Tag Archives: United Nations

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

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

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.


© UNESCO

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:

(Continued in right column)

(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?

(Continued from left column)

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: https://en.unesco.org/biennaleluanda2019

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

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

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.”




video

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.

(continued in right column)

Question(s) related to this article:

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

(continued from left column)

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

Speakers:

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

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

Moderator:

Dr. Adam Lupel, Vice President, International Peace Insitute

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

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

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.

(continued in right column)

Question related to this article:

How can tourism promote a culture of peace?

(continued from left column)

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).

A Global Appeal to Save International Law

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION .

An online petition at Global Appeal 4 Peace

“We, the undersigned, demand of our governments in their interactions with all nations – for the sake of world peace, international security and the peaceful co-existence of all peoples – to respect the principles of the United Nations Charter, and to follow and defend international law. We urge them to immediately join this initiative and help redirect the world toward an era of global stability and cooperation.”

To endorse this »Global Appeal to Save International Law« please use the E-mail form here to sign.
 
You can view the complete list of the signatories here: http://globalappeal4peace.net/signatories

[Editor’s note: CPNN has signed on to the following appeal and readers are encouraged to do the same]

Since 1945, the Charter of the United Nations has been the most important contract for relations between the nation-states of the world – the very foundation of international law. Today, however, international law and the structure of a rules-based order that the UN Charter defines are in grave danger.

(continued in right column)

Question(s) related to this article:

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

(continued from left column)

During the Cold War, international law faced many difficult challenges. Throughout that time, a whole series of destructive military conflicts could not be prevented, while in other cases, the UN was able to mediate or de-escalate them.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, there was widespread hope that peace and international law would prevail, but instead, the UN Charter was further disregarded.
 
From the beginning of the 21st century until today, with the dramatic increase of extrajudicial military interventions that clearly contradicted international law, the erosion of the UN Charter has accelerated and the basic principles of non-interference and non-aggression are now openly and brazenly ignored.

Due to this dangerous deterioration of the rule of law, on February 14, 2019, representatives of numerous UN member states gave a press conference at the UN led by the Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, stating that this is the moment to ratify, confirm and defend the peace and sovereignty of nations and the UN Charter.
 
Between July 20 and 21, 2019, Venezuela hosted the Ministerial Meeting of NAM, the Non-Aligned Movement. Founded in 1961 NAM is the second largest multilateral body in the world after the UN, and it is an organization of 120 member states that advocates the strengthening of international security and self-determination, while rejecting interference in the internal affairs of other countries. NAM ultimately adopted a declaration reaffirming the principles of the press conference at the UN led by the Venezuelan Foreign Minister Arreaza on February 14, 2019.
 
This declaration includes respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms for all, regardless of the race, sex, language or religion. The declaration not only applies to non-interference in Venezuela, but also to all other nations facing multiple threats, illegal sanctions and destabilization throughout the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean.
 
This declaration particularly addresses the dangerous escalation of tensions, threats, trade wars and sanctions against Russia, China and Iran. We realize that the erosion of international law and multilateral systems will also undermine humanity’s efforts to prevent catastrophic climate change.
 

 

SADC and United Nations honor Nelson Mandela

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION    

An article in the Jornal de Angola (translation by CPNN)

In recognition of Nelson Mandela’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom of peoples, the executive secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Stergomena L. Tax rendered homage to Nelson Mandela “Madiba” for his realization of peace, freedom and social justice in South Africa and in the consolidation of democracy on the continent and in the world.


Mandela was remembered yesterday, Photography: DR

Stargomena Tax said that Nelson Mandela represents the symbol of democracy and freedom not only for the people of South Africa, but also the southern region of the continent and the world. “After 10 years, the world continues to reaffirm its commitment to honor and honor the man who has done everything for the liberation of his people and for peace in the world,” the statement said.

July 18 marks the date of Nelson Mandela’s birth and was established as the Day of the South African leader in December 2009 by the United Nations General Assembly.

