The 2021 Nanjing Peace Forum successfully held in Nanjing, China from 24 to 26, October, 2021

The UNESCO Beijing Office collaborated with the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO, the Information Office of Jiangsu Provincial Government, and the Nanjing Municipal Government to organize the 2021 Nanjing Peace Forum from 24 to 26 October 2021, in Nanjing, China. In order to enhance the notion and importance of eco-civilization for peace, this year’s overarching theme for the 2021 Nanjing Peace Forum is “Living in Harmony with Nature for Peace”.
On the evening of October 24, the 2021 Nanjing Peace Forum opened at the Zijin Mountain Music Stage. Ms. Gabriela Ramos, the Assistant Director-General for the Social and Human Sciences of UNESCO applauded the overarching theme of “Living in Harmony with Nature for Peace” for the 2021 Nanjing Peace Forum. “This will provide a much-needed space for us to engage in an in-depth dialogue on the importance of addressing climate change and environmental degradation for the pursuit of peace. And it will showcase to the world that peace needs to be the underlying consideration and objective in the global discourse on climate change and sustainable development,” Ms. Gabriela Ramos underlined in her opening remark.

Professor Shahbaz Khan, Director of the UNESCO Beijing Office, stressed the important role of ecological civilization in green transformation and peace in his opening keynote speech. “Ecological civilization for green transformation and peace is an important consideration for our collective efforts towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. It has already contributed to the recent discussions at COP 15 of the UN Biological Diversity Convention in Kunming,” Professor Khan underscored.

During the main forum from 25 to 26 October 2021, experts from different fields were invited to give keynote speeches on several themes, including Natural Environment and Human Destiny, Sustainable Investment and Green Finance, Environmental Challenges and Youth Action, Sustainable Green Production and Consumption, Global Green Recovery and Business for Good, etc. A roundtable focused on the theme of Peace Education, Defenses of Peace Constructed in the Minds was also held. Furthermore, a “Dialogue with Generation Z” Youth Sharing Party was organized during the Forum to provide a platform for young people to engage in peace movement. Moreover, keynote speeches and future action sharing on the topic of Positive Peace and Sustainable Development also enriched the whole Forum.

As an important part of the road to the 2021 Nanjing Peace Forum, a series of regional/sub-regional dialogues were held in the weeks before 24 October 2021 as follow: Islamabad Dialogue with 8 panelists and 48 participants from different backgrounds; Central Asia Dialogue with more than 80 participants from Central Asia and various parts of Eurasia; and Africa Dialogue with over 50 participants from across the continent. In addition, a Latin America and the Caribbean Dialogue will be held soon as a follow-up to the Main Forum.

The UNESCO Beijing Office also worked with selected experts to conduct training sessions designed to enhance capacities in planning and implementing initiatives towards building and sustaining peace. These sessions focused on four themes as follows: SDGs and Peace; Biodiversity and Peace; Climate Change and Peace; and Water and Peace.

Specifically, 177 persons from 42 countries joined the session on SDGs and Peace on 14 October 2021; 135 persons from 29 countries participated in the session on Biodiversity and Peace on 21 October 2021; 117 persons from 32 countries joined the session on Climate Change and Peace on 28 October 2021. The session on Water and Peace will also be held on 4 November 2021.

At the closing ceremony, participants jointly adopted the 2021 Nanjing Peace Consensus. There are several points that are stressed in the consensus, including building up creative and real multilateral partnerships; building capacity in ecological civilization and policy; fostering peace around the world through more supportive, protective, and equitable global governance; respecting and codifying customary and traditional principles and practices, as well as indigenous knowledge and languages in environmental management and building sustainable peace; attaching importance to arts and culture and community; supporting young people’s role and action; reaffirming the commitment to fully implement the 17 goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, etc. The consensus also calls on peace-loving people from all countries to abide by the concepts of openness and tolerance; to adhere to common values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom for all mankind; and to work together to build a Shared Future for All Life on Earth.  

UNESCO has collaborated with Nanjing Partners to organize the Nanjing Peace Forum since 2020, with the aim to provide a dynamic platform for ideas and actions on how to build peace and reshape the world towards one marked by intercultural understanding, tolerance, solidarity, social justice, and inclusion. The Nanjing Peace Forum is designed to be more than just an event, but rather a periodic coming together, underpinning a permanent process of strengthening dialogue and capacities for all relevant stakeholders towards building and sustaining peace.