Solidarity, Dialogue and Tolerance in a Diverse World: Towards a Culture of Peace
– As delivered –
Statement by H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, President of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly, at “Solidarity, Dialogue and Tolerance in a Diverse World: Towards a Culture of Peace” organized by the Non-Aligned Movement
Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
I want to start by thanking His Excellency, Jorge Arreaza Montserrat, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement.
I am very grateful to be able to address you all today.
We are here to talk about a culture of peace. And we are here to explore how solidarity, dialogue and tolerance can get us closer to achieving it. What’s more, our discussions must be framed by the overarching theme of today’s meeting: “human rights and cultural diversity”.
I will make three main points to start us off.
First, I want to point out that solidarity, dialogue and tolerance are all hallmarks of multilateralism. So too is cultural diversity.
The United Nations is the world’s greenhouse of multilateralism. We only have to look around the room today to see this. There are many people here – representing many diverse cultures – to work towards a common objective, through dialogue.
The Non-Aligned Movement is a major contributor to multilateralism. The Non-Aligned Movement has been active in the decolonisation agenda. As such, it has helped to facilitate the integration of newly independent States into the United Nations system. The group later expanded its reach across all spheres of multilateralism, including global peace and stability.
With 120 Member States, the Non-Aligned Movement is no stranger to cultural diversity. This regional group is a testament to how multilateralism can unite us all in our diversity, and I thank you for that. I’m glad that this is being highlighted, once again, today.
A culture of peace is more than, simply, peace […] It refers to a kind of peace that won’t buckle under pressure. The kind of peace that entire generations can experience. And, the kind of peace that becomes an essential part of a society’s culture.
For my second point, I want to explore what a culture of peace means, in real terms.
A culture of peace is more than, simply, peace. Peace can come from ceasefires. Peace can come when bombs stop being dropped and guns stop being shot. And peace can be lost in a matter of days – or even hours.
A culture of peace, however, is different. It refers to a kind of peace that won’t buckle under pressure. The kind of peace that entire generations can experience. And, the kind of peace that becomes an essential part of a society’s culture.
I firmly believe that, if we take tangible steps to achieve Sustaining Peace, we will advance this culture, on a global scale. As many of you know, I will convene a High-level Meeting on Sustaining Peace on 24 and 25 April. I hope that the ideas and best practices to come from today’s panel discussion can be fed into this meeting.
A culture of peace is not possible without respect for human rights, which are universal in nature. Nor is it possible without solidarity, dialogue, and tolerance, particularly in respect of cultural diversity. I want to therefore thank the Non-Aligned Movement for shining a light on these issues today.
Before I conclude, there is one issue I would like to place particular emphasis on, which is dialogue.
This is a main theme of your discussion here today. And it is a main priority of my presidency for the 72nd session. I believe that dialogue holds the key to almost all of our multilateral objectives. It can foster tolerance and solidarity among diversity. And it can enable us to prevent conflicts, and achieve a culture of sustaining peace.
I want to, therefore, offer my full support to the Non-Aligned Movement, as it seeks to promote dialogue. These efforts can strengthen multilateralism, and bring us closer to a culture of peace.
I thank you and wish you successful deliberations.