UNITED speaks at the International Peace Forum
As the largest anti-racist network in Europe, UNITED were invited to speak at the International Peace Forum, initiated by the Network People and Peace in Sweden together with International Peace Bureau (IPB) and Prague Spring 2 network (PS2).
The International Peace Forum aimed to unite various social movements towards inclusive participation and common cooperation in battling societal injustices occurring worldwide. In a time of war, social, ecological, and other conflicts originating from North to South, West to East, it is impending that we, as agents of cooperation in both national and international movements establish and strengthen alliances with other peace, environmental and transition movements that have emerged.
Ingeborgs Breines, Former Chair of IPB and UNESCO Director, Walden Bello from Focus on the Global South Philippines, and and Leo Gabriel, member of the World Social Forum International Council, started the forum with a discussion on the current state of the world and the continuous spread of wars and authoritarian regimes, and the strategies and efforts undertaken by the international community to resist. Together with Sean Conner, Executive Director of IPB, and Maximiliam Isendahl, farmer from Via Campesina Sweden, UNITED’s expert Neringa Tumėnaitė expressed support for the efforts made by civic society to promote sustainable peace. She also acknowledged the importance of empowering youth participation in policy and decision making, especially when it comes to training climate justice and lasting peace and highlighted the news of COP27 (the UN Climate Conference) where a “loss and damage” fund has been established to fund reparations.
Following this, a section of the forum that introduced Yurii Sheliazhenko of Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, Enikö Vincze, a Romanian Anti-war Socialist Feminist and Gerhard Kofler of Aktionsbündnis für Frieden, Aktive Neutralität und Gewaltfreiheit (ABFANG) Austria, was dedicated to address the need for peace-building and alliances across borders.
In this pressuring time of accelerating global crises experienced altogether, Tord Björk of Friends of the Earth Sweden, co-founder of Network for People and Peace, Council member of International Peace Bureau, and one of the co-organizers of this event, emphasized the need for solidarity in achieving peace, constructive solutions, transition movements, and further diplomacy aside from mere disarmament and military solutions that have dominated lately in political discussions.
UNITED stands in solidarity towards building alliances within the international arena to invest more resources and focus on conflict-prevention, peace-building and resistance, and other complexities related to military industrial complex, which undermines long-term efforts towards sustainable peace.
To watch the conference live, you may visit Folk och Fred 2023 at https://folkochfred.wordpress.com/konferensen-folk-och-fred-2023/?fbclid=IwAR3ZuPuBmIGPYbymahIMGgU124jM3f_-E6kVc94jv3LkMM0i3jni3kEGSOc
By Eunice Ayen Ondo, Intern at UNITED for Intercultural Action