UN New Agenda for Peace

On Thursday, 1.12.23, as part of the Parliament’s response to the Secretary General’s call for comments from civil society on the new Agenda for Peace, we called for amending the Charter to repurpose the Trusteeship Council to focus on next generation rights and responsibilities.

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 which the Parliament champions.   It emphasizes our commitment to human rights and clearly defines the Parliament’s mission. It also supports the Secretary-General’s proposal concerning the Trusteeship Council. 

This is an important and unique opportunity for the Parliament to be a global agent of change by promoting peace, the rights of future generations, and care for the Earth.

  • Background on the UN Agenda for Peace

    The New Agenda for Peace will implement proposals included in the Secretary-General’s 2021 report, “Our Common Agenda” given on the 75th anniversary of the UN. In their unanimous UN 75th Anniversary Declaration, UN Member States called on the Secretary General to prepare a new Agenda for Peace in order to “prevent the outbreak, escalation and recurrence of hostilities on land, at sea, in space and in cyberspace and to resolve ongoing armed conflicts…. through peaceful means.”

    The Common Agenda Report is rich, multi-faceted and complex. Its purpose is 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.  

    With this communication, we are responding specifically to the possibility of appointing a Special Advocate for Future Generations and repurposing the Trusteeship Council. (See page 4, fifth paragraph, and paragraph 125.See also Graphic 11 on page 7.) 

  • The Parliament’s Letter to the Secretary General

    The Parliament of the World’s Religions is honored to respond to the call of the Secretary- General for comments by civil society organizations on the United Nations New Agenda for Peace now being prepared by the Secretary-General’s Office to implement the proposals of his 2021 report, “Our Common Agenda” and following up on the UN 75th Anniversary Declaration.

    • 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.” (See Section 125)

    We call for the Charter of the United Nations to be amended as follows to include a new responsibility for the Trusteeship Council: 

    The Trusteeship Council will act as trustee for and in the best interests of future generations, especially with regard to the management of the global commons and such public goods and public risks as are associated with the management of the commons. The purpose of this management guidance and advice shall be to preserve the right of self-determination for future generations and to prevent actions which would foreclose the exercise of that right.

    Under current law and governance, future generations are as disenfranchised as the residents of territories held under UN Mandate at the time of adoption of the Charter, yet they will be affected by decisions and actions in which they have no agency. It should be the new and extended purpose of the Trusteeship Council to serve as Advocate for Future Generations in all UN Actions and decisions adopted under Conventions and Agreements ratified and recognized by the United Nations.

    We believe that the proposed new role of the Trusteeship Council has immense potential to safeguard Rights recognized by the United Nations, especially The Right to a Healthy Environment. The ecosystems that support life on this planet belong to all – including the planet’s atmosphere, oceans, seabeds, wild areas, and the Arctic and the Antarctic. Ensuring the flourishing of these ecosystems for all humans, including future generations, and for Earth, our common home, establishing Peace in the fullest sense of harmony, wholeness and right relationship is a fundamental responsibility of the United Nations.

  • Commentary

    Coming soon.

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Share the Parliament’s Recommendation with Your Network and Join Global Interfaith Efforts

Check back here for more updates as the Secretary General develops the New Agenda for Peace.

Land Acknowledgment

The Parliament of the World's Religions acknowledges it is situated on the traditional homelands of the Bodéwadmik (Potawatomi), Hoocąk (Winnebago/Ho’Chunk), Jiwere (Otoe), Nutachi (Missouria), and Baxoje (Iowas); Kiash Matchitiwuk (Menominee); Meshkwahkîha (Meskwaki); Asâkîwaki (Sauk); Myaamiaki (Miami), Waayaahtanwaki (Wea), and Peeyankihšiaki (Piankashaw); Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo); Inoka (Illini Confederacy); Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe), and Odawak (Odawa).

PoWR recognizes the region we now call Chicago remains home to a diversity of Indigenous peoples today and this land upon which we walk, live, and play continues to be Indigenous land.

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