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ISCP Assembly: World Leaders Share Their Vision for a Peaceful Future

Korea-2020-02-05-World Leaders Share Visions for a Peaceful Future

Seoul, Korea—Current and former heads of state and government attended the Global Assembly of the International Summit Council for Peace (ISCP).

The ISCP assembly was one of the major events of World Summit 2020, which took place in the KINTEX Center and other locations in Korea from February 3 to 8, 2020.

Three ISCP sessions were held on the afternoons of February 4 and 5 in the KINTEX Center under the theme “Peace, Security and Human Development: Toward a World of Lasting Peace.”

The first session, held on February 4, was moderated by H.E. Goodluck E. Jonathan, the president of Nigeria (2010-2015) and the chair of ISCP-Africa.

The listed speakers were:

  • Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister (2006-2015), Canada
  • H.E. Dominique de Villepin, Prime Minister (2005-2007), France
  • H.E. H.D. Deve Gowda, Prime Minister (1996-1997), India
  • H.E. Christopher Loeak, President (2012-2016), Marshall Islands
  • H.E. Henry Van Thio, Vice President, Myanmar
  • H.E. James Marape, Prime Minister, Papua New Guinea
  • H.E. David Mabuza, Vice President, South Africa
  • H.E. Felipe Gonzalez, Prime Minister (1982-1996), Spain

The secretariat for this session was Ambassador Simeon Uwa, the executive secretary of ISCP-Africa.

The speakers were renowned personalities from the sectors of public service, business, finance, national and local government.

The session covered in detail the topics of conflict resolution, peacebuilding, reconciliation, post-conflict management and sustainable economic development.

In his opening remarks, the international chair of UPF, Dr. Thomas Walsh, gave a brief background to the ISCP. The body was initiated in February 2019 in Seoul, South Korea, by UPF co-founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon.

Dr. Walsh said: “There is a growing awareness among people throughout the world of the urgent need for innovative vision, bold leadership, if we must resolve the critical issues of our time. Challenges ranging from poverty, terrorism, climate change, food insecurity, moral decline, forced displacement, natural disasters and the arms race continue to confront the global community. The Universal Peace Federation, in partnership with representatives of government, civil society and the private sector, launched the international summit series in order to effectively address and seek solutions to the critical challenges of our time.”

The summit series, consisting of both world-level and regional summits, dates back several decades. Most recently, summits have been held in Africa, South America, and Asia, Dr. Walsh said.

To open the floor for speakers, President Goodluck Jonathan, the moderator of the session, who earlier at the summit’s Opening Plenary had spoken on “The Need for Peace and Security through Alternative Means,” said he has a firm belief that what can guarantee the peace that the world needs today is not in our intimidating armories and sophisticated nuclear sites but in our hearts.

“The world looks up to us as leaders to reach out to the innermost recesses of our hearts, leveraging our common humanity, and embrace one another in true love and sincerity to save our peoples,” President Jonathan said.

“It is obvious that military might alone has not served the intended purpose of securing our world. In the Middle East and Africa, more than in other parts of the world, insecurity, insurgency and terrorism have continued to get worse, despite all efforts to combat them and enforce peace by affected nations and their allies. This is partly because we have paid more attention to our military might than we have given to the imperative of building honor, love and affinity in our families and societies.” He declared the debate open by reminding leaders, “Without global peace, the world will continue to spend more resources, which should have been channeled into development purposes, either generating or managing crises.”

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, the prime minister of Canada (2006-2015), spoke on peacebuilding, particularly in regard to the Korean Peninsula. His comments included the following:

Be gentle as doves and wise as serpents. Have peace in your hearts and wisdom in your heads. Do not put faith in the North Koreans’ words but only in their actions. Bring hard-power assets to the table (to convey both credible promises and credible threats) and be genuinely prepared to deploy them.

Do not merely involve the Chinese; hold them accountable. (The North Korean regime could not exist without overt Chinese support, and it could not continue to threaten its neighbors without tacit Chinese complicity.)

