Category Archives: United Nations

UNWomen: In lead up to Generation Equality Forum, Action Coalition themes announced


An article from UN Women

Today, UN Women, together with feminists across the world, and the Governments of Mexico and France, announced the  Action Coalition  themes for the Generation Equality Forum  to be held in Mexico City and Paris this year.

UN Women staff during Generation Equality Private Sector discussions in Kenya. Photo: UN Women/Kennedy Okoth

The Action Coalitions are global, innovative partnerships with governments, civil society, international organizations, and the private sector, to catalyze collective action, drive increased public and private investment, and deliver game-changing results for women and girls everywhere.

The Generation Equality Forum, a civil society-led global gathering convened by UN Women and co-hosted by the Governments of Mexico and France, taking place in Mexico City from 7 to 8 May, and in Paris from 7 to 10 July 2020, will launch the following six catalytic Action Coalitions:

1. Gender-Based Violence
2. Economic justice and rights
3. Bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)
4. Feminist action for climate justice
5. Technology and innovation for gender equality
6. Feminist movements and leadership

The six themes were based on data-driven analysis and selected in consultation with international feminist groups, grassroots activist organizations, governments and other partners.

The Generation Equality Forum is taking place in the context of the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the most comprehensive blueprint for achieving gender equality and women’s rights, adopted by 189 countries in 1995.

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Question for this article

Does the UN advance equality for women?

Prospects for progress in women’s equality, what are the short and long term prospects?

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Despite some progress, real change has been slow, and no country has achieved gender equality.As the world faces unprecedented challenges, including climate crisis, rising inequality and threat to multilateralism, progress on girls’ and women’s rights is at risk.

The Action Coalitions, backed with financing and impactful partnerships, aim to make accelerated and irreversible progress to advance gender equality.
Each Action Coalition will be led by a group of partners, including: Member States, women’s movements and civil society organizations and the private sector, as well as UN agencies, other international organizations and youth leaders. 
Adolescent girls and young women are at the heart of Generation Equality, lifting up those who have been silenced, stigmatized and shamed far too long, and ensuring that no one is left behind. One of the concrete actions in each Action Coalition theme will specifically target the unique needs of adolescent girls and young women. 

Each Coalition will develop and implement targeted solutions that advance the rights of adolescent girls and young women during the UN Decade of Action  (2020 – 2030) to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals.

In the coming months, the formation of Action Coalition leadership and membership will be advanced, as well as the development of “Blueprints” accompanying each Action Coalition, which will detail the expected goals, results, budget, a catalogue of commitments and the accountability framework.The upcoming UN Commission on the Status of Women  (9 – 20 March) and the Generation Equality Forum in Mexico (7-8 May) will provide opportunities for partners to come together and further elaborate upon the Action Coalition Blueprints.

The Action Coalitions will be officially launched during the Generation Equality Forum from 7 to10 July in Paris, and further amplified at the UN General Assembly in September 2020. 

For more information on Generation Equality Forum and the Action Coalitions, click here. Get involved and join the global campaign, #GenerationEquality  to make gender equality a reality within our lifetimes.

UN committee adopts youth resolution on disarmament and non-proliferation


An article by Marzhan Nurzhan in the Astana Times

The First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly at its recent 74th session adopted the resolution Youth, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation.

The resolution recognises the role of young people as key agents for social change and acknowledges the positive contributions of youth engagement to sustainable peace and security.

There were two resolutions previously adopted by the United Nations Security Council highlighting the importance of engaging youth in processes related to peace and security:  resolution 2250 (2015) on youth, peace and security, and resolution 2419 (2018) on the role of youth in peace negotiations and implementing peace agreements.

Furthermore, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres released a non-paper entitled Securing Our Common Future: An Agenda for Disarmament, where the role of young people as drivers of change was emphasised, along with the need for sustainability and long-term engagement of youth and further investment in disarmament education. Inequalities connected with geographical location of youth coming from developing countries can limit access or create barriers towards representative participation in the international opportunities in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation.

Despite these challenges, young people are open to new experiences, use creativity to generate novel ideas, have enduring energy, pursue high levels of cooperation and regard themselves as world citizens standing up for one planet. They believe in a common future and simultaneously seek opportunity for actions at local and national levels. Young people can be identified as more inclusive, cosmopolitan, with solution-oriented mindsets. They also promote impactful activities that affect the well-being of everyone.

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Question(s) related to this article:

Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

What is the United Nations doing for a culture of peace?

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Climate change is now included as mandatory subject in formal learning process in Italy. This could serve as an example to follow by incorporating the theme of disarmament and non-proliferation in public education. However, non-formal education and online courses have changed the way we obtain, apply, and disseminate knowledge. These approaches have also altered practice we reach out to young people worldwide, especially in the specific area of disarmament and non-proliferation. It is important to raise awareness about the history of nuclear testing and humanitarian consequences, which is mainly associated with the Cold War. For that reason, fostering intergenerational cooperation and promoting peer-to-peer distribution of information, knowledge and skills are crucial.