It is celebrated every year around the world as Mandela Day.

The SADC executive secretary reaffirmed in the communiqué the commitment of Africans to honor Mandela’s achievements as a legacy for the preservation of peace, the consolidation of democracy and the sustainable development of member countries.

For his achievements, Mandela received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

Under the leadership of Mandela the South African Government focused on the dismantling of apartheid, combating institutionalized racism, poverty, inequality and promoting racial reconciliation.

(Article continued in the column on the right)

(Click here for the original article in Portuguese.)

Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

(Article continued from the column on the left)

Homage in New York

“With hate speech casting a growing shadow around the world, Nelson Mandela’s calls for social cohesion and an end to racism are particularly relevant today,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said yesterday. “Nelson Mandela was such an extraordinary global defender of dignity and equality that anyone in the public service should emulate,” Guterres said.

As “one of the most emblematic and inspiring leaders of our time, Nelson Mandela was an example of courage, compassion and commitment to freedom, peace and social justice.”

“He lived by these principles and was prepared to sacrifice his freedom and even life for them,” Guterres said. “As we work collectively for peace, stability, sustainable development, and human rights for all, it would be well to remember the example given to us by Nelson Mandela. Our best tribute is actions,” he added.

The statement recognized the period from 2019 to 2028 as the Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace. Mandela or Madiba, as he is affectionately known to South Africans is remembered for his humility and compassion, while acknowledging his contribution to the struggle for democracy and the promotion of a culture of peace.

“Over the course of 67 years, Mandela has dedicated his life to the service of humanity as a human rights lawyer and international mediator for peace and social justice,” he said. In allusion to all the time of his work, Nelson Mandela International Day suggests that each person spend 67 minutes helping others.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born on July 18, 1918, and died on December 5, 2013, and was the first black man to serve as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, elected in a multiracial and fully representative Free South Africa. Although initially committed to nonviolent protest in 1961, Mandela led a campaign against government targets. In 1962 he was arrested, tried and convicted for conspiracy against the Government and sentenced to life imprisonment. Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison.

As President, he established a new Constitution and established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate human rights violations in the country.

Mandela received more than 250 awards from around the world in recognition of his commitment to others.

Several public activities were carried out by United Nations officials and delegates in an initiative organized by the New York authorities.

The Non-aligned Movement must continue to defend respect for sovereignty and the right to self-determination

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

An article from Television de Venezuela (translation by CPNN)

“The Movement of Non-Aligned Countries (MNOAL) must continue to strongly defend respect for sovereignty, the right to self-determination, international solidarity, as well as peace and the development of all peoples, including those who remain under the yoke of foreign domination and occupation, “said on Saturday the president of the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN), Maria Fernanda Espinosa.

In a video broadcast at the Ministerial Meeting of the MNOAL Coordination Bureau, which took place in the city of Caracas with the participation of 120 international delegations, she said that since its inception the Mnoal became and continues to be a strategic partner for the United Nations, by having almost 2/3 of the membership and 55% of the world population.

In this regard, she said that the participation of this body is essential to respond to the great challenges facing society: eradicate poverty, reduce inequality, protect the environment and ensure health, education and decent work for all people.

(continued in right column)

(Click here for the original Spanish version of this article.)

Question(s) related to this article:

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

(continued from left column)

She argued that both organizations agree on the objective of maintaining peace and preventing conflicts, promoting dialogue, cooperation and fair solutions.

She recognized the leadership of Venezuela in this instance for bringing together 120 member countries and applauded that the MNOAL has promoted the declaration of the International Day of Mutilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace, which was commemorated for the first time on April 24 of this year in a plenary session. High Level of the General Assembly. “On that occasion, with your support and leadership, we achieved a clear message in defense of an international system based on the rule of law.”

In addition Espinosa remarked that we live in a critical moment faced with the danger of resurgent extreme nationalisms, narratives of confrontation and threats of the use of force or the imposition of unilateral coercive measures contrary to international law. These contradict the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and undermine the dignity of peoples.

