By Erin Hampton
We spent the day in the Baha’i UN Offices talking with other member NGOs of the Peace Thematic Cluster in the NGO Major Group, whom are committed to making sure a a culture of peace and nonviolence is included in the work of the United Nations and governments worldwide. Working with members from various cultures and organizations, we deconstructed our vision and mission statements as the Peace Thematic Cluster defining what exactly a culture of peace and nonviolence is, and how to implement it. This led to a deep discussion that confronted various issues ranging from how different countries and cultures respond to disarmament or peace work, to the realities of modern peacekeeping, peacemaking and peacebuilding in today’s world, and our ultimate end goals for the work of the Peace Thematic Cluster.
From this meeting, it became clear that today we are simply attempting to build a statement of truth and take an elevated stance when it comes to creating international culture of peace and nonviolence. It was also made obvious that there are people everywhere who want the world to be a peaceful place and are willing to work towards that. Not only is this a goal for the representatives of the nongovernmental organizations we met with today, but also at the United Nations and in governmental bodies.
For example, the member-states included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), SDG 16, whose focus is to, “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels". Equality and peaceful living for all people is the focus of the Peace Thematic Cluster, all of the members can agree upon that.
During the meeting today, we decided upon a Vision Statement and a Mission Statement. While working for peace, “we envision a world of partnership and harmony and dignity, where everyone and the earth is respected, and the unfolding of the culture of peace across the world prevails.” , and alongside our vision, our mission “is to educate, activate, and accelerate the culture of peace globally by working in partnership with the UN and governments from across the Earth in order to motivate all people toward a more prosperous, nonviolent and harmonious future, and rank peace as the highest global priority.”
After elaborating and settling on our Vision and Mission Statements, we continued the discussion about how to become more interconnected in the NGO Major Group and become more involved in forums and conferences that can give us additional knowledge about how to continue moving forward towards achieving peace.
We will also be working towards creating a Peace Major Group or Peace Stakeholder’s Group, which will interact with high level processes at the UN directly under the guidance of UN staff, instead of having to do so through the NGO Major Group. Obviously, we do have an immense amount of work to do before we can achieve world peace but it is definitely achievable.. As our director here at the New York office of Nonviolence International, David Kirshbaum, said, “our end goal is sustainable peace, development and prosperity for all”.
"Sustainable Development Goal 16," United Nations, accessed April 05, 2017, https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg16.