The Members of Parliament from 160 countries and over two dozen regional parliamentary organisations, meeting in Doha at the 140th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, which concluded yesterday, recognised the importance of education as a platform for enhancing peace, security and the rule of law. The Doha Declaration on ‘Parliaments as platforms to enhance education for peace, security and the rule of law’ stated that these are enduring objectives of the international community.
The highlights are as follows:
“Peace, security and the rule of law are the preconditions for people to pursue happy and meaningful lives and maximise their socioeconomic potential as individuals, as family and community members, and as engaged citizens.
“Despite persistent efforts to develop robust national and international institutions and mechanisms that enable the non-violent settlement of disputes and disagreements, many forms of conflict continue to plague almost all our societies.
“Unilateral measures taken by states against other states without authorisation of the international community can also have a negative impact on security, stability and people’s livelihoods. We appreciate that sustaining peace, providing security and ensuring the rule of law remain goals that require our undivided attention. “Different forms of violence characterise the 21st century. Military interventions, terrorism, transnational organised crime, cyberattacks, civil wars, armed insurgencies and gang violence all seem to indicate a world of ever-greater danger and insecurity.
“Contrary to popular belief, however, most lethal violence does not occur in conflict zones. According to the Small Arms Survey’s Global Violent Deaths 2017, at least 560,000 people died violently in 2016, but only about 99,000 (18%) were killed in war zones. Such statistics highlight that we need to rethink the way we conceive of peace, security and the rule of law internationally.
“Goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development reminds us of the link between education and peace. Moreover, education is recognised as a fundamental human right. It reinforces the idea that education is about more than turning individuals into active agents of the productive system: it also creates a sense of citizenship and community belonging.
“Education is about helping people to understand the world, participate in public life, and ultimately guarantee social cohesion based on common values. Education is also the common denominator that helps level the field for women and men, rural and urban dwellers, and ensures equal opportunities for all in society. “As Parliamentarians, we are committed to supporting mechanisms and financing measures that work towards promoting education as a platform for enhancing peace, security and the rule of law, in line with the SDGs, and in particular SDG 4.
“This support includes: Enabling equitable access to education for all. We recognise that access to education is limited by significant social barriers.
“Facilitating access and providing quality education. As lawmakers, we have the means to create a legal framework and a regulatory environment that not only guarantees equitable access to education, but also ensures quality education for all.
“Everyone residing on a particular State’s territory must be provided with quality education. This is essential for fostering greater respect for democratic values, for sustaining democracy, and for ensuring the equal participation of women and men in political life and their well-being.
“Promoting productive civic engagement through global citizenship education. This creates a sense of belonging to the global community, with its members experiencing solidarity and collective identity at the local, national and global levels. “Supporting non-formal education. This provides an alternative avenue for lifelong learning and skills development by offering educational opportunities to all.
“Protecting education systems in situations of conflict or insecurity. According to the 2018 report Education under Attack by the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack, there were more than 12,700 attacks on schools between 2013 and 2017, harming more than 21,000 students and educators in at least 70 countries.
“In adopting this Declaration, we acknowledge that, to varying degrees, all of our societies are having to tackle manifestations of intolerance, marginalisation and exclusion. As noted by the United Nations secretary-general, in order to achieve peace “we must teach our children love before others teach them hate.” As lawmakers, we recognise that the provision of accessible and quality education for all is a crucial component in this regard. Not only does education provide individuals with tangible skills that enable productive employment, but it also develops life skills that foster civic engagement and reduce the probability that people will resort to violence to resolve conflict. In a constantly changing world, we need to exercise our legislative, oversight and budgetary prerogatives to make sure that education is adaptive and well placed to meet the challenges that our societies face.”
Chair of Twelve Plus Group hails Qatar’s success in organising IPU
The Chair of Twelve Plus Group, European countries, Canada, Australia and New Zealand in the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Duarte Pacheco praised the success of Qatar in organising the 140th IPU General Assembly, and the important decisions and recommendations reached in this assembly. In a speech at the closing session of the 140th IPU General Assembly, he said that many people were scornful of approval for Qatar to host this assembly, believing that Doha would not be able to organise a successful session under the blockade, but it has proved to everyone the opposite after organising the most successful General Assembly despite the ongoing blockade imposed on it.
He added that Qatar has become a more developed, richer independent state. When the state is independent, it can determine its future and the future of its people. This applies to Qatar, he said. For her part, Chairperson of the 29th Session of the Women’s Parliamentarians Forum Reem al-Mansouri called for equality in employment, especially in communities that still need efforts to engage more women in all economic sectors and leadership positions, raising a number of important demands, including promoting girls’ education, especially in science, technology, trade and finance, disseminating a culture of equality and confronting stereotypes that keep women away from jobs with a lucrative return and from economic decision-making.
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