Almaty, Kazakhstan

17 October 2012

Secretary-General's message to International Conference on the Changing Nature of Conflicts in the 21st Century [delivered by Maher Nasser, Director, Outreach Division, Department of Public Information]

I am pleased to send greetings to all participants at this International Conference on the Changing Nature of Conflicts in the 21st Century.  I thank Al-Farabi Kazakh University for organizing this event in association with the United Nations Academic Impact.

I welcome your focus on the evolution of armed conflicts.  This issue has direct bearing on the work of the United Nations.  We are continually adapting our peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding machinery to better serve the needs of people in countries ravaged by, and recovering from, conflict.

At the same time, we are focusing on preventive diplomacy, mediation and the rule of law.  These are essential to ease tensions, avert crises, promote justice and establish lasting stability.

The past few years have seen remarkably peaceful democratic transitions in some countries, but in others, hope and expectation have given way to fear and uncertainty. The United Nations stands firmly on the side of people who peacefully demand democracy, dignity, freedom and opportunity.  Our challenge is to help resolve the conflicts that can arise in the throes of change, and pave the way for peaceful transitions based on full respect for human rights.

The academic community has long made significant contributions to our understanding of conflicts and our approach to resolving them.  The United Nations Academic Impact, with more than 850 institutions of higher education in 115 countries, represents an extensive network of educators, researchers and students who can be a dynamic part of the academic community’s contribution to our global agenda.

As a global leader in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, Kazakhstan has sent a strong message to the world about the importance of acting for the greater global good. I hope this spirit will animate your discussions.

I wish you a productive conference and look forward to the results of your work.