The President of the 73rd Regular Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, described multilateralism and international law as the only formula to achieve a true and sustainable peace.

She said that next September 13, she will convene a High Level meeting on the Culture of Peace, on the occasion of the 20 years of the emblematic declaration and Action Program on the Culture of Peace.

She will continue to advocate a culture of peace and respectful dialogue among nations.

‘Young people care about peace’: UN Youth Envoy delivers key message to Security Council

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

An article from the United Nations Press Service

After visiting refugee camps in Jordan, UN-backed schools in Gaza, municipalities in Kosovo and Youth Councils in Denmark, the UN’s Youth Envoy visited the Security Council on Wednesday [July 17] with a simple message from the field that “young people care about peace”.

However, Jayathma Wickramanayake made clear that “young women and men still suffer from stereotypes, myths and policy panics that harm their agency and affect realizing their full potential for peace”. 

She blamed the susceptibility to being labelled on a “small minority” of young people attracted to extremism and “fueled” by the victimization of youth, “especially young women.”

The principal consequence of framing young people as “a problem to be solved and a threat to be contained”, according to Ms. Wickramanayake, is that it contributes to their “marginalization and stigmatization”. 

Moreover, she flagged that it “detrimentally skews youth, peace and security programmatic responses towards hard security approaches and away from prevention”, while ignoring the fact that “most young people are in fact not involved in violence”. 

Youth, peace and security

The Council first addressed youth, peace and security in 2015 with an open debate on the “role of youth in countering violent extremism and promoting peace”. That led to the adoption of resolution 2250, which, among other things, urged Member States to provide young people with a conducive environment for violence-prevention activities and peacebuilding efforts. 

It also mandated an independent study on youth, peace and security that later served as the basis for resolution 2419, which recognizes the key role of young people in conflict prevention.
 
Ms. Wickramanayake cited these resolutions as important in today’s world of growing terrorism, organized crime and extremist violence, to “make sure that perspectives on youth are not distorted by contagious stereotypes that associate young people with violence”. 

(Article continued in right column)

(Click here for a French version of this article.)

 

Question related to this article.

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

(Article continued from left column)

The youth envoy also addressed the need to protect young peacebuilders whose activities put them in the spotlight. 

“In the past months I have noticed with grave concern, incidents of young peacebuilders and young human rights defenders being subjected to threats, intimidation, violence, arbitrary arrest and retaliation by State and non-State Actors”, she said.

“I would like to recall and remind all of us with great emphasis that ‘protection’ is an integral pillar of the resolution 2250”, she stressed, calling on governments to “uphold and protect the fundamental rights of young people, including their freedom of expression both online and offline”. 

She reminded the Council that the Youth, Peace and Security agenda is being recognized and institutionalized within the UN as “core” to the Organization’s priorities for young people, and that the UN Youth Strategy, Youth 2030, identifies peace and resilience building as “one of its five core priorities for the UN System’s work for and with young people”. 

“With this first-ever UN Youth Strategy, we have set out on a new path and will support young people in all their diversity in accessing education, decent work, social protection and their health, while we will stand with young people when they oppose injustice and will work with them to prevent conflict and build peace”, maintained Ms. Wickramanayake.  

Through this, “the UN System will promote an environment that recognizes young people’s important and positive contributions to peace and security, while creating safe spaces and expanding opportunities for young people”, she added. 

We Are Here

With a nod to the First International Symposium on Youth Participation in Peace Processes, which was held last March in Finland, the youth envoy officially launched the policy paper WE ARE HERE: An Integrated Approach to Youth-Inclusive Peace Processes.
“I hope this is the beginning of a process…for concrete actions to bring peace”, she said. 

Ms. Wickramanayake also announced that Qatar would host the second Symposium in 2020, focusing on young women’s participation in peace processes, which she hopes “will be a good opportunity to further explore the interlinkages between resolutions 2250 and 1325”.

