– As delivered –

Statement by H.E. Tijjani Muhammad Bande, President of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

10 September 2020




Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to welcome you to the opening of this High-level Forum on the occasion of the 21st anniversary of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace guided by the theme “The Culture of Peace: Change our World for the Better in the Age of COVID-19”.

Let me start by thanking the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh for keeping the culture of peace at the forefront of our agenda.

I would also like to acknowledge Ambassador Chowdhury – founder of the Culture of Peace for his tireless efforts to turn the concept of the culture of peace into an actionable agenda.


COVID-19 reveals and increases existing inequalities within societies contributing to increasing tensions:

Recent estimates of the impact of COVID-19 anticipate rises in extreme poverty and hunger. Difficulties in carrying out vaccinations and community-based health measures also threaten a recurrence of diseases.

The education disruption has a significant impact on poverty eradication, food insecurity, economic instability and sustainable development.

Growing data suggests that domestic violence, violence against women and children, and frontline workers are on the rise.

Hate speech and disinformation, leading to stigma, discrimination and xenophobia continue to increase due to COVID-19.

This pandemic is far from over, and its long-term consequences are yet to be seen. If we can deal with this crisis, we must appreciate that it will also offer an opportunity to change our world, but only if we succeed in building back better in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.


The need for a culture of peace has never been greater.

The Declaration and the Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace serve as a universal mandate for the international community to eliminate all forms of discrimination and intolerance, including those based on race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinions, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.

A culture of peace is more than just the absence of conflict as it embraces the inter-relationships between peace and development. Fostering a Culture of Peace means building global solidarity and cooperation much needed in these trying times.

Moreover, a culture of peace recognizes the role of women and girls in peace and development, including them as an integral part of the development process as well as in the prevention and resolution of conflicts.

An indisputable human right, education is the foundation of peaceful and inclusive societies and a key driver of sustainable development.

Tijjani Muhammad Bande

President of the UN General Assembly


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Article 4 of the Declaration on a Culture of Peace states that education is one of the principal means of building a culture of peace.

An indisputable human right, education is the foundation of peaceful and inclusive societies and a key driver of sustainable development.

An estimated 40 per cent of the poorest countries failed to support vulnerable learners during the COVID-19 crisis.

If no action is taken, we not only run the risk of losing a whole generation, but we also risk failing to leverage a culture of peace to ensure peaceful coexistence as a foundation for sustainable development.


As President of the United Nations General Assembly at its 74th Session, I have championed the promotion of peace, poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and inclusion.

Sustainable Development Goal 4 – quality education – is critical and strongly connected to the issue of peace.

I want to thank you for your active engagement and support.

Even when we disagreed on how the world should be organized to respond to mounting challenges, we eventually come to common cause on the need for a rules-based international order.

Let us commemorate the 75th anniversary of our organisation with reinvigorated national efforts and international cooperation to promote a culture of peace.

We are so much stronger when we are unified in the spirit of an open and inclusive multilateralism.

By striving together, we will succeed in delivering for all.

Thank you.