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Updated On: Monday, 16 September 2019

Fourth Committee Approves Text Asking Member States to Support University for Peace in Its Mission to Broaden Study Offers

Content by: UN General Assembly

Acting without a vote, the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) approved a draft resolution on the University for Peace today, by which the General Assembly requests that Member States support that institution’s mission and contribute financially to it.

By the terms of the draft resolution titled “University for Peace” (document A/C.4/73/L.7), the Assembly requests that the University find viable ways to further strengthen cooperation with the United Nations system.  It also requests that Member States make financial contributions that will make it possible for the University to offer its study programmes to all students wishing to participate, and by facilitating the institution’s operations in host countries.

Further by the text, the Assembly encourages intergovernmental bodies, non-governmental organizations, interested individuals and philanthropists to contribute to the University’s programmes and core budget so it can continue its valuable work in accordance with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Before taking action, the Committee heard from Francisco Rojas-Aravena, Rector of the University for Peace, who presented the relevant report of the Secretary-General (document A/73/313).  He said the current international context demands the expansion of knowledge, training and education for peace and non-violence, noting that the University contributes to those needs through learning and research on conflict transformation and resolution.

Noting that more than 2,200 alumni have leveraged their training to make a positive impact on their communities, countries, regions and the world, he said most of its students and alumni are women, who play a historic and critical role as peacebuilders.  He went on to state that over the last three years, the University has developed a series of activities in conjunction with several United Nations agencies in significant areas related to global multilateralism.  Among them is the programme on “Women and Disarmament”, implemented in the Middle East, Africa, South-East Asia and Latin America, in collaboration with the Office for Disarmament Affairs at the United Nations in Vienna.  Through its six academic departments, he said, the University develops and carries out specialized educational programmes with a special emphasis on theoretical, practical and experiential education.

The experience that students gain at the University places them in a wide multinational, multicultural, multisectoral and multi-ethnic network, which reinforces their capacity to transform conflicts upon graduation, he continued, adding that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development guides the University’s actions.  The institution offers master’s degrees in Gender and Peacebuilding and in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development.  Female alumni represent one of the University's greatest contributions to Sustainable Development Goal 5 through their new-found role in prevention and in the development of effective peacebuilding actions, he said.

The representative of Costa Rica, host to the University’s main campus, said the institution is part of his country’s culture.  As a result of abolishing its army, Costa Rica has been able to redirect resources to such areas as education and health, he noted.  The University has recently implemented several changes — such as launching the Programme for Africa, including the Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — in seeking to improve its visibility and impact.  Moreover, the University’s scholarship programme demonstrates that it is broadening its presence around the world, he said.  Calling for investing in education rather than weapons, he added:  “If we want peace, let’s prepare peace.”

Sudan’s representative pointed out that the resources made available for the University’s Costa Rica headquarters are much greater than those available for its Centre in Addis Ababa.  He suggested that the University consider supporting its Centres in Africa by providing more resources and making regional visits, observing also that the distribution of its population is not diverse.

The representative of the United States, speaking in explanation of position after the Committee’s approval of the text, underscored the non-binding nature of the 2030 Agenda and the fact that it does not affect international law.  All countries should work towards its goals within their own frameworks, and in a manner consistent with the rights of States under international law, he said, adding that the Agenda has no requirement to provide goods or services.

The Fourth Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 30 October, to begin its consideration of the comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects.

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