International Day of Peace: Peace Bell Ringing Ceremony

21 Sep 2012

International Day of Peace, Peace Bell Ringing Ceremony
Ankara, Speech by UNRC Shahid Najam

Professor Sadıklar, President of Turkish-Japanese Foundation
Mr. Keisuke YAMANAKA, Charge d’Affaires, Embassy of Japan
Excellencies,
Distinguished members of the press,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure and honor for me to commemorate, together with you today, the International Day of Peace. This Day, which is celebrated throughout the globe, symbolizes the resolve and commitment of the humanity to build and maintain peace and security; emancipate the world from the scourges of conflicts, terrorism, hostilities and wars; and pave the way for sustainable human development.

By ringing the Peace Bell today, we wish to express our intellectual and moral solidarity and articulate our voice with millions around the world who yearn for peace; we pledge ourselves to be a part of the collective reflection on the unconscionable toll- moral, physical, material- which the conflicts and wars inflict upon the societies; and equally importantly, we wish to join in an appeal to the people throughout the world to strife for sustainable peace for all.

This year’s theme of the International Day of Peace is “Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future.” It highlights the fact that we cannot possibly think about building a sustainable future if there is no sustainable peace. It emphasizes that world’s resources must be used for the benefit of society, not to finance wars; to fight poverty; to reduce the risk from disasters; and to advance social equity. Children should be in school, not recruited into armies; people must be provided with the opportunity to develop and be gainfully employed; the environment must be safeguarded; rights of people must be respected to ensure a better world for all.

Last year, global military spending reportedly exceeded 1.7 trillion US Dollars – more than 4.6 billion US Dollars a day, which alone is almost twice the UN’s budget for an entire year. This level of military spending is hard to explain in a post-Cold War world and amidst a global financial crisis.

For sustainable peace, we must address basic human needs and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Beyond the MDGs, we need to develop post 2015 development framework based on equity, justice and inclusive green growth and fully integrating the troika of social, economic and environmental dimensions. The Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in June this year, provided the world with a historic opportunity. Let us join hands, with passion and commitment, to ensure that the Rio consensus leads us to sustainable development, sustainable peace, and a secure and peaceful world for the present and posterity.