Peaceful and Inclusive Societies for Sustainable DevelopmentJun 22, 2018
Speakers today, 22 June 2018, stressed the importance of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development at a workshop titled “Fostering Peaceful and Inclusive Communities in Bangladesh: The Role of Religious Leaders and Actors”, organized jointly by the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Save and Serve Foundation in Dhaka
The focus of the workshop was on the role of religious leaders and actors in Bangladesh in the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 16 on building just, peaceful and inclusive societies. The meeting also focused on how the Plan of Action for Religious Leaders and Actors to Prevent Incitement to Violence that Could Lead to Atrocity Crimes*, developed by the Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect and launched by the United Nations Secretary General in July 2017, could be implemented in Bangladesh
During the inaugural session speakers stressed that there can be no sustainable development without peace, and that peace and inclusivity are essential for peaceful coexistence of different groups in society. They also underlined the important role of different stakeholders in this endevor, including religious leaders and actors
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, in his speech as the chief guest, reaffirmed Bangladesh's firm commitment to peace and development. He stressed the importance of inclusive development embracing all by ensuring rights and equal opportunities. The Minister also highlighted the importance of keeping peace, security and stability in Cox’s Bazar after the Rohingya influx. He further said, “The government of Bangladesh always promotes a culture which respects the freedom of thought, conscience and religion in the country.
Mr. Adama Dieng, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide said ”Building a peaceful and inclusive society and preventing atrocity crimes and their incitement is a multi-layered endeavor that is most likely to succeed when different actors are working collaboratively with the same objective. In this context, while I firmly believe that religious leaders and actors in Bangladesh and the region can play a fundamental role in this regard, I am also of the opinion that political support for their work, at regional, national and local level, is essential. Without this support, they can face many challenges and implementation will be much harder to achieve.” Adama Dieng also thanked the government of Bangladesh for the remarkable work done in responding to the arrival of almost 700,000 Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar. He called on the religious leaders and other actors to support the peaceful coexistence of Rohingya and host communities
United Nations Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh, Ms. Mia Seppo in her remarks said, “Every human being should be afforded in life to enjoy their fundamental human rights in freedom and safety. Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals is dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development. The United Nations in Bangladesh is promoting the implementation of this goal, to achieve this goal everyone including religious leaders have a role to play.
Later, Home Minister Mr. Asaduzzaman Khan in his concluding remarks said “ Peace and development go hand in hand. There can be no peace without development, and no development without peace.” He urged the religious leaders to work together for promoting inclusive and sustainable growth
The first day of the event focused on discussing how religious leaders could help Bangladesh meet its existing international commitments in Sustainable Development Goal 16, with the support of the United Nations, as well as best practices for addressing violent messages and incitement to violence.
The second day will focus on challenges arising from the Rohingya crisis, including the role that religious leaders and actors can play in sustainably addressing the impact of the crisis in Bangladesh.
Md Abdul Quayyum, UNDP, Emailfirstname.lastname@example.org , cell-+8801715025551