High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace

On September 14, 2012, the General Assembly hosted a High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace, seeking to advance the implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace. Militarization, weapons proliferation and gender equality featured prominently throughout the speeches and the days panel discussions.

In his opening address, Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon highlighted the excesses of military spending, weapons proliferation and profit, stating that: “$1.7 trillion dollars was spent last year on weapons […] Economists call this an ‘opportunity cost'. I call it a moral outrage […] The world spends almost twice as much on weapons in one day than the United Nations spends for our global mission of peace, human rights and development in one year.”

Ms. Cora Weiss, President of the Hague Appeal for Peace, emphasized the need to recognize women as key agents in building peace and the realization of women's equality and full implementation of UNSCR1325 as essential to creating a culture of peace.

Ms. Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary-General at UN Women, stated that: “gender equality and women's empowerment is critical to the realization of a culture of peace.” And to accomplish this, it must be widely recognized that “violence against women and girls remain one of our greatest threats to peace”.

PeaceWomen Director, Maria Butler, spoke of the importance of demilitarization and gender equality, emphasizing the need to fully implement UNSCR 1325 and ensure women's participation in peace-building. She reminded attendees that the days event must be supported by practical steps to advance the Plan of Action, “our words and our resolutions mean nothing if they are not backed by our actions."