Statement by Satya Rodrigo , Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka
United Nations High-Level Forum on the Culture of Peace
“The Culture of Peace: Change our world for the better in the age of COVID-19”
Thursday, 10th September 2020. New York.
Convening of this High-Level Forum is timely, as we mark over two decades of work on the Declaration and Programme of Action on the Culture of Peace.
Sri Lanka associates itself with the statement delivered by Azerbaijan on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
At this crucial time, when all countries, are suffering from the ravages of COVID-19 and associated economic and social challenges, the programme of action on the culture of peace is more relevant and vital than ever before.
Facing these challenging times, require consistent commitment, patience, perseverance, and above all, resolute action and consensus building. Undoubtedly peace and the resolution of conflict through dialogue is central for our world today. Peace is not simply the absence of war, but also brings to the table the need to address aspects generating conflict.
Regrettably though, we are living in an increasingly fragmented global environment with conflicts tearing at the very fabric of our societies, and a rise of extremism and violence across the world, now deeply exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. Today perhaps more than ever, we must be guided by the values we share, and a deep commitment to humanity, as a single family.
It is essential to take forward the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as a number of related measures of this process, seek to address many of the issues that lead to inequity, giving way to violence and conflict. As we embark on the last decade of implementation of the SDGs, our collective efforts must be redoubled. In our common pursuit to confront the pandemic, achieve the SDGs and foster peace, there is a need to strengthen and promote multilateralism and diplomacy.
Business as usual will not do, and therefore there is a need to build new and innovative partnerships. Governments, businesses, civil society, academia and people, must work together to find efficient, sustainable solutions locally, nationally and globally. This is perhaps the most defining moment in our era, and it is hoped that the deep sense of “togetherness” of all of humanity at this time of crises, will continue to be pervasive and abiding, as we move forward.
Education is also one of the most precious and effective investments for sustainable development. It is also vital to empower women and girls, and it is crucial to combat the rise of hatred and extremism in order to develop societies based on peaceful values of co-existence, tolerance, compassion and respect for our rich diversity. Experience dictates that peace is integral for development.
The preamble to the Constitution of UNESCO comes to mind which declares that, and I quote
"since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed".
As we mark this auspicious occasion of the Culture of Peace, let us in unison renew our commitment to the ideals laid down in the programme of action, and work with renewed vigor to deliver on our collective responsibility to build a more lasting peace and better future for all our people.
I thank you, Madam President.