Thus, the resolution “stresses the importance of realizing the full potential of young people through education and capacity-building, bearing in mind the ongoing efforts and the need to promote the sustainable entry of young people into the field of disarmament and non-proliferation.”

Therefore, CTBTO Youth Group (CYG) prior to the adoption of the resolution established this network to involve youth in a constructive and inclusive manner, considering regional balance. CYG equips next generation with extra-curricular education, such as e-learning modules  about the CTBT and its verification regime. In addition, CYG portal provides supplementary lists of educational resources  that comprise not only information about nuclear issues but also other weapons of mass destruction. CYG members have opportunity to participate in a meaningful way at the various international events, in particular the Science and Technology conference series and the Science Diplomacy Symposia. At these events, CYG members can enjoy mentorship networks with GEM filling the generational gap in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation.

Empowering youth through education means promoting leadership and courage to build presence and future we want without nuclear tests and explosions. Research and development of innovative initiatives can lead to the transformative changes for global peace and security through science and diplomacy with the direct impact and influence of actions  conducted by young people. With the adoption of the resolution Youth, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, it re-affirms work and endeavour of the CTBTO Youth Group and serves as an impetus for even more youth engagement to finish what we started.

Full text of the resolution is available at

List of educational resources:

The author is an intern, External Relations, Protocol and International Cooperation Section, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO). This opinion first appeared at CTBTO Youth Group website here.

[Editor’s note: The resolution was drafted by South Korea.

At Major March in Madrid, Indigenous & Youth Activists Slam Global Leaders for Climate Inaction


A broadcast by Democracy Now (licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.)

We broadcast from Madrid, Spain, where the 25th United Nations climate conference is in its second week and representatives from almost 200 countries have gathered for the final days of negotiations. The summit — known as COP25, or conference of parties — has so far focused on meeting the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise to “well below 2 degrees Celsius,” or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. But climate scientists say the talks are failing to produce the drastic measures necessary to address the climate crisis. Since the Paris Agreement four years ago, greenhouse gas emissions have risen by 4%, and this year’s summit shows no sign of arresting that trend.

Full video of broadcast

On Friday, as hundreds of thousands prepared to take to the streets of Madrid in protest, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg told reporters that the global climate strikes have “not translated into action” by governments. Protesters then marched through Madrid’s city center Friday night in a massive climate demonstration led by indigenous leaders and youth activists. Democracy Now! was there in the streets.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re broadcasting from inside the United Nations Climate Change Conference here in Madrid, Spain, where representatives from almost 200 countries have gathered for the final days of negotiations. The climate summit, known as COP25 for “conference of parties,” has so far focused on meeting the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius — that’s 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. But climate scientists say the talks are failing to take the drastic measures necessary to address the climate crisis. Since the Paris Agreement four years ago, greenhouse gas emissions have risen by 4%, and this year’s summit shows no sign of arresting that trend. On Friday, as hundreds of thousands prepared to take to the streets of Madrid in protest, 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg addressed reporters.

GRETA THUNBERG: We have been striking now for over a year, and still basically nothing has happened. The climate crisis is still being ignored by those in power. And we cannot go on like this. It is not a sustainable solution that children skip school. We cannot go on like that. So, we don’t want to continue, so we would love some action from the people in power, I mean, because people are suffering and dying from the climate and ecological emergency today, and we cannot wait any longer.

AMY GOODMAN: Protesters then marched through Madrid’s city center Friday night in a massive climate demonstration led by indigenous leaders and youth activists. Democracy Now! was there in the streets.

PROTESTERS: ¡Ni una especie menos, ni un grado más! ¡Ni una especie menos, ni un grado más!

VIDYA DINKER: My name is Vidya. I’m from India, the south of India, a coastal community. Coastal communities across Asia are now, you know, getting that bad end of the stick because of the climate emergency. We are here to speak for our people. We know that our governments and everybody in the U.N. is now being controlled by lobbyists with oil companies and fossil fuel companies. This cannot be. We need to cut through, and we need to see that the voice of the people is heard here. There must be a loss and damage fund so that people can cope with climate emergencies.

PROTESTERS: What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now!

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Question for this article:

Sustainable Development Summits of States, What are the results?

Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement?

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GODWIN OJO: I’m Godwin Ojo. I’m from Nigeria, Environmental Rights Action, Friends of the Earth. We are here to stop corporate power. We are here to stop corporate capture of the state, corporate capture of the United Nations, corporate capture of resources. And we want to make the voices of local communities all over the world to count, and to put an end to climate change. Nigeria is highly impacted. All over the south, there is flooding. A lot of people are dying from climate change. And now the farmers are not able to plant because there is rainfall problems in Nigeria.

