At the outset, let me thank you for convening this important High-Level Forum on the Culture of Peace.
In recent years, new dramatic crises have arisen. Others have intensified. Today’s crisis scenarios are characterized by the violation of the most basic rights. Extremism and intolerance exacerbate ethnic and religious divisions, to the detriment of the most vulnerable, of minorities, of women and children. In the face of this reality, peace seems utopian and hardly capable of sewing together the wounds caused by conflict or of starting the process towards reconstruction and reconciliation.
We must, instead, continue to remain committed with determination and concrete actions to promote inclusive political-diplomatic solutions to the current crises; to further promote the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms; to promote the sustainable development of people and societies. The eight areas of the Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace can act as valid guidelines to promote mutual respect and a culture of peace.
Education in human rights, with a particular focus on the education of youth, is essential to spreading a culture of respect of diversity and of knowledge of the other. Concrete investments in education and in culture are necessary to make future generations more and more aware of the need to never desist from ensuring the broadest protection of the rights of every human being against all forms of discrimination and violence. Human rights education means ensuring that the younger generations of our society become informed drivers of change.
In this regard, we commend the adoption of Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security last December. With this resolution, the Security Council addressed for the first time in its history the crucial issue of the role youth can play in the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security. For too many years we thought of youth, and in particular young women, only as victims to be protected by the violence sparked by conflict and war. The Youth, Peace and Security agenda has, nevertheless, added a further dimension, pointing out to the positive and active role youth can play in peacebuilding activities, and the full support the international community and member states must assure to their peace initiatives. During our mandate next year in the Security Council, we are ready to work with the other Countries – members and non-members of the Council — and organizations in order to further develop this agenda.
Participation is the first pillar identified by the Res. 2250, and policies in this area need to be put at the center of international action. This is the first avenue where synergies with the implementation of another crucial UN tool in the field of peace and security, UNSC Res. 1325 on Women Peace and Security, can play a role. Over the last fifteen years the WPS agenda has fostered the involvement of women and young women in peace negotiations, as well as in building new institutions and shaping the future of post-conflict societies.
Indeed, any discussion on the Culture of Peace must include the promotion of women’s rights. This is why Italy, together with a cross-regional group of Countries, will host on September 22nd a Ministerial side event on “Women, Peace and Security and Mediation” to focus the membership’s attention on the importance of having women meaningfully influence peace processes, because this has proved to be instrumental for the effectiveness of peace and security initiatives. Of course, you are all invited to attend.