Peace, Human Security and Sustainability for People and the Planet

On the occasion of CoNGO’s 75th anniversary (1948-2023), a webinar was broadcast in conjunction with the World Academy of Art and Science and the Human Security for All campaign, who co-sponsored the event.

The Fourth CoNGO Global Thematic Webinar titled, “Peace, Human Security and Sustainability for People and the Planet,” was conducted in English, Spanish, French, and Arabic on 7 September 2023. The background to this ongoing series, and the concept note for this event is listed below:

  1. The Civil Society Summit on Substantive Issues, “Shaping the Future: The UN We Need for the World We Want,” by CoNGO on 8 October 2021, highlighted global justice among all humanity’s significant global critical concerns. The Summit brought together over 1,000 participants worldwide to contribute experience and competencies, share doubts about our current world, and collectively articulate aspirations and proposals we must achieve for the world we want. The Civil Society Summit was rich in outlining concepts and actions needed to shape the future.
  2. As a direct outcome, the CoNGO General Assembly resolved to use the outcome of the Summit—the Synthesis Report—as a substantive basis for CoNGO’s programmatic direction, especially highlighting it in CoNGO’s 75th anniversary year (2023). The assembly agreed to convene a series of six high-level global thematic webinars throughout 2023 to highlight and engage a global constituency on the critical themes articulated at the Summit and to elaborate on the agenda, responses, and actions necessary to implement the anniversary theme: “Defining the Present, Shaping the Future, and Making the Change Now.”
  3. The first webinar (March 2, 2023) focused on social justice, particularly migration, racial, and health justice. The second webinar (June 5, 2023) focused on pursuing global justice and solidarity, particularly realizing Agenda 2030, sustainable development and humanitarian action. The third iteration of the webinar series (August 31, 2023) focused on gender justice, youth, and intra- and intergenerational justice and solidarity for future generations. The fourth webinar focused on peace, human security, and the threats to the security and sustainability of people and the planet. Further webinars will focus on UN-NGO relations in revitalizing multilateralism and addressing the erosion and shrinking of civil spaces for democratic discourse.
  4. The fourth webinar continued what previous webinars explored—engaging CoNGO’s constituency into a deeper dive into the UN Secretary-General António Guterres’s “Our Common Agenda,” including the proposed convening in 2024 of a Summit of the Future, which is projected to offer what is being called the “Pact for the Future.” The webinar examined the UN SG’s Policy Brief on A New Agenda for Peace. The policy brief includes recommendations “to achieve more “effective multilateral action for peace and security, based on international law, for a world in transition.” The policy brief also outlines “an extensive and ambitious set of recommendations that recognize the inter-linked nature of many of the challenges we face. A New Agenda for Peace is framed around the core principles of trust, solidarity, and universality that are the foundations of the Charter and of a stable world. It presents twelve concrete sets of proposals for action in five priority areas.”
  5. The CoNGO Civil Society Summit of October 2021 made the following recommendations that have only gained importance since. “Peace is the basis of all, be it the inner peace of the person, her outer peace with her surroundings, peace among nations, and peace with our environment – our surroundings such as plants, animals, climate. If peace is missing, progress on all the other SDGs is immediately lost… No country, item, or other Goal is as fundamental, as paramount, as peace… All SDGs are interwoven: we must start with peace.” The World Academy of Art and Science understands that a growing sense of insecurity pervades the lives of people around the world. Peace is an essential precondition for human security, but it is no longer a sufficient standard for governing international relations. People everywhere aspire for security at the personal level and the national security that addresses the needs and aspirations of every individual. The concept of Human Security affirmed by the UN General Assembly Resolution includes food, health, economic, political, ecological, community and individual. It’s a people-centered approach that unites all 17 SDGs and the cross-cutting theme that links the peace, security, health, and well-being of humanity with the stability and health of the planet.
  6. The webinar on September 7 took place ten days before the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development under the auspices of the UN General Assembly (also known as the SDG Summit). The webinar addressed the Political Declaration to be adopted by the Summit and contributed to any final emphases. The following are relevant considerations. Paragraph 20 of the draft Political Declaration states, “Sustainable development cannot be realized without peace and security, and peace and security will be at risk without sustainable development.

    We reaffirm the need to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies that provide equal access to justice and that are based on respect for human rights (including the right to development), on effective rule of law and good governance at all levels and on transparent, effective and accountable institutions.” Paragraph 26 of the draft Political Declaration states, “In many parts of the world, armed conflicts and instability have persisted or intensified, causing untold human suffering and undermining the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals. Our efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts and foster peaceful, just, and inclusive societies have often been fragmented, insufficient, and hindered in the current global context.”

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