Beware of any role that might be played by the Putin regime of Russia. (Experience suggests that at almost all times, it will be systematically unhelpful.)

Stay close to your allies. (This does not mean merely that the Republic of Korea must stay close to us, but also that it should endeavor to have the same level of closeness with Japan. Whatever the historical justification for the tensions between Koreans and Japanese, such tensions and animosities are not in the interest of either nation today.)

South Korea as well as Australia should be admitted to the Group of Seven (G7) nations to create a stronger, truly global economic and geopolitical forum of the world’s major democracies. (In this regard, he particularly congratulated UPF and its co-founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon for the bold and forward-looking call, in October 2019, for a new solidarity between South Korea and Japan.)

Prime Minister Harper didn’t rate how allies have performed in relation to the principles he laid out, but noted that the cautious optimism of last year has been replaced by cautious pessimism in 2020.

While U.S. President Donald Trump’s initiative has not been successful in achieving real progress toward denuclearization and reconciliation, the efforts deserve to be congratulated, Prime Minister Harper said. First, they have been bold. President Trump’s decision to meet with Leader Kim, as with Dr. Moon’s assembling of a joint Olympic team, was a grand gesture of a genuine desire for peace and reconciliation. In the present case, the wise refusal to make unilateral concessions once again has exposed North Korea’s lack of a genuine desire for peace and reconciliation, as indeed has its lack of willingness to reciprocate goodwill by enabling family reunions, economic exchanges or tourist visits.

The former prime minister said that the Trump Administration not only has refused to engage in dangerous, unilateral concessions, it also has done something very necessary for peacebuilding in the long term: It has restored the credible threat that the United States possesses—to eliminate the North Korean regime at any time of its choosing. That should provide real limits to the kind of risks that Kim may be willing to take.

We should have the patience to know that the regime cannot endure indefinitely. Why? Because it is a regime that has no achievements. Nuclear arms do nothing for the lives of ordinary people, and the regime represents no hope. The regime serves neither God nor humanity. The regime cannot provide the necessities or the pleasures of life. Thus it will become clear to its leaders that the North Korean regime has no purpose. Of course, allies have to lock arms in common pursuit of containment and deterrence and in common hope for eventual and inevitable reconciliation.

Prime Minister Harper said that Canadians without a doubt will continue to work, hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder, with their South Korean, U.S. and Japanese friends in these shared objectives. The bonds of friendship and alliance, first forged in the shared sacrifices during the Korean War and now sustained by common democratic values, strong people-to-people ties and economic relationships enshrined in robust agreements, will ensure that.

H.E. Dominique de Villepin, the prime minister of France (2005-2007), said that the international order created after 1945 is no longer appropriate to the current challenges putting the world at risk. The United Nations is facing powerlessness and increasing distrust. The Bretton Woods system lacks efficiency and legitimacy. There is a need to address the crisis of multilateralism by designing new tools of shared governance. But before creating a new rules-based order, it is crucial to revive a spirit of dialogue and international consensus.

We never should forget that global governance is driven by the search for peace and security, which is a condition for development, he said.

Today, improving cooperation requires some basic guidelines and principles, taking lessons from history, he said.

First, we need determination; negotiation can work only with reliable parties showing goodwill and commitment. Look at the architecture of security created in Europe in 1975 between the United States and the Soviet Union. At that time, the determination of the two leaders was decisive in setting up the Helsinki Conference.

Second, we need pragmatism. Cooperation is not only about words and commitments; it’s also about achievements in favor of peace. We have seen that with the European Union—driven by the reconciliation of France and Germany after the big wars of the 20th century—in 1951 the mutualization of coal and steel, two strategic resources of military and economic power, was the first step to integration.

Third, mutual governance also needs imagination. From Afghanistan to Iraq and Libya, military intervention often highlights a lack of innovative strategy to use cooperation as an alternative to the vicious cycle of war.