TA’KAIYA BLANEY: My name is Ta’Kaiya Blaney. I’m from the Tla’amin Nation, which is located in lands illegally occupied by Canada. And I’m here because indigenous youth are on the forefront of climate change. And the climate solutions being proposed by our government are a continuation of indigenous genocide. In the Wet’suwet’en territory, we have Coastal Gaslink invading those homelands and forcibly removing indigenous people from their ancestral territories for LNG, which is, according to these governments, a climate solution because it’s a transition from coal. So we’re here to say that, like, climate solutions and the fight for climate change has to be a fight for indigenous peoples, and it has to be a fight for indigenous rights, because, as indigenous youth, we don’t have a choice to act. This is about our survival.

PROTESTERS: What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now! What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now!

JUAN PABLO ORREGO: I’m Juan Pablo Orrego from Chile. And we are marching for fighting climate change and also for, you know, the stop of the repression in Chile, where people are getting hurt. And we are walking for deep changes in our economic systems so we stop hurting the environment and harming people. Chile is a country that is extremely vulnerable to climate change for geographical reasons. You know, we have the driest desert in the world, in the north. So we are being affected severely. We have a desertification process happening in three-quarters of the country. It’s very severe. The river that feeds water to Santiago de Chile has lost 50% of its flow in the last decade. That’s how serious this is. And, you know, this is the 25th conference, and nothing has changed. They have been talking for 25 years, a quarter of a century, and nothing has changed, really, in the ground, and carbon dioxide keeps rising in the atmosphere. So, when are we going to really act — you know, the governments — to change things in the ground? If you go to the COP, the official COP, you’re going to see that all the companies that are guilty for the situation we are in today are sponsoring the COP. So it’s a very powerful greenwashing.

PROTESTERS: ¡Ni un grado más, ni una especie menos! ¡Ni un grado más, ni una especie menos!

ALETHEA PHILLIPS: [speaking Omaha-Ponca] Hello. My name is Alethea Phillips. I’m from the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska. I’m here with SustainUS’ first-ever all-indigenous youth delegation to attend the U.N. climate negotiations. It’s really powerful for all these indigenous people to be coming here to Spain, somewhere that was — that has impacted us so heavily by colonization and the continuation of colonization in the climate crisis. For us, a lot of people at COP, these countries, they have never learned how to live sustainably. They’ve always been based upon a system that takes and needs more and more, whereas indigenous people, like, our traditions have always been sustainable, and because of colonization, that’s been taken away from us. So, for us to be here, it’s not so much that we’re trying to learn how to live sustainably. We’ve always been protectors of the land. We’ve always worked with nature, not against it. So, going forward, it’s really important that we really look to indigenous people as leaders of the climate movement, and not just victims.

TOM GOLDTOOTH: We’re here to build solidarity. We’re here to stand in support of the people of Chile. We’re here to support the people of Colombia and Ecuador and Brazil who are fighting climate capitalism. We have to stand together with the people of the streets and of the forests and the land and the oceans, fighting neoliberalism, fighting imperialism. We’re fighting against the United States and its white supremacy, militarization. We have to look at these things and stand together in solidarity with the people.

AMY GOODMAN: That last voice, Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network.

The world went orange: Putting a spotlight on ending violence against women


A photo essay from UN Women

Every year, from 25 November to 10 December, activists around the world campaign to end violence against women, as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. The international campaign has its roots in the feminist movement, and started at the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, Rutgers University, USA, in 1991.

1. In Italy, the Montecitori Palace, which serves as the seat of Italian Chamber of Deputies glowed in orange light.

Kicking off on the International Day to end violence against women (25 November) and concluding on the International Day of Human Rights (10 December), the campaign shows violence against women is a human rights violation. This year, the UN marked the 16 Days of Activism by bringing together leaders, activists and communities around the world under the theme, “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape”, calling for an end to rape and rape culture. Orange is the colour of the United Nations campaign on ending violence against women, led by the UN Secretary-General.

From orange billboards in Times Square, New York, to arenas in Colombia and federal buildings in Austria lit in orange light, events in Mozambique and street campaigns in Serbia, people from all walks of life took a stand against rape culture, sparked public dialogues and listened to survivors.

Take a look at some of our favourite moments from the #16days.

2. [In Albania], students, civil society and media representatives are marching at the main square of the city of Elbasan on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Photo: Woman Forum Elbasan/Andi Allko.

3. In Alexandria, [Egypt], UN Women in partnership with the National Council for Women and Bibliotheca Alexandrina commemorated the 16 days of activism at Bibliotheca Alexandrina, where library staff and guests stood on its steps and lit the building in orange. Photo: UN Women/ Haleem Elshaarani.

