by His Excellency Mr. Yerzhan Kh. Kazykhanov

Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Republic of kazakhstan to the United Nations

at the plenary meeting

on the Culture of Peace

New York, 20 October 2005

Mr. President,

By proclaiming 2001-2010 as the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World, the General Assembly has set the course for the United Nations towards a just and peaceful world.

We hope that joint efforts by the international community in eight concrete areas - from education to global peace and security and consistent implementation of the Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace - will facilitate a successful transition to a culture of peace and non-violence. In this context, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the lead UN agency for the Decade, has to continue to play important role in this process,

Now we are at the mid-point of the Decade and there is a need for more advanced and coordinated actions. In our judgment, priority should be given to education, including the teaching of the practice of peace and non-violence to children. In the broad sense of this term, the family, the media and other social and educational institutions should be more actively engaged in activities in this area.

We appreciate the efforts of the delegation of Bangladesh, which have contributed, in a significant way, to the elaboration of the new draft resolution on a Culture of Peace, co-sponsored by a large number of countries, including Kazakhstan. The draft resolution emphasizes respect for the diversity of cultures, tolerance, dialogue and understanding as a means of establishing peace and stability. .

Mr. President,

It is in this spirit that the delegation of Kazakhstan, among other delegations, has co-sponsored the draft resolution on "Dialogue among civilizations", which underlines that tolerance is one of the fundamental values essential to international relations in the twenty-first century.

As stressed in the 2005 World Summit Outcome document, all cultures and civilizations contribute to the enrichment of humankind and it is very important to respect and understand religious and cultural diversity throughout the world.

An inter-faith dialogue is an integral part of the efforts to promote the culture of peace and dialogue among civilizations. Dialogue among religions is aimed at advocating the culture of peace and at promoting the common values of the Millennium Declaration. Such a dialogue helps to develop understanding and tolerance, while strengthening friendship among peoples in all the multiplicity of their religions, faiths, cultures and languages.

One of the basic principles of the United Nations consists in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion. We welcome more close attention paid by the United Nations to the development of inter-religious dialogue for peace. In recent years, the General Assembly has adopted a number of important resolutions on the promotion of inter-religious dialogue, the development of mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation between religions and cultures, and the elimination of all forms of religious intolerance. Kazakhstan supported and co-sponsored those resolutions.

In Kazakhstan, we are convinced that the efforts to strengthen peace and security and ensure prosperity in the twenty-first century increasingly depend on the pursuit of dialogue and interaction among peoples of different faiths, cultures and traditions.

We believe that there is a need to closely engage governments, the civil society, the media, the private sector and the international organizations in strengthening inter-religious ties.

It is very important to take practical steps to strengthen cooperation among different religions, particularly in the areas of education and mass media, to reinforce mutual understanding in order to overcome intolerance and to counter stereotypes. We consider it important to study, disseminate and put into practice lessons learned by different countries in developing inter-religious dialogue.

That is why Kazakhstan has come up with the initiative of the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, which was held in Astana in September 2003, with representatives of nearly all of the world and traditional religions taking part in that event.

The Congress succeeded. in institutionalizing the inter-religious dialogue process by establishing, its permanent secretariat. I would like to inform you that the second Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions is to be held next year in Astana to discuss the issue of "Religions, Society and international Security".

It is also important to ensure that regional organizations actively participate in the dialogue. In this regard, we have offered to host an OSCE conference on interfaith accord in Kazakhstan next spring.

It is with this understanding that we became active supporters and co-sponsors of an informal meeting of leaders on "Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation For Peace", held in New York on 13 September 2005. The Declaration on Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace, adopted at that meeting, invites, inter alia, the international community to intensify cooperation at the international, regional and national levels in the implementation of existing United Nations programs for the promotion of a culture of peace and dialogue among civilizations.

Mr. President:

Kazakhstan appreciates the efforts of the Secretary-General and the United Nations Member States to make positive contribution to a culture of peace and stands ready to collaborate with the international community in implementing the Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace.

Let me voice our confidence that dialogue and cooperation among religions, cultures and civilizations will result in joint practical measures, promoting just and durable peace.

Thank you, Mr. President.