Check against delivery.
Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a halt. We witnessed a resurgence of hate, xenophobia, scapegoating, and scare-mongering. The pandemic also highlighted existing inequalities in societies, especially in access to education, public health, and technologies. However, we also witnessed acts of overwhelming solidarity, global empathy and cooperation. We must strive to build on those.
The United Arab Emirates believes that the potential for fostering a culture of peace is greater today than ever before. Now is the opportune moment to recall and advance the eight action areas outlined in the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace and their interlinkages.
The culture of peace is deeply embedded in the UAE’s DNA. A culture of peace has guided the rapid development of our country, defined our foreign policy, and shaped our relations with the international community. It fostered tolerance, acceptance, and inclusion in our nation – three critical factors to achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
In order to rebuild more sustainable, inclusive, and equitable societies, it is imperative to renew our commitment to the values of the culture of peace.
First, we must ensure that everyone has access to quality education and that curriculums at schools promote the values, attitudes, and behaviors of the culture of peace. Prioritizing education is critical to improve the present, and the future, of our communities. That is why investing in education, with a strong emphasis on girls’ access to education, remains one of our top priorities at home and around the world.
Second, only an inclusive culture of peace can make societies more resilient to complex challenges, including pandemics. COVID-19 has been a stark reminder that we must uphold our promise to “leave no one behind” by empowering women and youth, as well as persons with disabilities, minorities, refugees, and migrants.
Lastly, we must invest in dialogue and social cohesion, including by providing spaces for inter-cultural and inter-faith dialogue. On 4 February, we celebrated the first ever International Day of Human Fraternity – an initiative that the UAE, together with Bahrain, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, introduced in this very hall – to honor the shared values of acceptance, openness, and empathy towards others. Next month, my country will open its doors for Expo 2020 Dubai, which will be a launchpad to encourage dialogue, build bridges, inspire action, and deliver sustainable solutions to real-life challenges.
All of us present at this meeting today may be of different ethnicities, speak different languages, and practice different religions. But our diversity is our strength. When we collaborate and work as one, we can overcome enormous challenges. That is the very foundation of these United Nations.
Today’s gathering is a reminder that the culture of peace must remain at the forefront of our work. The UAE will continue to be a reliable partner in this journey.
Thank You Mr. President.