Korea could be the ground of an exemplary pathway to peace, owing to a gradual pragmatic dialogue.

In 2018, the meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un without precondition was a big surprise, giving signs of openness, the former prime minister said. From this beginning, the process could initiate a momentum for a virtuous circle of dialogue:

First, cooperation requires a gradual roadmap framing the discussion about a peace treaty in line with the Panmunjom Declaration.

Second, it requires incentives in terms of growth and security—for example, with the gradual lifting of sanctions and a real double-freeze of nuclear development and military exercises.

Third, it is based on mechanisms and mediators to control the advancement of talks. Not only international institutions like the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency but also regional and global players like China, the United States, Russia and the European Union can take part in this process.

Renewing the international order is about collective reforms and cross-border initiatives, Prime Minister De Villepin said. The priority is to restore trust in global governance. To achieve this, the following have to be considered:

We need greater diversity and effectiveness of multilateralism. The time has come for a large reform of the United Nations. This can be done by:

Increasing the number of permanent members of the Security Council, where neither Africa nor South America is represented.

Limiting the use of the veto, which sometimes has hindered peaceful action in times of humanitarian crises such as in Yemen.

Developing expertise in nation-building to help design reliable administrations and regulations in failing states and weak regions.

Organizing a yearly summit of all the members of the Security Council, dedicated to finding solutions to the main world crises.

On the other hand, we need greater imagination in renewing international action. There are plenty of potential projects with which to treat the current challenges, such as economic, technological and climate tensions.

We should create flexible structures to solve regional conflicts, he said. In Europe and Asia, a G4 should be set up that combines the voices of Paris, Berlin, Moscow and Beijing to defend climatic and commercial materialism, especially by reforming the Paris Climate Agreement and the World Trade Organization.

A G3 should be created with the central banks of the European Union, China and the United States to improve the coordination of monetary policies while cooperating with central banks of key players like Japan, Russia and South Korea.

Adapted treaties should be created in new areas of risk, such as cyberspace, he said. Today the UN should organize talks to regulate the global Internet and promote digital security and sovereignty in the artificial-intelligence sector.

We need adapted new structures, such as a UN organization for the environment, to face challenges on the horizon.

Only through concrete partnerships can we share and spread common rules and values, he said.

He brought up the topic of project diplomacy, bringing together politics, businesses, and culture as parts of a comprehensive strategy striving for win-win objectives. Such an approach implies the mobilization of various stakeholders, such as states, people, firms, and NGOs pooling economic resources and political power.

In many areas, project diplomacy could help develop economic and cultural bridges—for example, in Eurasia, with the expansion of connectivity as promoted by the Belt and Road Initiative and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Such an incentive can be a game-changer, provided that it is a two-way street, in the interest of not only China but also the whole region.

In Africa, the launch of a Euro-African partnership, addressing joint concerns such as migration and security while developing poor regions and improving education, would be the best answer to instability.

Prime Minister de Villepin noted that it has become necessary to build new frameworks of cooperation, not only to save the multilateralism of the past decades but also to invent a strong architecture for peace for the 21st century.

H.E. Paul Kaba Thieba, prime minister of Burkina Faso (2016-2019), observed that the beauty of this meeting is the freedom that members and others have to freely speak on peace. World Summit 2020 is a real opportunity for smaller countries to benefit from collaboration, he said. Citing cases of terrorism, he expressed appreciation to the big countries for their help and requested that more should be done to defeat terrorism permanently. He requested support from the Universal Peace Federation.

In a comment, Roslyn Ng’eno of the African Union Commission’s African Continental Free Trade Area support unit highlighted the need for a collaborative approach to meet the world’s developmental needs.

She noted that the preamble to the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development states: “We are determined to take the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path, As we embark on this collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind.” Thus the 2030 Agenda is calling for international relations featuring win-win cooperation and building a community of a shared future for humanity, Ms. Ng’eno said.

