International Day of Peace 2015 – United NationsPosted: September 24, 2015
International Day of Peace 2015 – United Nations
Wellington, Parliament buildings; 21 September, 2015
Thanks to Peace Action Wellington (PAW) for allowing me to accept the invitation to attend this event, having been extended by Richard Tingey for the UN Association.
As context, I refer to the UNANZ newsletter of August, 2015 and in particular to page 6 under the heading of “Branch reports – Waikato”. The speech of the winner of the local branch secondary schools speech competition notes primarily the egalitarianism of NZ culture and says at one point, “Our egalitarianism was key to our peacekeeping milestones in Afghanistan and East Timor.” This statement seems hopeful at best and I suspect at odds to the opinions of most , though probably not all, people associated with PAW.
A keynote speech was given by Dr. Kennedy Graham, Green MP. Then a panel gave short talks. Two questions/comments came from the audience. I will set down the briefest summary of each (apologies for any misrepresentations, they would come from misunderstanding). I suggest they need to be understood in the context of the history of the UN and of the current program of the UN’s seventeen (17!) Sustainable Development Goals.
Dr. Kennedy Graham – “The Invincible Power of Community Spirit”.
‘Communities’ provide cohesion and the possibility of innovation. ‘Spirit’ is evidenced in thought and action. The ‘global citizen’ is emerging through this period of ‘ferment’. ‘Invincible’? – only time will tell.
Dr. Graham Hassell, UNANZ president – gives the impression that the UN is a serious operation.
Sir Kenneth Keith (former Judge at International Court of Justice) – The law needs to assure freedom of expression. Caution – The UN Development Goals may be too long to be workable.
Mrs. Rosslyn Noonan (former Chief Commissioner at Human Rights Commission NZ) – Treaty of Waitangi gives NZ a good start on human rights. Government policy must address climate change in the Pacific.
Amb. Rob Zaagman (former First Secretary of the Dutch Mission to UN) – The UN is important because it can put multilateralism into practice. Sustainable development and peace go together.
Dr. Jay Shaw (Founder of the Society for Philosophy and Culture) – The philosophical and the search for ‘oneness’ are important.
Dr. Brad Jackson (Head of School of Government at Victoria University of Wellington) – As professor of public and community leadership, he stresses that leadership comes from a sense of purpose and the spiritual, so that ‘distributed leadership’ (ability to ‘delegate’) is what will work, rather than what comes from the strength of an individual personality.
Dr. Sung Yong Lee (Researcher/lecturer of the National Centre for Peace and Conflict) – Today conflict comes more from poverty and degradation. A holistic view in attempting sustainable development is needed to bring a generalized ‘positive peace’.
Francis Kuo (audience) – Where are the means of ‘discipline’ by the UN to apply to those nations who use military aggression? (Kenny Graham reply – The limitation was imposed at the origination of the UN when it acknowledged “nuclear deterrence” as a stabizling force by allowing the ‘veto’ for the (then) five nuclear nations. Practically speaking this could most likely change through the UK and France denouncing their vetoes.)
Robin Halliday (audience) – must address the concept of ‘identity”; will it be local or global?
I didn’t stay for the finish.