At the 18th NAM Summit held in Baku in October 2019, NAM Member States reiterated the establishment of a peaceful international order. The Baku Declaration Final Outcome Document recognized that “solidarity, the highest expression of respect, friendship and peace among States, is a broad concept encompassing the sustainability of international relations, the peaceful coexistence, and the transformative objectives of equity and empowerment of developing countries, whose ultimate goal is to achieve the full economic and social development of their peoples”.
In accordance with these ideals, the Non-Aligned Movement has welcomed the recognition of commemorating 2019-2028 as Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace. The recognition took place during the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit held at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 24 September 2018 in honour of the birth centenary of Nelson Mandela. UN General Assembly Resolution A/Res/73/1 formalised the recognition.
In accordance with the UN Res. 73/1, NAM reaffirmed the significance of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and recalled its fundamental principles that human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, and are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
The Nelson Mandela Peace Summit recognized that peace and security, development and human rights are the pillars of the United Nations system and the foundations for collective security and well-being; and that development, peace and security and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing. The Summit also recognized that respect for the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights – as well as the fundamental freedoms – of all members of the human family is the foundation of inclusivity, justice and peace in the world. In view of this, Res. 73/1 condemns racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance representing the very opposite of the noble purposes of the United Nations. The Res. also states that tolerance of cultural, ethnic, racial and religious diversity is essential for lasting peace, understanding and friendship among peoples, nations, civilizations, cultures and individuals.
Res. 73/1 also recognizes the period from 2019 to 2028 as the Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace and calls upon all Member States to redouble their efforts to pursue international peace and security, development and human rights in the Decade.
By the text, nearly 100 Heads of State and Government and Member States representatives reaffirmed their commitment to uphold the sovereign equality of all States and respect for their territorial integrity and political independence, as well as the duty of Member States to refrain from the threat or use of force. Recognizing that peace and security, development and human rights are the pillars of the United Nations system and the foundations for collective security and well‑being, the Declaration reaffirmed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“We resolve to move beyond words in the promotion of peaceful, just, inclusive and non‑discriminatory societies,” leaders pledged, as they stressed the importance of the equal participation and full involvement of women and youth.
The Resolution acknowledges that civil society can play an important role in preventing conflicts, contributing to peacebuilding and advancing efforts to sustain peace. A wide range of actors play an important role across the peace continuum, including current and former Heads of State and Government, groups such as the Elders, the African Union Panel of the Wise, traditional leaders, religious leaders, cultural leaders, community leaders, business leaders, women’s and youth representatives academics, sports personalities and celebrities. Sports and the arts in particular have the power to change perceptions, prejudices and behaviours, as well as to inspire people, break down racial and political barriers, combat discrimination and defuse conflict. The Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace recognises that lasting peace is not realized just by the absence of armed conflict, but is achieved through a continuing positive, dynamic, inclusive and participatory process of dialogue and engagement that resolves all outstanding issues in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding, cooperation and long-term vision.
NAM thus recognises the contribution of Nelson Mandela to the promotion of the culture of peace.
By Dr. Ankit Srivastava, Editor