4. In Kosovo, the “Pjeter Bogdani” was lit in orange to spread awareness of the 16 Days of Activism and the need to eliminate violence against women. .#16Days #OrangetheWorld #endrape

5. In Chongoene district in southern Mozambique, three generations from one community performed a dance to open the commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and 16 Days of Activism. The event included drumming, the recitation of poems, a play and a discussion on violence against women. Photo: Leovigildo Nhampule.

6. In Serbia, UN Women launched a street campaign to raise awareness about the prevalence of gender-based violence by branding public buses in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Nis and Kragujevac with messages and key statistics on violence against women. Other bustling parts of these cities were decorated with posters and videos. Photo: UN Women/Nemanja Jovanovic

7. In Uganda, 500 Boda drivers took part to the @GlobalSpotlight-supported Safe Boda ride during the #16days of activism against gender-based violence!

8. In New York, audience members in orange scarves applaud panel speaker Ajna Jusic during the official UN commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women that took place on 25 November in the ECOSOC chamber of UN Headquarters. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown.

Questions related to this article:

Does the UN advance equality for women?

Prospects for progress in women’s equality, what are the short and long term prospects?

9. In Dubai, UAE, watch the world’s tallest building @burjkhalifa turn orange tonight in support of #OrangetheWorld. #UAE continues to champion #women’s rights and advocates their advancement in all sectors.#16Days#GenerationEquality @UN_Women @DXBMediaOffice @UN_UAE @WAMNEWS_ENG

10. Women,men, activists, leaders, non-governmental organizations came together in Ecuador took part in the “Live We Want” March to call for urgent action to end violence against women and girls. Photo: UN Women/Johis Alarcon.

11. Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official residence of the President of India, was lit in orange as the 16 Days of Activism closed to echo the call for an end to rape and sexual violence. @rashtrapatibhvn

12. In Brussels, the Berlaymont Building, which serves as the headquarters of the European Commission, was lit in orange to emphasize the European Commission’s commitment to ending all forms of violence against women.

13. The University of Amsterdam’s Roeterseiland Campus lit up orange in honour of 16 Days of Activism campaign to stop violence against girls and women. The University also hosted lectures, workshops and other events to increase conversation on the topic.

14. In Janakpur, Nepal, more than 400 cyclists came together to mark the 16 Days of Activism and participate in a morning bike tour to raise awareness and show support to the survivors of violence against women. @unwomennepal

15. Movistar Arena, the most important and modern indoor event arena in Bogotá [Colombia], lighted up in orange to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Photo: UN Women/Juan Camilo Arias

16. For the first time the Federal Chancellery of the Republic of Austria supported the #Orangetheworld campaign. Photo: BKMC/Eugenie Sophie

17. UN Women #Senegal marched alongside civil society organizations – scouts, hiking association, youth associations – to say STOP to violence against women and girls. #OrangeTheWorld #GenerationEquality #EnoughIsEnough

United Nations General Assembly Adopts Three Resolutions on Culture of Peace


An article from the United Nations (abbreviated)

The General Assembly today (December 12) adopted three resolutions on the culture of peace, highlighting the need to foster interreligious and cultural dialogue, temper social media and bolster education in efforts to prevent future clashes between and within societies.

Bangladesh Ambassador Rabab Fatima introduced the culture of peace resolution

Introducing a draft on “Promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation for peace”, the Philippines’ representative said the resolution aimed to promote interreligious and intercultural dialogue in achieving peace and stability as well as strengthen constructive dialogue across divergent divides.  The resolution also stresses the important role the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United National Alliance of Civilizations play in promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue at all levels, he said.

Bangladesh’s delegate, introducing a text on “Follow‑up to the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace”, noted that it welcomes the High‑level Forum on Culture of Peace held on 13 September 2019, the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration and Programme of Action.  The Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace continues to find relevance across the three pillars of the United Nations in addressing contemporary global challenges, he said.

A final text designates 20 July as World Chess Day . . .

Addressing the drafts, delegates warned that clashing cultures are a growing reality in numerous societies, with antisemitism resurfacing and Islamophobia becoming more pervasive.  Libya’s representative pointed to waves of violence, displacement, death and destruction due to increases in violent extremism, terrorism and hatred.  “It is sad to see flagrant and daily violations of human rights,” he said.

They also observed that the international community today is facing more complex challenges undermining the culture of peace than in the past, including religious tensions and violence.  Kuwait’s representative observed that violent extremism is used as a mode of expression on social networks, stressing that the international community must ban content inciting extremism and terrorism.

Also arguing that social media platforms can threaten the culture of peace, Saudi Arabia’s delegate emphasized that using digital messages constructively can achieve the opposite result.  Echoing that sentiment, Ecuador’s representative emphasized that the more such media are used to disseminate hate speech the more people must use positive digital missives to counter them.