There is an undeniable nexus between attaining sustainable development and peace, she said. Peace allows us to create linkages that support production of goods and services through investment and trade.

There have been policies developed globally that have promoted the summit’s theme, she said. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly in April 2016 recognizes that “security, development and human rights are closely interlinked and mutually reinforcing” and that “a comprehensive approach to sustaining peace, particularly through the prevention of conflict and addressing its root causes, strengthening the rule of law at the international and national levels and promoting sustained and sustainable economic growth, poverty eradication, social development, sustainable development, national reconciliation annuity” is necessary.

She said that Aspiration 4 of the African Leaders’ Agenda 2063, focusing on “a peaceful and secure Africa,” seeks to galvanize and unite in action all Africans and the diaspora around the common vision of a peaceful, integrated and prosperous Africa and harness the continental endowments embodied in its history, cultures and natural resources. This is a geopolitical position to effect equitable and people-centered growth and development to be achieved through the promotion of trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, among other methods, and building an open continental economy.

Success will require that we invite the world to work with us, to invest in our economies and to trade with us in a sustainable manner, thus breaking down borders and embracing the value of interdependence, while protecting our uniqueness that makes us diverse and yet one in pursuit of preserving peace and coexistence.

As a continent, we are working at creating an attractive investment climate underpinned by a stable macro-economic environment, a solid legal and regulatory framework, a strong institutional framework as well as clearly identified investment opportunities critical in achieving economic growth and development, essential for peace.

Ms. Ng’eno said there is a force globally and regionally driving us to seek a collective action and approaches that will enhance societal development, and the meeting hopes to come out with decisive and implementable resolutions on how to enhance human development in the wonderful diversity.

H.E. Christopher Loeak, president of the Marshall Islands (2012-2016), stated that the gathering was timely, as just a few days earlier his country had held its first Climate Change and Health Dialogue in the new capital of Majuro.

The dialogue is also timely as the nation is facing a six-month health emergency due to an outbreak of dengue fever, with nearly 2,200 cases documented at state hospitals. He expressed concerns that the capacity of his country’s hospitals has been overstretched and the doctors and nurses worn out, while the nation’s resources for responding to such emergencies are quickly being depleted.

His country’s ability to cope with the dengue fever outbreak is exacerbated by the fact that, in the last six months, the country has been faced with a concurrent influenza outbreak, measles scare and the Covid-19 virus.

Epidemics will continue to increase at an unprecedented rate as the impact of climate change worsens, he said. That is why, as a global community, we need to highlight discussions on the serious linkages between climate change and health and take proactive action on the security measures needed to protect ourselves and our planet home.

The Marshall Islands holds a unique position in the discussion of peace, security and human development, he said. The country is not only a victim and a leader in the climate fight, it also plays these dual roles under the legacy of nuclear testing.

Between 1946 and 1958, the United States, with the consent and authorization of the United Nations, used islands of the Marshall Islands as a nuclear testing site. The nation has endured 67 nuclear tests, including the Bravo shot, which was a thousand times more powerful than the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.

To this day, he said, his nation continues to pay the price for global peace and security—the radioactive fallout not only destroyed lives but also rendered some of the islands uninhabitable for generations and forced local communities from their homeland.

This part of its history has positioned the country in the direction that would safeguard its peace and security. He noted that we still live in a world where humankind continues to build and develop nuclear weapons and has complete disregard for the future of humanity and the environment.

The government of Marshall Islands is committed to ensuring that its nuclear legacy is not forgotten and, more importantly, that its message to the world on peace and security does not go unnoticed or unanswered.

He noted that as preparations were ongoing for bilateral talks with the United States government on the extension of its political treaty with the United States, issues of peace and security in relation to climate change and their nuclear legacy must be at the forefront of those discussions.

Marshall Islands will continue to be vocal and advocate for the cessation of war and nuclear arsenals, and it will urge nations to accelerate the actions and investments needed for a safe and sustainable low-carbon future, he said.

