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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations

Philippine Statement
By
H.E. LAURO L. BAJA, Jr.
Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations


Interfaith Cooperation for Peace

in Plenary of the
Sixtieth Session of the UN General Assembly
New York, 20 October 2005

Mr. President,

Allow me to reiterate the felicitations of my delegation on your election as President of this historic session of the General Assembly. We pledge our full cooperation to you and the members of the General Committee.

The Philippines is gratified to note that the world leaders through paragraph 144 of the 2005 World Summit Outcome "reaffirm the Declaration and the Program of Action on a Culture of Peace as well as the Global Agenda for Dialogue among Civilizations and its Program of Action adopted by the General Assembly and the value of different initiatives on dialogue among cultures and civilizations, including the dialogue on interfaith cooperation". The Summit Outcome also "requests the Secretary-General to explore enhancing implementation mechanisms and to follow up on these initiatives."

In order to assist efforts "to explore implementation mechanisms and to follow up on these initiatives," the Philippines is pleased to introduce, on behalf of the other sponsors, draft resolution A/60/L.4 entitled "Promotion of interreligious dialogue and cooperation for peace." The draft resolution updates last year's resolution A/RES/59/23 by embodying new elements reflecting factual developments that have transpired since the General Assembly's adoption by consensus last year of the Philippine-initiated resolution entitled "Promotion of interreligious dialogue."

Several significant developments have since taken place which endorsed the importance of interreligious dialogue and cooperation for the promotion of peace. My delegation would like to mention some of them:

Albania hosted last December the Tirana Summit on Inter-Religious and Inter-Ethnic Dialogue in South-East Europe participated in by 13 leaders of the region. The regional summit adopted the Tirana Summit Declaration.

A Conference on Religion in Peace and Conflict: Responding to Fundamentalism and Militancy was held last April in Melbourne, Australia. The representatives of 15 countries from Southeast Asia and the Pacific Region adopted the Melbourne Declaration.

The Second South Summit of the 132 member countries of the Group of 77 which took place in Qatar last June adopted the Doha Declaration in which the leaders "recognize that the respect for religious and cultural diversity in an increasingly globalizing world contributes to international cooperation, promotes enhanced dialogue among religions, cultures and civilizations, and helps to create an environment conducive to exchange of human experience."

The Foreign Ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement also met in Doha last June and adopted the NAM Ministerial Declaration. They "expressed the view that the promotion of a culture of peace, dialogue among civilizations and inter-religious cooperation are some of the significant measures and approaches that could contribute towards international peace, security and harmony…"

Another significant development was the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) on Interfaith Dialogue held in Bali, Indonesia, on 21-22 July 2005 on the theme "Building Interfaith Harmony within the International Community." ASEM is made up of the EU Member States and Southeast and Northeast Asian countries. The Bali Declaration acknowledged "the importance of interfaith dialogue and cooperation among UN initiatives in promoting the culture of peace, the inclusion of interfaith studies in post-elementary curricula, the education of grassroots communities on pluralism and diversity, the need for close cooperation between government and civil society sectors to share best practices and promote interfaith dialogue and cooperation, and the need to combat corruption in all its forms".

The tripartite Conference on Interfaith Cooperation for Peace was held last June here in the United Nations, sponsored by 16 governments, UNDESA, UNESCO, the World Bank and the Committee of 110 Religious NGOs accredited with the UN. The outcome of this historic conference was circulated as General Assembly document A/60/269, which I commend for transmittal to capitals, to afford them the opportunity to consider the conclusions and recommendations of that conference.

The ASEAN Regional Forum, the only security-oriented organization in Asia, adopted a Ministerial Statement on 29 July 2005 in Vientianne. "The Ministers welcomed the enhancement of inter-faith dialogues aimed at promoting mutual understanding and trust among people in the region, such as the Conference on Interfaith Cooperation for Peace, the Dialogue on Interfaith Cooperation in Yogyakarta and the ASEM Interfaith Dialogue in Bali, Indonesia."

At the margins of the world summit last month, an Informal Meeting of Leaders on Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace was held here in the United Nations on 13 September 2005. The 15 participating leaders adopted a Declaration highlighting the mutually inclusive and mutually reinforcing inter-religious, inter-cultural and inter-civilizational initiatives, all designed to promote peace at the local, national, regional and international levels. This informal summit on interfaith cooperation was followed by the Security Council Summit on 14 September 2005, chaired by the President of the Philippines, which adopted resolution 1624 calling upon all States "to continue international efforts to enhance dialogue and broaden understanding among civilizations, in an effort to prevent the indiscriminate targeting of different religions and cultures."

There are equally significant initiatives at the regional and international levels such as Pakistan's Enlightened Moderation endorsed by the Organization of Islamic Conference, the Congress of World and Traditional Religions hosted by Kazakhstan, the 2006 World Summit on Christian-Muslim Relations to be held in Senegal, and the Alliance of Civilizations launched by the Secretary-General last July.

Mr. President,

These developments are eloquent affirmations of the value of the draft resolution, which I commend for adoption by consensus. It takes into account the growing universal clamor for dialogue to avert misunderstanding and conflicts. The draft resolution takes a step forward by recognizing the mutually inclusive and mutually reinforcing linkages of the various interreligious, inter-cultural and inter-civilizational initiatives for the promotion of peace. It also invites the Secretary-General to submit a report on ways to strengthen linkages and focus more on practical actions in the implementation of initiatives on interreligious dialogue and cooperation for peace. We are confident that the various interreligious, intercultural and inter-civilizational initiatives will grow into a process or mechanism for conflict prevention and for pacific settlement of disputes, a mechanism against terrorism and a mechanism for peace.

Thank you.









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