Statement by H.E. Ms. Rabab Fatima, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN to introduce the draft resolution: Follow-up to the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace (A/74/L.23) under the Agenda Item-15: Culture of Peace
General Assembly Hall, UNHQs, 1000 hrs, 12 December 2019
Madam President, Excellencies,
1. It gives me great pleasure to deliver my maiden statement at this august Assembly, as the new Permanent Representative of Bangladesh. All the more so as it is on the agenda item Culture of Peace. It was 20 years back that as a young delegate, I had the privilege of being part of the core team that introduced this agenda item at the Assembly leading to the adoption of a ground breaking resolution. There cannot be more auspicious start to my second innings at the UN.
2. On 13 September 1999, the General Assembly adopted by consensus the resolution 53/243 on the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace. Through that seminal resolution member states agreed on a Programme of Action to promote a culture of peace in eight important areas which are individually significant, and at the same time mutually reinforcing.
3. That was during the first term of the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Since then, Bangladesh has been facilitating this resolution at the Assembly every year. The ‘culture of peace’ is an integral part of our national agenda for people-centric development, as enshrined in Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s development roadmaps, Vision 2021 and Vision 2041. And we are very pleased to see the inclusion of the culture of peace in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, recognizing the mutually reinforcing role of peace and development.
4. As the original proponent of the culture of peace at the UN, Bangladesh is pleased to see that the concept has grown in prominence and is found relevant across the three pillars of the UN in addressing contemporary global challenges. The growing interest in the concept is manifest in the range of resolutions being tabled under this agenda item over the years. In recent years, we have seen a surge in peace and preventive diplomacy as actively promoted by the Secretary General. The culture of peace can serve as a critical enabler in this regard.
5. This year marked the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration and Programme of Action. On this occasion, the President of the General Assembly had convened a High-level Forum on Culture of Peace. The meeting which was themed on: ‘The Culture of Peace: empowering and transforming humanity’ (the theme couldn’t have been more appropriate), recognized the enduring value of the culture of peace for the full and effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
6. At that meeting, there was also broad agreement for more inclusive collaborations and partnerships among Member States, the UN entities, international organizations, the civil society and all relevant stakeholders, for the effective implementation of the Declaration and Programme of Action. Given that this cross-cutting concept has evolved into a dominant theme in our discourse in the UN, there is clearly a need to further strengthen efforts at all levels to operatonalize it through specific plans and programmes.
7. I believe that the coming year would provide us with an excellent opportunity to do so. Next year, we will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the UN. There are two other landmark anniversaries coming up in 2020, namely, the 20th anniversary of WPS and Beijing +25. These occasions provide us with a perfect opportunity to push the frontier further in promoting a culture of peace in all areas of our work, especially in enhancing women’s participation in ensuring peace and security, and their critical role in achieving sustainable development as envisioned in the WPS and Beijing documents.
8. I wish to take this opportunity to place on record our deep appreciation to all Member States and UN agencies that have actively supported the culture of peace process over the past two decades. On that note, I wish to encourage the concerned UN entities such as UNESCO, UNWomen, UNICEF, UNAoC and UPeace to continue to remain engaged within their respective mandates, in integrating the culture of peace in their core areas of work. We wish to work with everyone concerned in making that happen.
9. I have the honour now to introduce the draft resolution entitled: “Follow-up to the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace” (as contained in document A/74/L.23).
10. The large number of co-sponsors and the adoption each year by consensus, speaks of the support that the resolution enjoys and of its growing relevance to Member States. We sincerely thank all delegations for their active and constructive participation in the informal consultations on the draft resolution once again this year. We also appreciate their valuable inputs, which have enriched the draft.
11. This year, besides the technical updates, the draft resolution included the following updates:
12. First, the draft welcomes the High-level Forum on Culture of Peace that was held on 13 September 2019 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration and Programme of Action, convened by the then President of the Assembly. We need to do some editorial corrections in PP21 and OP17 to reflect the correct title of the forum.
13. Second, the draft resolution notes with appreciation that the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace continues to find relevance across the three pillars of the United Nations, which are interconnected and mutually reinforcing, in addressing contemporary global challenges. This is corroborated by the fact that this resolution has inspired the introduction of a number of new resolutions under this agenda item in recent years.
14. Third, the draft appreciates that the High-level Forum provided an opportunity to Member States, United Nations entities, civil society and non-governmental organizations and all relevant stakeholders, to exchange ideas and make suggestions on how to build on and further promote the Culture of Peace in the 21st century; and acknowledged that the theme for the High Level Forum, “The Culture of Peace: Empowering and Transforming Humanity”, reflected the enduring value of the culture of peace for, inter alia, full and effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
15. Fourth, while recognizing the ongoing activities of UNESCO related to the culture of peace and non-violence and their focus on concrete actions at the global, regional and sub-regional levels, the draft also notes its support for the Member States in promoting the culture of peace at the national level.
16. We sincerely thank those delegations who have already co-sponsored the draft resolution 111, the highest so far. We look forward to more delegations joining from the floor ahead of its consensus adoption shortly. The large number of cross-regional co-sponsors show broad-based support for the resolution.
17. As we adopt various resolutions today under the Culture of Peace agenda, we do so, on the sobering note that our world is still plagued by conflicts, and with various forms of injustice, discrimination, cruelty and inhumane acts, as well as crimes against humanity. We have the responsibility as members of the international community, to protect the oppressed, and end the culture of impunity, by ensuring accountability and justice. That should be our solemn pledge as we renew our commitment to a culture of peace today at this august body.
I thank you all.