Sustainable peace must be democratized “to include the communities most affected”, she said, arguing that “young people are our best chance in succeeding at that”. 

(Thank you to Phyllis Kotite, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

Youth, Peace, Security Agenda Starting to Make Difference for Young People in Conflict Zones, But Much Work Remains, Advocates Tell Security Council

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

An article from the United Nations Press Service

The Security Council’s youth, peace and security agenda is beginning to make a difference for young people in conflict zones and other vulnerable situations, but much work remains to effectively incorporate their voices, energy and ideas into efforts to build and sustain peace, youth advocates told the 15-member organ today.

Wevyn Muganda, Programme Director for HAKI Africa, a national human rights organization in Kenya, said that, if fully implemented, the youth, peace and security agenda can transform the lives of young people and societies.  She went on to describe her Sundays spent with young people in informal “chill spots”, known in Mombasa as maskani, where she connects with influencers and activists.  She added that her blog, “Beyond the Lines”, has helped to build an online community of peacebuilders and activists.  “[United Nations] Security Council resolution 2250 (2015) has secured me and my young peers a seat in the car,” she said, emphasizing that young people must be at the wheel to reach the desired destination.  She noted, however, that police have been accused of entering these spaces to harass and illegally arrest young people.

Sofia Ramyar, Executive Director of Afghans for Progressive Thinking, said that the bombing of her family’s home in 1995 and life as a refugee in Pakistan led her to work for peaceful coexistence in Afghanistan, with human rights for all.  “I want to assure you that the youth, peace and security agenda is preparing a generation of young women and men in Afghanistan that will lead our country towards peace, development and prosperity,” she said, while acknowledging that hierarchical relationships between men and women, as well as between elders and youth, remain dominant.  “This needs to change,” she stressed.

Jayathma Wickramanayake, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Youth, said “our effort to build and sustain peace needs to be democratized to include the communities most affected”, pointing out that young people provide the best chance for achieving that.  In an increasingly globalized world, Member States must keep going back to Security Council resolutions 2250 (2015) and 2419 (2018) to ensure that youth perspectives are not distorted by stereotypes that associate young people with violence, she emphasized.  With 408 million of the world’s 1.8 billion young people living in contexts affected by armed conflict, “we need to engage young people not only as beneficiaries, but as equal partners in all our efforts, especially our efforts to prevent conflict and build peace”, she added.

(Article continued in right column)

 

Question related to this article.

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

(Article continued from left column)

In the ensuing debate, Council members agreed on the importance of giving young people a bigger say in peace and security matters, with many underscoring the need to address root causes of conflict, combat terrorism and violent extremism, provide better education and dignified employment, promote the rights of women and girls, and address the challenges of climate change.

Equatorial Guinea’s representative, speaking also on behalf of Côte d’Ivoire and South Africa, urged support for national Governments and regional organizations in implementing the youth, peace and security agenda at the national level.  With many young people living in fragile countries, especially in Africa, the African Union attaches great importance to youth inclusion, he said.  Several African countries are working with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to support initiatives for reducing the radicalization of young people, he noted.

Kuwait’s representative said many young people in the Middle East face challenges to the attainment of their aspirations, with poverty depriving them of the right to dignity and terrorism hijacking their innocence.  He went on to highlight progress in implementing the youth, peace and security agenda in such places as Colombia, Iraq and Kosovo.

Indonesia’s representative declared:  “It is time that we transform our youth from a demographic dividend into a peace dividend,” emphasizing that the youth, peace and security agenda is not meant for Council members alone, but for all Member States.  He went on to cite his country’s experience in empowering young people to combat radicalization, including its adoption of legislation integrating youth empowerment into the national development plan.

The representative of the United States said the Council should hear directly from young people more often.  While diplomats spend a lot of time talking behind closed doors, the reality is that young people are driving and setting the political agenda, she noted.  “They are the change that is happening,” working to end tyranny and speaking up for human rights and accountability, she added.

