Under the theme of charting “A Credible Pathway to Sustaining Peace,” Miroslav Lajčák, President of the 72nd General Assembly, convened this year’s one-day High-level Forum for Member States and others on Wednesday, to further promote a global culture of peace.
In opening the forum, he underscored three points. “The first is time,” he stated, noting that peace “must be built up – block after block, layer after layer. And this must be done, not by the hands of internationals, but by the people on the ground; the people who were there – in their countries, and in their villages - when peace was not.”
The second, he said, could be summed up in the single word, “simplicity,” saying that “it is around us, every day. It’s in what we do…where we go…how we speak. And if peace is not a part of these everyday habits, then we simply do not have a culture of peace.”
“Hope” was the third element he cited, pointing out that “we have chosen not to accept” the conflicts, terrorism and intolerance permeating the world, which brings “a powerful message of hope.”
Mr. Lajčák spotlighted the 1945 UN Charter saying that peace “is embedded in every word” of the Organization’s founding document.
Moving “from reactive to proactive; from response to prevention; from concentrating on the effects of conflict to exploring the accelerators of peace,” the Assembly president noted that we are “all part of a larger cycle of sustaining peace. Not just in theory. But also, in practice.”
He listed the UN ongoing efforts toward this goal saying that the world body was:
- reforming the UN’s peace and security pillar
- investing more in mediation and peacebuilding capacities
- reviewing the way peacekeeping operations work on the ground
- looking at how efforts for Sustainable Development and human rights have a direct impact on the prospects for peace
- and moving the whole international system towards a culture of peace.
Mr. Lajčák highlighted the need to be thoroughly inclusive, emphasizing that “gender equality is crucial.”
He concluded by quoting the late Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Nobel Lecture, saying: “Peace must be made real and tangible in the daily existence of every individual in need.”