Several speakers emphasized the importance of quality education and dialogue as tools to forge peaceful understanding between countries and societies.  Interreligious and intercultural dialogues with faith leaders, civil society and academia are important for building intellectual and moral solidarity, India’s delegate said.  Home to a significant number of practitioners of practically every major religion in the world, his country is a narrative of conversations between different civilizations, he said. . . .

The Assembly had before it two reports of the Secretary‑General on “A world against violence and violent extremism,” (document A/74/195) and “Promotion of a culture of peace and interreligious and intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation for peace (document A/74/476).

Also speaking today were the representatives of Sweden, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Thailand (on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Venezuela, United Arab Emirates, Maldives, Cuba, Morocco, Panama, Pakistan, Brunei Darussalam, Azerbaijan, Canada, Nicaragua and United States, as well as an observer for the Holy See. . . .

Introduction of Draft Resolutions

RABAB FATIMA (Bangladesh), introducing the draft resolution titled “Follow‑up to the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace” (document A/74/L.23), said the text welcomes the High‑level Forum on Culture of Peace held on 13 September 2019, the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration and Programme of Action.  Bangladesh appreciates that the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace continues to find relevance across the three pillars of the United Nations in addressing contemporary global challenges.  It further appreciates that the High‑level Forum provided an opportunity for Member States, United Nations entities, civil society, non‑governmental organizations and other stakeholders to exchange ideas and make suggestions on how to build on and further promote the culture of peace in the twenty‑first century.  Finally, the text notes its support for Member States in promoting the culture of peace at the national level. . . .

KIRA CHRISTIANNE DANGANAN AZUCENA (Philippines), introducing the draft resolution titled “Promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation for peace” (document L/74/L.25), said that the international community is experiencing a growing trend of xenophobia and religious intolerance, underpinned by the politics of identity, as well as the emergence of extremist ideologies.  There was a time when terror was the weapon of the weak against the strong in fights for freedom and justice.  Today, terror is pursued for itself.  It is not a means but the end that terrorism seeks:  a society built on fear where every person is afraid of another.

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Question(s) related to this article:

What is the United Nations doing for a culture of peace?

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This annual resolution is more relevant than ever and has two aims:  to promote interreligious and intercultural dialogue to achieve peace and stability, and to strengthen the mechanism that promises constructive dialogue across the most divergent divides, she said.  The Philippines strived to use the objectives of this resolution by maintaining an open, inclusive and transparent approach during the negotiation process.  An example of this is operative paragraph 9, which appreciates the landmark initiative to open up the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor and welcomes the agreement achieved between Pakistan and India in record time.  The resolution also stresses the important role of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the invaluable contributions of the United National Alliance of Civilizations in promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue at all levels.


VITAVAS SRIVIHOK (Thailand), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that ASEAN continues to advance the vision the association had when it was founded 52 years ago:  to have an integrated, peaceful and stable community throughout the region which enjoys prosperity, lasting peace and stability.  The association’s decision‑making process has been carried out in the ASEAN way:  completed with the consensus of all 10 member countries.  The ASEAN way has worked to expand peace and stability in the region, and it carries out the same process with its dialogue partners to within the region and beyond its borders.

ASEAN continues to engage in meaningful dialogue with its external partners through ASEAN‑led mechanisms, such as the Preventive Diplomacy and Confidence‑Building Measures under the ASEAN Regional Forum, he continued.  ASEAN also supports the Security Council’s women, peace and security agenda and multi‑stakeholder initiatives.  For example, the ASEAN Youth Volunteer Programme helps foster a culture of peace through the active participation of women and youth.  ASEAN believes that the promotion of cooperation on sustainable development also helps foster a culture of peace, he said.

CARLOS RON MARTÍNEZ, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs for North America of Venezuela, said that building and strengthening a culture of peace calls for real commitment from the international community.  This must go beyond occasional speeches to real action.  Achieving solidarity with the most vulnerable people is essential in this regard.  “We must understand each other and recognize each other without judging each other,” he added.  A world of peace will only be possible when social justice, health, food and dignity are accessible to all people regardless of their social class, gender or any other construct.  Venezuela rejects xenophobia and discrimination.

Political will and dialogue without exclusion and under equal conditions will allow people to feel like real actors of change in the world, he continued. Venezuela has made major contributions to multilateralism, cooperation and solidarity.  This has been recognized by various States, social movements and academics.  The country remains involved in initiatives that promote economic solidarity, self‑determination and peaceful coexistence.  Venezuela is also dedicated to establishing a judicial system that strengthens peace, integrity and the rule of law.  He condemned the illegal implementation of unilateral coercive measures by the United States against his country.  “They are criminal and inhumane collective punishment,” he said, demanding such measures be lifted immediately. . . .