Agreeing that the United Nations must pay greater attention to youth, the Russian Federation’s representative emphasized, however, that the General Assembly, Economic and Social Council and their subsidiary bodies are better placed to address the subject.  Bringing it before the Council does not help the work of the Special Envoy on Youth, he said, warning also that some external players use radicalized youth to overthrow legitimate Governments.

Also speaking today were representatives of the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Dominican Republic, France, Poland, Belgium and Peru.

(click here for the full text of their statements.)

(Thank you to Phyllis Kotite, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

8th Annual UN High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

by Anne Creter, GMCOP

The 20th anniversary of the landmark UN “Culture of Peace” Resolution passage is being observed at the UN on 13 September, at this year’s Eighth annual High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace in UN headquarters. The Global Movement for the Culture of Peace at the UN (GMCOP) is urging global citizens throughout the world to join us during this special observance — to amplify the importance of fully implementing this normative-setting Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace Resolution A/RES/53/243 – NOW — at this perilous time of worldwide existential violence.

The resolution’s evolutionary passage in the General Assembly by consensus on 13 September 1999 was a watershed moment in UN history for it set peacebuilding standards through its many actions in 8 domains, based on the science of nonviolence and peace studies, that when fully implemented will build the culture of peace.

The High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace seeks to strengthen the Culture of Peace global movement, bringing together citizen’s groups, international agencies and governments actively working to build the Culture of Peace. This year’s High Level Forum will be convened by Her Excellency President of the General Assembly Maria Fernandes Espinoza of Ecuador. Bearing in mind the broader dimension and potential impact of the Culture of Peace, the Office of the President of the UN General Assembly chose this year’s theme to be “The Culture of Peace: Empowering and Transforming Humanity.”

(continued in right column)

Question(s) related to this article:

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

(continued from left column)

In addition to the day-long High Level Forum which is broadcast worldwide on the UN webcast – www.un.org/webcast/index.asp, a unique mind-body spirit Day -2 Culture of Peace event on Saturday, 14 September — On, By and For Youth — is being planned near the UN by Pathways for Peace. A universal meditation on the Culture of Peace is also in the works. GMCOP will provide details of these and other observances as they become available. So please stay “woke” and proactive if you want to participate.

Further, we invite you and / or your organization to align with these efforts around 13 September by creating and / or participating in events of your choosing within your community to demonstrate your commitment to the Culture of Peace. Suggested actions could be: mention Culture of Peace anniversary on your website front page, conduct a Culture of Peace workshop, initiate an educational Culture of Peace campaign, advocate with your government officials for Departments, Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace, citing the Culture of Peace resolution as the basis for them.

Pathways for Peace has set up a website dedicated to the Culture of Peace 20th anniversary that is designed to collect all the Culture of Peace actions taken around the world in observance of this milestone anniversary. A world map will be produced from the data showing the range and depth of Culture of Peace activities occurring globally. Civil society is encouraged to provide input to it at this link: www.internationaldayofpeace.org.

In conclusion, GMCOP at the UN is in the planning stages of putting together what we hope will be a fitting and memorable Culture of Peace 20th anniversary observance. Please become involved and join us. Peace is a group effort.

United Nations: More Unified, Early Action Key for Preventing Conflict, Reducing Human Suffering, Speakers Tell Security Council

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

An article from the United Nations

The United Nations should explore greater use of conflict prevention and mediation tools enshrined in its founding Charter, speakers told the Security Council today [June 12], as it examined the Organization’s long-standing culture of spending billions of dollars on addressing crises after failing to contain them before they fester.

