(Delayed for technical reasons.)
Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message, delivered by Edmond Mulet, Chef de Cabinet, to the high-level forum on the Culture of Peace, in New York on 1 September:
I welcome this timely and important forum. A quarter century since the United Nations General Assembly adopted the landmark Declaration and Programme of Action for a Culture of Peace, the values of understanding, dialogue and respect for human rights are needed more than ever.
United Nations Member States have committed in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to improve well-being for all people, everywhere. To achieve this objective, it is essential that we work together to deepen mutual respect and understanding among nations, cultures and faiths. In our globalized and rapidly changing world, where people in too many places are threatened by terrorism, violent extremism and bigotry, we need to prioritize building a culture of peace.
The 17 universal, integrated and indivisible Sustainable Development Goals encapsulate all the key features in the eight action areas of the United Nations Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace. With their focus on people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnerships, they pave the way for more inclusive, equitable and peaceful societies.
A culture of peace and sustainable development are two sides of the same coin. This recognition is expressed in the theme of this year’s International Day of Peace, which will be observed on 21 September. The Sustainable Development Goals are, indeed, building blocks for peace. And one of the key foundation stones is Sustainable Development Goal 16, which stipulates the indispensability for sustainable development of peace, stability, human rights and effective governance based on the rule of law.
In our quest for a peaceful, prosperous future, young people must be a priority. It is imperative that we respect their rights, dignity and aspirations and that we invest in providing the opportunities they need to thrive. Today’s change makers and tomorrow’s leaders need to be empowered to champion the culture of peace. The creativity and potential of the world’s young women and men are immeasurable. Let us not waste it. Instead, let us harness it for the benefit of all.
We have a collective responsibility to work together to provide peace, dignity, prosperity and opportunity on a healthy planet for this generation and those to come. We have a blueprint for action and 15 years to achieve our goals. Let us waste no time in building a culture of peace where the human rights and dignity of every woman and man are respected, and the bonds of solidarity are strengthened. That way, we can make the Sustainable Development Goals real for all people. I wish you a successful forum.