H.E. Felipe Gonzalez, prime minister of Spain (1982-1996), said there are three broad ways to achieve peace: human rights, pluralism and law.

We need to overcome symptoms of conflict, he said. It looks like our democracies are being weakened, so there is the need to target and know where to intervene.

In the Korean Peninsula, the state broke the law that demarcated them. While the South focused on democracy and development, the North focused on nuclear capability. Results? While one is closed, the other is open.

There is a need to invoke international norms, he said. We should learn how to understand the difficulties of the world and income redistribution because of developments.

There should be the pursuit of justice, as climate change is changing the world. He noted temperature changes and observed tension in Australia, the Americas, Africa, Europe, Asia, etc.

In his brief contribution, H.E. Sione Vuna Fa’otusia, deputy prime minister, Tonga, said that Tonga has never been colonized and has never fought any war. He said that any move for peace must take into account the spiritual dimension. Tonga wants to amend its constitution to give more power to the people. We need to have love in our hearts and achieve people-oriented laws in order to bring changes to our nations, he said. That is the only way that peace can be realized in our respective countries and in the world, he concluded.

At the end of the session, UPF Chair Dr, Thomas Walsh expressed happiness over the quality of interaction and debate that had taken place. He said he was greatly inspired by the talented and experienced people who had participated in that session. He thanked the moderator, H.E. Goodluck Jonathan, the ISCP-Africa chair, for an excellent job and expressed hope that subsequent sessions would benefit from the experience of the leaders and speakers.

The second ISCP session, which took place on the afternoon of February 5, was moderated by H.E. Anote Tong, president of Kiribati (2003-2016) and a Sunhak Peace Prize laureate (2015).

Listed speakers:

  • H.E. Michel Djotodia, President, Central African Republic (2013-2014)
  • H.E. Emmanuel Nadingar, Prime Minister, Chad (2010-2013)
  • H.E. Mirek Topolanek, Prime Minister, Czech Republic (2006-2009)
  • H.E. Professor Hassan Ghafouri Fard, Vice President, Iran (1989-1994)
  • H.E. Enrico Letta, Prime Minister, Italy (2013-2014)
  • H.E. Sujata Koirala, Former Deputy Prime Minister; Member of Parliament, Nepal
  • H.E. Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, Prime Minister, Pakistan (2008-2012)
  • H.E. Carl Bildt, Prime Minister, Sweden (1991-1994)

The secretariat for the session was Ambassador Simeon Uwa, the executive secretary of ISCP-Africa.

This session, like the previous session, featured renowned personalities from the sectors of public service, business, finance, national and local government.

In his opening remarks, the moderator H.E. Anote Tong, former president of Kiribati and a Sunhak Peace laureate, who had spoken at the Opening Plenary on the need for peace in the Korean Peninsula, urged the council to interact robustly with a view to finding lasting peace not only on the Korean Peninsula but in the world as a whole.

H.E. Mirek Topolanek, prime minister (2006-2009), Czech Republic, stated that for the world to have a lasting peace, the following must be observed:

Leaders should build blocs and not walls. Peace is the responsibility of all persons. Peace cannot be anchored on politicians alone. Tolerance doesn’t mean political correctness. Human rights, technology rights and rights that are fundamental must be guaranteed in order for us to have peace. In the face of present and all-time challenges, we shouldn’t resign but must withstand pressure.

H.E. Michel Djotodia, president of the Central African Republic (2013-2014), called for a one-minute silence to honor all those who have fallen for the cause of peace. He said that peace is threatened throughout the world by the systematic refusal of change at the head of our nations, precisely in Africa where political parties have assumed family, ethnic, religious character.

He quoted the late President Félix Houphouët-Boigny of Cote D’Ivoire: “Peace is not a vain word, it is a behavior.” President Djotodia said that peace is a way of life.

As long as inequality, bad governance, double standards, the behavior of going to war, the dominion by politics of terror, proliferation of weapons destruction of all kinds and the barbarous nobility persist, he said, the world will know no peace.

