On Sept 9, a high-level forum on Culture of Peace was held at the United Nations headquarters. With the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals at the verge of being adopted by member-states, including Goal 16 focusing on the creation of peaceful and inclusive societies, the forum aimed to highlight and review the importance of the implementation of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, first adopted in 1999. With this purpose, two thematic panels were held in the afternoon, looking at the Culture of Peace in the context of the upcoming SDGs, and the role media has in its promotion.
In the first panel, moderated by H.E. Mr. Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the United Nations, panelists shared their views on the culture of peace in terms of the new sustainable development goals. Ms. Amina Mohammed, Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning, spoke to the fact that political leadership is needed to uphold global standards of human rights and peace, while sharing positive examples of how communities are working towards this. Her optimistic attitude left everyone hopeful as to the direction these new goals envision. Mr. Federico Mayor, Former Director-General of UNESCO, however, provided everyone with a swift reality check. Describing how 1 in 5 children die from hunger each day while we continue to invest billions in war around the globe daily, he spoke his mind on how we have had very good guidance so far, but a lot more work needs to be done in order to guarantee the implementation of this hard-fought agreements.
The second panel focused on the role of the media in the promotion of the culture of peace. Sharing the understanding that the media is a huge influence on cultural views and political action, the panelists all seemed to agree that the way to create a global culture of peace is by having the media focus less on what “bleeds” and more on the nonviolent everyday heroic acts of common people. As H.E. Mr. Abdul Momen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh, said, “We need to create a mindset of tolerance.” Cristina Gallach, UN Under-Secretary-General for Communication and Public Information, argued that to make this happen we need vigorous free press and a responsible media culture. Ms. Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls, Founder-Director–FemLinkPacific, then went on to express that the media can no longer be about power over people, and how the construction of peace must be a collaborative effort.
This post was created by Danielle Gutierrez-Leyva (Peace Boat US Intern)