AHMED NASIR (Maldives) said that education is a key element in cultivating and nurturing a culture of peace.  Despite much progress in that regard, there are still some 262 million children worldwide who do not go to school.  Inequality remains one of the biggest obstacles to creating a culture of peace.  For decades, Maldivians who lived in islands outside of the greater Malé region have not had the same level of development or access to the same basic resources.  They have not been accorded the same level of priority in policymaking circles.  The current Government is committed to implementing a decentralization policy aimed at rectifying this.  The Declaration and Programme of Action on a culture of peace rightly identifies Governments, civil society, media and individuals as key actors for its effective implementation.  Moreover, he said that without adequate regulation, social media has become a tool to spread populist rhetoric, political extremism, racism, xenophobia and falsehoods.  “We call on social media companies to take more responsibility, especially in monitoring divisive content,” he said.

Mr. ALMABROK (Libya) said the world is witnessing waves of violence, displacement, death and destruction, due to an increase of violent extremism, terrorism and hatred.  The root causes are poverty, unemployment, impunity and marginalization. “It is sad to see flagrant and daily violations of human rights,” he said, calling on all countries to work together to provide greater resources and the courage to put an end to these violations.  Peace can only exist where there is justice.  He expressed concern that unregulated social media is exposing young people to extremist ideology.  Member States should demonstrate a collective will to resolve conflict and war and refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign States.  Respect for cultural and religious diversity is also important.

ANA SILVIA RODRÍGUEZ ABASCAL (Cuba), warning that the world today produces more bullets than books, stressed that so long as nuclear deterrence is used as a method to contain war, human beings will not enjoy a culture of peace.  There can be no peace without full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States and the self‑determination of peoples.  The use of unilateral coercive measures as a foreign policy tool must cease.  Ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba would be an action in favor of peace.  There is no culture of peace when the United States launches a new slander campaign to discredit Cuba, she stressed. . . .

YASHAR ALIYEV (Azerbaijan) said that the Baku Process has proved itself as one of the leading international platforms to foster dialogue and cultural diversity.  Its important role was emphasized by the Secretary‑General in his report to the Assembly’s seventy‑second session and most recently, in the outcome documents of the eighteenth Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Non‑Aligned Movement, held on 25 to 26 October in Azerbaijan.  An integral part of the Baku Process is the World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, organized biennially by Azerbaijan since 2011 in partnership with UNESCO, the Alliance of Civilizations, the World Tourism Organization, the Council of Europe and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.  The fifth World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, which took place this May in Baku, focused on dialogue as an instrument for action against discrimination, inequality and violent conflict.  In November, Azerbaijan hosted the second Summit of World Religious Leaders, which drew participants from about 70 countries, and adopted the Baku Declaration at its outcome.  The outcome emphasized the role of religious leaders in promoting inter-religious and intercultural dialogue. . . .

UN commemorates International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People


An article from the United Nations

The United Nations has underlined its unwavering commitment to the Palestinian people in their ongoing struggle to achieve self-determination, independence and sovereignty.

(Click on image to enlarge and to read caption)

Senior officials joined ambassadors and other representatives from the international community in New York on Wednesday to commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, officially observed each year on 29 November.

Established in 1977, it marks the day in 1947 when the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution partitioning Palestine into an Arab State and a Jewish State.

No alternative to two-state solution

Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains one of the most intractable challenges facing the international community, UN Secretary-General António Guterres observed in his message for the day. 

As there is no viable alternative to the two-State solution, he called on both sides, and their supporters, to work towards restoring faith in the process.

“Only constructive negotiations between the parties, in good faith, with support from the international community and adhering to long-standing United Nations resolutions and long-agreed parameters, will bring about a just and durable solution, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states”, the UN chief said.

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Question related to this article:

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

How can a culture of peace be established in the Middle East?

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“What is needed, first and foremost, are leadership and political will. The efforts of civil society and those on all sides who seek to bridge the gap between Israelis and Palestinians also need to be supported.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said his people have endured more than 70 years of tragedies and crises, yet remain steadfast.

“Despite decades of disappointment and setbacks, we remain committed to a multilateral order that respects and ensures respect for international law,” he said in a message read by Palestinian Permanent Observer to the UN, Riyad Mansour.

“The State of Palestine will continue engaging in efforts aimed to advance the rule of international law, including through the building of our national institutions, spreading the culture of peace and empowering our people, especially women and youth.”

Humanitarian support vital

The roughly eight million Palestinians live primarily in territory occupied by Israel, but also across the Middle East in countries such as Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

UN General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande called for action to ensure critical humanitarian support.

