Peace must be viewed through the lens of security, development and human rights, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said in New York today, advocating an active approach to not only resolve conflicts but also to foster tolerance and understanding.
“When the United Nations was first created, our founders were preoccupied with the security of States,” Ms. Migiro said in an address at the start of a three-day conference celebrating the 25th anniversary of the International Institute on Peace Education.
However, today, “peace and security are no longer viewed only in terms of military conflict, but just as much in terms of poverty, hunger, environmental degradation and human rights violations,” she said.
As a result of this deepened understanding of peace, education for peace has also progressed, she noted.
“What was once a mission to eliminate the risk of global extinction through nuclear war is today a broader quest to build a Culture of Peace,” the Deputy Secretary-General said.
The UN itself has bolstered its ties with non-governmental institutes (NGOs), educational institutions and citizens’ networks, based on the shared awareness that “our work to end war must reach well beyond the mere absence of conflict,” necessitating the “spread of values, attitudes and behaviours that reject violence and embrace tolerance, justice and respect for human rights,” she said.
Ms. Migiro cited the Peace and Disarmament Education Projects, which wrapped up in 2005, as an example of an initiative aimed to “disarm the minds” of children, generating broad support for non-proliferation.
She also stressed the UN’s reliance on its partners in its efforts to further peace education, ranging from conflict prevention to disarmament and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a series of targets to slash a host of social ills by 2015.