Peace and sustainability – a symbiotic relationship
Green Hope conference
In a build up to the International Day of Peace on September 21st , youth organisation Green Hope conducted an epoch conference cum workshop on “Peace and Sustainability”. Kehkashan Basu Youth Ambassador for the World Future Council reports.
Our conference was attended by scores of students from different schools and universities, as well as representatives from corporates. The day began with a tree planting session, during which Green Hope members planted over 80 saplings.
Peace supporting sustainability
The conference stressed the overriding importance of peace in achieving sustainability. SDG #16 (The United Nationals Sustainable development goal # 16) specifically focuses on “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions”, yet peace runs like a thread through all 17 of the Goals. Every year on the International Day of Peace, the United Nations calls on the peoples of the world to remember their common humanity and join together to build a future free of strife.
This year’s theme – the Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace – highlights how ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring broadly shared prosperity all contribute to global harmony. When we all work together, we can make peace possible.
Green Hope founder and president , 16 year old Kehkashan Basu said “We the youth are the Future Generations and we must take the initiative of breaking these shackles of hatred and bring forth a new order. This is the objective behind our event today, to bring together a diverse section of civil society so that we discuss the ways and means of achieving peace and its profound impact on sustainability. “
The conference, hosted by the Apple International School, began with a Peace song composed and performed by the Green Hope team after which there were interactive presentations to highlight the critical inter-linkages between peace and the sustainable development goals. Mr Jan-Gustav Strandenaes , Senior Advisor on Governance at the Stakeholder Forum , reached out to the attendees via a video message from Norway. Green Hope partners with the World Bank’s Connect4Climate initiative and their Climate Change Expert , Mr. Max T. Edkins also spoke to the audience via video link , highlighting the significant impact of climate change on global peace.
Thereafter, an panel of experts comprising of Dr. Federica Busa (Director Theme Development Dubai Expo2020), Mr. Stephen King (Professor at Middlesex University, Dubai), Ms Ellen Vroonhof –(Program Manager at Netherlands based Kidsrights Foundation), Dr Masumeh Kazmi (Iranian Salman Farsi school) and Ms Panjala Dutta (Principal Apple International School) took questions and initiated lively discussions.
One highlight of the conference was a painting competition, wherein the participants used art to convey the theme of Peace and Sustainability. Green Hope believes that peace building begins with conflict resolution and this must be resolved using a bottom-up approach. Grassroots organizations, as well as local authorities and civil society representatives, should be the main actors in the conflict resolution process. Thus this conference sought to bring together various stakeholders to determine the pathway to a peaceful and sustainable future.
Kehkashan Basu is the Youth Ambassador World Future Council, Honorary Advisor for the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development – NY, Former Global Coordinator for Children and Youth , UNEP MGFC, Founder President Green Hope UAE, Ambassador – IDEAS For Us