By Saroj Jayasinghe –
Activities related to CHOGM 2013 have begun in earnest. The focus of the Commonwealth Peoples Forum (CPF-2103) at Hikkaduwa (10 to 13th Nov) is on formulating proposals on how the Commonwealth could contribute to the United Nation’s Global Development Goals of 2015 (i.e. successor to the Millennium Development Goals of the UN that is scheduled to ‘expire’ in 2015). The CPF-2013 offers a unique opportunity for global civil society and citizens of Sri Lanka, to submit proposals to influence this process and ultimately usher a better globe. In pursuance of the latter, the Hikkaduwa Declaration is proposed for discussion and acceptance at the CPF-2013.
As a gathering of civil society groups from many nations that have been devastated and maimed from wars, invasions, colonisation, and cross border conflicts, the Hikkaduwa Declaration calls the UN to include a Global Development Goal that pledges to eliminate all forms of war from the globe by 2030.
Since the origin of human history, wars have cost billions of human lives. Wars have decimated millions within minutes (e.g. due to dropping of nuclear bombs), destroyed whole civilisations and societies, created millions of displaced populations and crippled billions mentally and physically for a life-time. Furthermore, they destroy environments and whole ecologies forever. In short, wars have the ability to destroy ALL development agendas overnight. As a group of peoples who have experienced numerous invasions, colonization, cross-border wars and conflicts, we in the Commonwealth are placed in a unique position to make stand against any future repetition of such evil acts by fellow nations.
The United Nation’s Global Development Goals of 2015 (which is a continuation of the path taken by its Millennium Development Goals) offers a historic opportunity for individuals, civil society groups, nation-states and humanity to demand and pledge towards a globe free from wars and continue its march towards global peace. This is a prerequisite for any form of development, whether it is human development, social development or economic prosperity.
The on-going discussions on the UN’s post-2015 Global Development Goals focus on conflicts and violence within countries, and gives inadequate attention to wars between countries and global peace. Some of the reports and documents of the Commonwealth and the UN, relevant to these discussions avoid using terms such as ‘war’, ‘invasions’ and ‘cross border conflicts’. Instead the focus of these discussions is on conflicts and violence within nations.
This narrow view of violence and security is despite the fact that wars across borders and invasions promote internal conflicts within nations, lead to a breakdown of the social fabrics, and promote a culture of violence locally, regionally and globally.
The Hikkaduwa Declaration is proposed with the ultimate aim of pressurizing the United Nations to include a goal on elimination of all forms of war from the globe by 2030 in its post-2015 development agenda. This may be the last chance for the millions of innocent victims destined to die from wars in future………..
Below is the text of the Declaration to be submitted to the Commonwealth Peoples Forum 2013.
We, the delegated gathered at the Commonwealth Peoples Forum 2013 on “Equitable Growth and Inclusive Development: Beyond 2015” in Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka, from 10 to 13th November 2013, in the context of preparation of a report to the Foreign Ministers of the Commonwealth,
Adopt this Declaration, to be known as “The Hikkaduwa Declaration” which contains the aspirations and commitments of civil society in the Commonwealth,
THE HIKKADUWA DECLARATION
Emphasizing the significance of the United Nations Post-2015 Global Development Goals which provides an invaluable opportunity to rally humanity towards sustainable global development,
Welcoming the increased attention being paid to peace, security and human rights in the discussions on United Nations Post-2015 Global Development Goals,
Recognizing the contribution that can be made by the Commonwealth to shape United Nations Post-2015 Global Development Goals,
Recalling the statements in the Commonwealth Charter that international peace and security are essential to the progress and development of all,
Convinced that wars across borders, invasions, and internal conflicts, devastate human life, hinder development efforts, and rapidly reverses all forms of human and social development,
Recognizing that wars across borders and invasions lead to internal conflicts within nations, a breakdown in their social fabric, and promote a culture of violence
Recalling that the Commonwealth has pledged to support international efforts for peace and disarmament at the United Nations and other multilateral institutions,
Reaffirming that the special strength of the Commonwealth lies in the combination of our diversity and bound together by shared sensitivities towards wars and colonization, respect for all states and peoples, and concern for the vulnerable,
Expressing the will and the aspirations of all peoples to eradicate war from the life of humankind,
- Endorse the proposals made on United Nations Post-2015 Global Development Goals that promote reconciliation, and measures to end conflicts, violence and human rights violations within nations,
- Express concern that the current discussions to formulate the United Nations Post-2015 Global Development Goals focus mainly on conflicts and violence within nations, and does not give adequate emphasis to wars across borders and invasions,
- Stress the urgent need to recognize the adverse impact wars across national borders and invasions directly have on development, and indirectly through promotion of internal conflicts within nations, a breakdown in their social fabric, and the encouragement of a culture of violence,
- Underline the essential need to formulate strategies and plans towards creating conditions that enable end to wars across borders and invasions, internal conflicts and violence by 2030
- Discourage any attempt to use wars across borders, invasions and violence as a mode of resolving conflicts
- Ensure a positive, balanced and non-confrontational approach in addressing and resolving all aspects of conflicts among nations
- Urge the Commonwealth to advocate to include an ‘end all wars by 2030’ as a United Nations Post-2015 Global Development Goal
*Prof Saroj Jayasinghe – Delegate CPF-2013 from Sri Lanka, University academic and physician – firstname.lastname@example.org