All hands must be on deck to drive the old demons of misery away from our common lives, he said. Most countries should follow the example of the Central African Republic, which had experienced a lot of interethnic, interreligious and political violence for several years and has embarked on the path of peace, owing to the peace agreement of Khartoum, and enforced by ISCP-Africa, ensuring his peaceful return to his country.

All institutions, including the United Nations and non-governmental organizations, should not cease in the search for and promotion of peace, he said. Civil society organizations, government organizations and quasi-government organizations should establish alternative cooperative platforms to reduce government high-handedness.

The final ISCP session, held on the afternoon of February 5, had the theme “Developing a Strategic Plan of Action.”

The moderator was H.E. President Goodluck E. Jonathan, the president of Nigeria (2010-2015) and the chair of ISCP-Africa.

Listed speakers:

  • H.E. Jocelerme Privert, president of Haiti (2016-2017)
  • Hon. Enda Kenny, prime minister of Ireland (2011-2017)
  • H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, president of Nigeria (1999-2007)
  • H.E. George Ati Sokomanu, president of Vanuatu (1980-1989)

The secretariat of the session was Ambassador Simeon Uwa, the executive secretary, ISCP-Africa.

H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, president of Nigeria (1999-2007), posed the question: If humans are so aware of the need for peace and security, why have humans never been able to attain peace and security in all of human history? He answered that it is because of the wrong approach and strategy.

Referring to the speech in the Opening Plenary by H.E Jose Manuel Barroso, the former president of the European Union, he said, “Peace is not the absence of war, conflict or violence. It entails more. It is a virtue. It is justice, equity, love, compassion.”

All those attributes that God endows us with so that we can live happily, harmoniously, and cooperatively, caring and sharing among ourselves, are what we refer to as universal values, he said. However, universal values often are ignored as the way and approach to peace and security.

President Obasanjo said that peace and security are issues of the mind and not weapons and preparations for war. The present world ignores the development of the mind and rather assembles arsenals of war for security and protection which undermine peace.

Peace and security are meant to be commonly acquired, owned and shared, he said. Peace and security never endure in isolation; therefore, humankind’s pursuit should be common peace, security and sharing responsibility, which should lead to shared prosperity.

Alone, there is insecurity and vulnerability, he said, no matter how much we believe we are protecting ourselves individually or nationally. To achieve peace, there must be education to prepare the head, heart and mind. Awareness must be raised and the universal values inculcated and practiced from the cradle to the grave.

Our strategy must be less talk and more action at all levels—from the family to the United Nations—and by all: politicians, academics, civil society, the private sector, religious leaders, and ordinary people, he said.

The former president said there are five cardinal ingredients for establishing and sustaining enduring peace and security—love, understanding, integration, cooperation and forgiveness.

There are many aspects of peace and security that go beyond physical or territorial protection and which cannot be handled alone by an individual person or community, he said.

The strategies of education, awareness, empowerment, and integration within Africa at all levels are also applicable to peace and security in the African continent.

President Obasanjo concluded that when Africans have done their homework, cooperation and partnership with the rest of the world will be necessary as peace in Africa is important to global peace.


After an exhaustive discussion of the issues, the council resolved and adopted the following:

There is a need to seek and to achieve global peace and security through alternative means.

The strategy must be less talk and more action at all levels—from the family to the United Nations and by all: politicians, academics, civil society, private sector, religious leaders, and ordinary people. There must be education to prepare the head, heart and mind. Awareness must be raised and the universal values inculcated and practiced from the cradle to the grave.

The Universal Peace Federation and all lovers of peace in the world should consider all the observations raised at the summit and factor them into global peace efforts.

Further action is necessary to unify the North and South of the Korean Peninsula.

UPF, the United Nations, and all continental and regional bodies should be encouraged to increase their efforts to attain global peace.


To view the World Summit 2020 ISCP Schedule Page, click here.

To read the executive summary of the World Summit 2020, click here.

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