Parliament Joins Civil Society in Responding to United Nations New Agenda for Peace
On Thursday, January 12th the Parliament of the World’s Religions announced its official response to the United Nations Secretary General’s call for comments from civil society on the New Agenda for Peace, “Our Common Agenda” an 86-page document that can be read here.
The Common Agenda Report aims to shape the UN efforts to deliver on the “promise of the UN Charter”, and builds on the Declaration on the 75th Anniversary of the UN, in which Member States made several “commitments”:
to leave no one behind; to protect our planet; to promote peace and prevent conflict; to abide by international law and ensure justice; to place women and girls at the centre; to build trust; to improve digital cooperation; to upgrade the United Nations; to ensure sustainable financing; to boost partnerships; to listen to and work with youth; and to be prepared for future crises, including but not limited to public health crises.
The Climate Action Program at the Parliament of the World’s Religions answered the Secretary General’s request by calling for an amendment of the Charter to repurpose the Trusteeship Council in order to focus on next-generation rights and responsibilities in a special statement submitted through UN channels. The letter outlines the following:
- The Parliament of the World’s Religions is a leading international interfaith organization. Our Convenings are the world’s largest and most inclusive interfaith gathering, with an average attendance of more than 8,000 diverse participants. We are guided by our signature document, the historic Global Ethic adopted at our centenary Convening in 1993. Our mission is to bring into being a world of peace, justice and sustainability by fostering harmony among the world’s religions and spiritual communities, and by promoting their engagement with the critical issues facing the world. Human dignity is central to our mission, as is care for the Earth and for all life.
- The Parliament unequivocally affirms that human rights – including The Right to a Healthy Environment and rights of women and girls and of Indigenous peoples – must be central to the New Agenda for Peace. The theme of our August 2023 Convening is “A Call to Conscience: Defending Freedom and Human Rights.”
- The Parliament celebrates the historic recognition by the UN General Assembly of The Right to a Healthy Environment as a basic human right, for which we advocated and which we are now promoting. We emphasize that human dignity and well-being are inseparable from those of the natural world and all its ecosystems and biodiversity, which must be protected and restored.
- The Parliament calls on everyone to bear in mind that the Climate Emergency is a global threat to peace, as climate change intensifies the conditions of conflict, poverty, and social breakdown.
- The Parliament especially and strongly supports the important proposal of the Secretary-General in “Our Common Agenda” to repurpose the Trusteeship Council, as follows: “I invite States to consider making the Council available as a multi-stakeholder body to tackle emerging challenges and, especially, to serve as a deliberative forum to act on behalf of succeeding generations. Among other tasks, it could issue advice and guidance with respect to long-term governance of the global commons.”
The statement clearly affirms the values and goals of the Parliament, especially in alignment with the theme of the 2023 Convening – “A Call to Conscience: Defending Freedom and Human Rights.” It has been recommended by the Climate Action Task Force as it focuses on the Right to a Healthy Environment– a cause that the Parliament champions. It emphasizes the Parliament’s commitment to human rights and clearly defines the Parliament’s mission. It also supports the Secretary-General’s proposal concerning the Trusteeship Council.