenon of terrorism is threatening peace. They cause massive destruction and suffering. He informed the audience that the Ethiopian government has made a commitment to silence the guns by the year 2020. He concluded his remark by saying that it’s his hope, it’s our hope that the exchange of views today will lead to better solutions and efforts toward a culture of peace.
Afterwards, Distinguished Representative of Saudi Arabia centered his speech on empowerment of women. First of all, to promote women we must promote their status. Secondly, we need to educate them because when we educate women, they educate the society. He supported Saudi Arabia’s commitment on empowering women by giving social statistics. He also added that we can’t be silent to women and children who are subject to violence and conflict in some areas of the world; therefore, we encourage the international community to react to them and bring the guilty to justice.
Next, Representative of the Republic of Bolivarian Venezuela announced that the primary duty of Venezuela as a nation is to promote culture of peace and it has been for the last 15 years. Venezuela also recognizes the work of UNESCO in this regard. He also claimed that peace isn’t achieved just through equitable access to basic needs. It’s more. It requires more effort to achieve a culture of peace. “We need to act with intelligence and patience, and we need to move forward quickly.”
Then, Moroccan representative came on the floor. “No peace without development; no development without peace.” It’s an equation of development and peace; it goes hand in hand. The existence of poverty feeds conflict. And the equitable distribution of resources and goods can bring world peace. Also, he touched on the importance of social media in communicating globally. In addition, political and public leaders need to set an example to promote the culture of peace. He later added, “the program of action is a road map for us to implement proactively.”
Next, the Distinguished Representative of Bosnia Herzegovina, H.E. Ms. Mirsada Colakovic, took the podium and announced that Bosnia supports the resolution and concept of the culture of peace; and promotion of culture of peace remains one of the priorities of Bosnia. She added: “humanity has made so much process but unfortunately we still need to progress in rejecting violence and conflict and the grass root of all conflict is ignorance. Therefore, education comes first.
Turkey was the last in Member States High Level Segment General Debate. H.E. Halit Cevik declared that Turkey is committed to building a culture of peace. That’s why Turkey built an alliance with Spain in 2005 which later was adopted by the secretary of Generals as a UN initiative. In addition to it being among the 20 building members of UNESCO, Turkey is actively participating in its activities.