“When we act early, and are united, we can successfully prevent crises from escalating, saving lives and reducing suffering – fulfilling the most fundamental mandate of the United Nations, as set out in the Preamble to the Charter,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

Along with successful constitutional transfers of power in Mali and Madagascar, the rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea and the revitalized agreement in South Sudan have created a sense of renewed hope, he said.  Elsewhere, however, such as Yemen, Syria and Libya, serious challenges remain.  Governments must make full use of the broad range of conflict prevention and resolution tools set out in Chapter VI of the Charter and the Council should use its authority to call on parties to pursue them.

Citing examples of his good offices and those of his envoys to help parties peacefully resolve differences, he said members of his High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation have given discreet counsel to him and his representatives on various political processes.  Mediation advisers on the Standby Team have supported processes in Afghanistan, South Sudan, Papua New Guinea and Syria.  The United Nations has also deepened its strategic and operational partnerships with regional and subregional organizations, with a special focus on Africa.  However, prevention and mediation will not work without broader, more unified political efforts by all States.  “That is the only way to meet our responsibilities to the people we serve,” he emphasized.

Mr. Guterres’ predecessor, Ban Ki-Moon, who is now Deputy Chair of The Elders – a group founded by Nelson Mandela of independent global leaders that promotes peace, justice and human rights – warned that the risk of nuclear conflict is at its highest in decades.  Deeply concerned about the United States’ decision to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal, he said there is a very real risk that the global arms control and nuclear non-proliferation architecture is in danger of collapse through neglect, hubris and ill-founded threat analysis.  That issue goes to the heart of the Council, whose five permanent members are all nuclear armed States with a unique and heavy responsibility.

Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and Chair of The Elders, said the Council should be seen as an instrument of deliverance, a defender of rights and a provider of protection.  “But too often over the decades the Council – and, particularly, its five permanent members – has failed to live up to its responsibilities and has favoured realpolitik or short-term power stratagems rather than meeting the solemn commitments outlined in the United Nations Charter,” she said.  Moreover, insufficient attention has been paid to the role and voice of women on the ground in preventing conflict.

(continued in right column)

Question(s) related to this article:

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

(continued from left column)

Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait and Council President for June, speaking in his national capacity, said conflicts today are increasingly complex and intertwined, but they could have been prevented through effective use of such Council tools as Chapter VI, which reaffirms the Council’s preventative role, and Chapter VIII, which encourages the peaceful resolution of local conflicts through regional mechanisms, as well as Article 99 which refers to the Secretary-General’s good offices.  Mediation can save a lot of trouble, sorrow and pain, as well as the billions of dollars spent on peacekeeping operations and humanitarian action.

The representative of the United States, supporting that view, said mediation is an “underappreciated tool” that can save billions of dollars and many lives.  More women should participate, he said, pointing to a study that showed peace agreements are 35 per cent more likely to last for 15 years when women are involved. His own country has been a leader in mediation efforts, he said, citing successes in Northern Ireland and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Indonesia’s delegate said the Organization should focus on helping national and regional efforts to peacefully settle disputes, noting that his country and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have relied fundamentally on dialogue and consultation.  Regional entities enjoy unique bonds of history and knowledge, he said, adding that “neighbours know best” and urging the Council to engage such entities from the earliest signs of potential conflict.  Greater funding and more reliable support from the United Nations regular budget should underpin prevention and mediation efforts.

France’s delegate said that greater investment is also needed in post-conflict peacebuilding, including reconciliation, transitional justice and reconstruction to prevent conflict from reoccurring.

The speaker for the Russian Federation warned that conflict prevention is not a panacea and should not be used as a shield for interfering in States’ internal affairs.  The situations in Iraq, Libya and Syria are examples of the consequences of shameless outside intervention, he said, adding that the most successful mediation in Venezuela is being conducted by States that are not taking sides there.  United Nations mediators should be selected on the basis of objective criteria and with respect for regional balance, he stressed.

Also speaking today were representatives of China, United Kingdom, Dominican Republic, Germany, South Africa, Peru, Equatorial Guinea, Poland, Côte d’Ivoire and Belgium.

(Thank you to Phyllis Kotite, the CPNN reporter for this article.)