14 July 2011
"The View from the University for Peace"
Opening remarks by Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
United Nations Under-Secretary-General
Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva
“The View from the University for Peace”
Palais des Nations, Passerelle, Building E, 3rd floor, Door 40
Thursday, 14 July 2011 at 6:30 p.m.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is a pleasure to welcome you all for this special exhibition, organized by the University for Peace. These photographs, taken by members of the UPEACE community, showcase a variety of peace and conflict situations. The University for Peace has been an important academic and research institution for the past 30 years. And one with which the United Nations has had an extensive tradition of cooperation. I thank UPEACE for this relationship, and its contributions to our Cultural Activities Programme.
The maintenance of international peace and security is at the heart of the United Nations’ mandate. Our Organization works every day around the globe to build sustainable peace. This work is being done by our 15 peacekeeping operations across the world, including the newest, UNMISS in South Sudan, our 11 peacebuilding and political missions, by the UN Peacebuilding Commission and Support Office, by UN agencies, funds and programmes, by partnerships with Member States, non-governmental and regional organizations, by the Conference on Disarmament here in Geneva – just to name a few.
As we grapple with current crises, the United Nations also engages in the critical, yet often invisible, work of preventing the occurrence of conflicts in the first place. Mediation and preventative diplomacy are tools that are employed. We promote long-term efforts to address the underlying causes of violence and conflict. We work to establish strong institutions and tools so that countries can meet the complex challenges which they face. Our work to foster credible elections around the world also contributes directly to our efforts to promote peace and prevent conflict.
We do this work knowing that development, security and respect for human rights are intertwined and mutually reinforcing. Without one, it is not possible to have the other.
Conflict is also a great impediment to sustainable development. Peace, stability and security are therefore essential to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. These factors are critical if we want to slash poverty, hunger, disease, and maternal and child death by 2015. As the Secretary-General has said, “…if we cannot bring conflict to an end, we will not eliminate poverty.”
Ladies and Gentlemen:
As we enjoy this exhibition, let us reflect on the work that is being done around the globe to build and maintain peace. These photos highlight the hope of the world for sustainable peace. Let us all recommit to making that hope become a reality for all.