“This must be tackled by strengthening the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), to ensure that it can meet the humanitarian needs of over 5.4 million Palestinian refugees. It is important that we collectively safeguard the Agency against the political and financial challenges it faces,” he said.

Niang Cheikh, Chair of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, maintains hope that the two-State solution will be realized.

“Despite all the contrary winds, this day will come and we will then celebrate the realization of a just peace in the interest of the Palestinians and indeed all the peoples of the region,” he stated.

Biennale of Luanda: Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace 18-22 September


An article from UNESCO

The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, will open the 5-day Biennale of Luanda that will take place from 18 to 22 September in the capital of Angola, with the participation of representatives of governments, civil society and international organizations, as well as artists and scientists from the African continent and diaspora.


The Director-General will take part in the opening of the Biennale alongside João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenco, President of Angola, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, President of Mali, Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, and Denis Mukwege, 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

The presidents of Republic of the Congo, and Namibia are also scheduled to attend the 1st edition of the Luanda Biennale, which will be organized around three main axes:

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(Click here for a French version of this article or here for a Spanish version of this article)

Question related to this article:

Will UNESCO once again play a role in the culture of peace?

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Partners’ Forum, Alliance for Africa: Created by UNESCO last year, the Alliance mobilizes donors, public and private sector companies, regional and international organizations around sustainable development projects in Africa targeting a wide range of areas in UNESCO’s mandate including heritage preservation and support for free and pluralistic media.

Forum of Ideas – Youth and Women’s Forums: three platforms of reflection on the future of Africa, focusing on the dissemination of good practices and solutions for the prevention of crises, and the resolution and attenuation of conflicts;

Festival of Cultures: showcasing the cultural diversity of African countries and the African diaspora.

Born of a partnership between Angola, the African Union and UNESCO, the Forum is designed to promote the prevention of violence and the resolution of conflicts by facilitating cultural exchanges in Africa and the African diaspora, and connect organizations and actors working on this field throughout the Continent. It is to nurture reflection and facilitate the dissemination of artistic works, ideas and knowledge pertaining to the culture of peace. It is inspired by the 2006 Charter for African Cultural Renaissance.

During her visit to Angola, the Director-General of UNESCO will also sign a partnership agreement for the establishment of national doctoral programme in science, technology and innovation, aimed at training 160 doctoral candidates by 2020. The project is part of a wider partnership to strengthen Angola’s education, science, and cultural capacities.

More about the Forum:

Twenty Years of the Culture of Peace: On the Road to Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals


An article from the International Peace Institute

On September 12th, IPI together with the Al-Babtain Cultural Foundation cohosted a policy forum entitled “Twenty Years of the Culture of Peace: On the Road to Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.”


In 1999 the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace (Resolution 53/243) calling for a transition from a culture of war to a culture of peace. Twenty years later, international actors and analysts are increasingly looking at what makes a society peaceful and how we can sustain it. The 1999 declaration identified political, economic, environmental, educational, and health-related components to the culture of peace, presaging the holistic approach agreed to in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

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Question(s) related to this article:

What is the United Nations doing for a culture of peace?

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This event served as a kick-off to the 20th-anniversary celebration of the adoption of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace. It allowed participants to reflect on and discuss the connections between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the culture of peace ahead of the forum. Speakers examined these linkages in order to advance the culture of peace at the multilateral level and, in turn, help to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs.

Opening remarks:

H.E. Ms. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the UN General Assembly

Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Founder of the Global Movement for The Culture of Peace (GMCoP) and Former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the UN


H.E. Mr. Masud Bin Momen, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN

Ms. Jimena Leiva Roesch, Senior Fellow, International Peace Institute


Dr. Adam Lupel, Vice President, International Peace Insitute

UN General Assembly celebrates 20 years of promoting a culture of peace


An article from UN News

Just as the greatest global challenges cannot be solved by a single country, peace cannot be pursued in isolation, outgoing UN General Assembly President María Fernanda Espinosa said on Friday [September 13].

Ms. Espinosa was speaking at a high-level forum to mark the 20th anniversary of the General Assembly’s adoption of a Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace.

“Because peace is more than the absence of war, it needs constant nurturing through the pursuit of dignity and equality, of human rights and justice, of respect and understanding, and of cooperation and multilateralism”, she said.

As UN Chef de Cabinet Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti pointed out, although peace is at the heart of the work of the United Nations, it is something that must be addressed daily.

“A culture of peace is inseparable from human rights, respect for diversity, and fairer societies,” she said.

“One main challenge as we strive to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals is to build more preventive and inclusive approaches that ensure the participation of women, young people and vulnerable, marginalized and non-represented groups.”

The Chef de Cabinet said working to achieve peace not only covers traditional notions of security but also challenges such as social injustice, the normalization of hate speech, terrorism, violence against women, and conflict.

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Question(s) related to this article:

What is the United Nations doing for a culture of peace?

