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Statement by H.E. Mr. Mohan Pieris, at the High-level Forum High-level forum on the theme: Promoting a Culture of Peace in the digital era

Thursday, 31 August 2023
H.E. Mr. Mohan Pieris
New York

Statement by H.E. Mr. Mohan Pieris, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka
to the United Nations
at the High-level Forum High-level forum on the theme:
Promoting a Culture of Peace in the digital era

31st August 2023

Considering the limitless outreach digital Technology has presented to us today, perhaps imposes on us today, promoting a culture of peace in the digital era is a sine qua non. This is easier said than done as it requires collective efforts from individuals, communities, governments, and organizations as PGA and USG Ryder was pleased to observe earlier this afternoon.

Writings in A book of midnight meditation focusing on seasons of contemplation had this observation to make of the digital culture that prevails. The writer Browning very aptly describes the prevalent Digital culture as follows:

‘The moments of silence are gone. We run from them into the rush of unimportant things, so filled is the quiet with the painful whispers of all that goes unspoken. Busy-ness is our drug of choice, numbing our minds just enough to keep us from dwelling on all that we fear we can’t change. A compilation of coping mechanisms, we have become our fatigue. Unwilling or unable to cut ourselves free of this modern machine we have built, we’re dragged in its wake all too quickly toward our end. The virtue of a society’s culture is reflected in the physical, mental, and emotional health of its people. The time has come to part ways with all that is toxic, and preserve our quality of life.”

How do we do we reconcile these warnings with our indispensable need to use the digital for peace whilst having the full benefit of digital technology that can promote peace, peace for ourselves.

1. Digital literacy and education: In Promoting digital literacy these programs need to educate people about responsible online behavior, critical thinking, media literacy, and respectful communication.

2. Online dialogue and collaboration: Encourage online platforms and communities that foster dialogue, understanding, and collaboration among people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Promote spaces for constructive discussions and the exchange of ideas.

3. Tolerance and empathy: Encourage empathy and tolerance online by promoting respect for different viewpoints, cultures, and beliefs. Encourage open-mindedness, understanding, and appreciation of diversity.

4. Responsible social media use: Encourage responsible use of social media by promoting positive and respectful engagement, discouraging hate speech, cyberbullying, and spreading misinformation. Encourage individuals to fact-check information before sharing it.

5. Digital peacebuilding initiatives: Support and participate in digital peacebuilding initiatives that aim to resolve conflicts, bridge divides, and promote peace through online platforms and technologies.

6. Ethical tech development: Advocate for ethical and responsible technology development that respects privacy, promotes security, and mitigates the negative impact of technology on peace and human rights.

7. Online activism for peace: Encourage online activism for peace by supporting and participating in campaigns, petitions, and initiatives that promote peace, justice, and equality.

8. Youth involvement: Empower young people to be agents of peace in the digital era by involving them in decision-making processes, supporting their initiatives, and providing platforms for their voices to be heard.

9. International cooperation: Promote international cooperation among governments, organizations, and individuals to address challenges related to cybersecurity, online extremism, and digital conflicts. 10. Media responsibility:

Encourage media outlets to prioritize accurate, unbiased reporting and responsible journalism, avoiding sensationalism and promoting peace journalism. Remember, promoting a culture of peace in the digital era requires ongoing efforts and a collective commitment from all stakeholders to create a safe, inclusive, and respectful online environment.

What is the role of social media in peace and in conflict? We are firmly of the view that It can. Social media can also be useful to crowdsource information for conflict prevention measures and enables people to engage their own initiatives for peace and allows for interactive dialogue. The media can serve as a driver of peace in diverse ways: building bridges between people and groups; improving governance; increasing knowledge of complex issues; providing early warning of potential conflicts; as an outlet to express emotions; and as a motivator for action to promote peace.

Srilanka believes that a culture of peace must be the essential foundation of our efforts for peace. Let us join our efforts toward building the unshakable foundations for a culture of peace in this new environment of the digital era. improve the knowledge for conflict prevention and increase contact and understanding between opposing groups.

Thank you.