By ABDULHAKIM SHERMAN
Drawing attention to violence and terrorism affecting many parts of the world, the President of the United Nations General Assembly today underscored that importance of promoting a global culture of peace.
“On a more micro-level, tensions between communities, high levels of xenophobia and day to day violence against women and girls, is also causing great damage to our societies,” President Mogens Lykketoft told a high-level forum on the ‘Culture of Peace’ in the General Assembly, at UN Headquarters in New York.
He added that improving the UN’s capacity to conduct peace operations and to sustain peace is as important to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted last year, as it is to mitigating crises around the world.
Mr. Lykketoft convened the one-day meeting on the occasion of the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace.
And it brought together representatives from UN Member States, UN system entities, civil society, media, the private sector and others with an interest in exchanging ideas and suggestions on ways to build and promote the ‘Culture of Peace,’ and to highlight emerging trends that impact its implementation.
The first such forum on the ‘Culture of Peace’ was held in September 2012, and recognized the need for continual support to the further strengthening of the global movement to promote the ‘Culture of Peace.’
In his remarks, the Assembly’s President said that while people around the globe are getting ever-more connected as a result of migration, trade, tourism and urbanization, societies remain plagued by inequality, prejudice, intolerance and conflict.
“Media is often being seized as a vehicle for divisiveness and incitement to hatred and violent extremism,” he said, adding that religion and belief are being used as the justification for violent extremism, incitement to violence and deliberate destruction of cultural heritage.
Mr. Lykketoft emphasized that the challenge facing the UN and its membership is building a culture of peace and non-violence in spite of the multitude of challenges.
“The UN is both a reflection of the world as it is and as we want it to be,” he said, calling on stakeholders to discuss and identify concrete ways to strengthen intercultural and interreligious dialogue and the role that the UN can play to that effect.
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