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Leymah Gbowee from Liberia knows many of these issues first-hand. She won the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for her role in uniting Christian and Muslim women to help end her country’s 14-year civil war.

She said peace is seen as the absence of bad, rather than the presence of good. However, instead of being “a fairytale of bland happiness”, she views it as quite radical.

“If we dig a little deeper into what a culture of peace actually looks like, it pushes us beyond understanding peace as the absence of conflict and being a positive state itself”, Ms. Gbowee told the gathering.

“A culture of peace creates an environment where people thrive and have their needs met. It looks like a population of satisfied people: healthy children, educated children, a functional health system, responsive justice structure, an empowered, recognized, appreciated and fully compensated community of women; food on the table of every home, and a lot more. It is the full expression of human dignity.”

The high-level commemorative event marked Ms. Espinosa’s final session presiding over the General Assembly, where all 193 Member States have equal representation.

In her goal to bring the UN’s main deliberative and policy-making organ closer to everyday people, she chose the traditional ruler of the Ashanti people of Ghana to deliver the keynote address: a historic first.

Representing a kingdom that has existed since the 17th century, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II ascended the podium wearing kente cloth and accompanied by two praise-singers.

He highlighted some of the UN’s accomplishments in preserving global security: for example, staving off nuclear war and preventing conflict between nations. However, as he observed, the landscape today is different.

“Warfare is no longer the threat we face from states; it is now a danger we face on a daily basis from our citizens and from all quarters. This new threat comes on the heels of an unprecedented trust deficit in political leadership at the national level. The effect of this trust deficit is to erode the capacity of political leaders to rally their people to coalesce around national interests. The consequence for peace and security cannot be overstated”, he said.

The Ashanti leader called for a new partnership between elected authorities and traditional governance, in the spirit of authentic collaboration.

Kazakh capital to host 2019 UNWTO Urban Tourism Global Summit on SDGs


An article from The Astana Times

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the Nur-Sultan Akimat (city administration) will organise the eighth UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism under the Smart Cities, Smart Destinations theme in the Kazakh capital Oct. 9-12. The summit will contribute to the UN New Urban Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The summit will bring together representatives from national tourism administrations, city authorities and related stakeholders to exchange expertise and set a shared vision to advance urban tourism. Participants will discuss sustainability, accessibility, innovations and inclusion of tourism in the urban agenda contributing to the progress of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. The gathering will focus specifically on Goal 11, which is to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

“According to the UN, in 2015, 54 percent of the world’s population lived in urban areas and, by 2030, this share is expected to reach 60 percent. Along with other key pillars, tourism constitutes a central component in the economy, social life and the geography of many cities in the world and is, thus, a key element in urban development policies… Tourism is intrinsically linked to how a city develops itself and provides more and better living conditions to its residents and visitors,” reported the summit’s website emphasising the importance of the chosen topic.

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Question related to this article:

How can tourism promote a culture of peace?

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The summit will focus on how developing smart cities can address urban challenges. The participants will discuss sustainability, accessibility, urban management, innovation and technology, stressing the importance of including tourism in the wider city agenda as a contributor to inclusive, resilient and sustainable urban development.

During the summit’s first day, the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) will give a masterclass on trends in the convention industry, focusing on topics such as how to be a successful destination for meetings and organise sustainable meetings.

The second day will start with an opening ceremony including Nur-Sultan Akim (Mayor) Altai Kulginov, Kazakh Prime Minister Askar Mamin, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili and other higher officials. The participants will adopt the Smart Cities, Smart Destinations Declaration. This will be followed by the mayors’ meeting, where “mayors from around the world will share insights on how to translate a smart city into a smart destination,” and other panel sessions and on the topic.

The summit’s last day will be dedicated to innovative and technological solutions in tourism, the role of public and private partnerships in technologies to develop the sphere and urban destinations’ accessibility through “increased awareness of the opportunities it brings and the emergence of new innovative solutions.”

The decision to have the event in Nur-Sultan was made at the seventh UNWTO Global Summit in Seoul last year. UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili and the then Nur-Sultan Akim (Mayor) Bakhyt Sultanov signed April 5 an agreement at the UNWTO Mayors Forum for Sustainable Urban Tourism in Lisbon, where the akim presented information about Nur-Sultan’s infrastructure.

The UNWTO is responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism around the world. It promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability and offers leadership and support to advance knowledge and tourism policies worldwide. The organisation has 158 member countries, six associate members and more than 500 affiliate members.

The UNWTO Global Summit is designed to encourage new approaches to tourism and its impact on urban destinations. Previously, the event took place in Seoul (2018), Kuala Lumpur (2017), Luxor (2016), Marrakesh (2015), Barcelona (2014), Moscow (2013) and Istanbul (2012).