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Peace

600 339 Dominique de Villepin

Speech for the International day of Peace in Nanjing

Former PM of France Dominique de Villepin opened the commemorative ceremony for the International Day of Peace 2018 held in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province, on Friday 21st September.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

It’s an honour to be here today, among people gathered to celebrate the virtue of dialogue. To begin, in this town of Nanjing, I’d like to express my sympathy to those who suffered in a painful time that is not so far away from us.

The past is full of lessons we have to learn and recognize to build up the future. It is true with long history shaped by war, tensions and reconciliation. But it’s also true in recent times with two global confrontations in less than a century.

Let me take this opportunity to pay tribute to the memory of a great servant of peace who passed away one month ago. Kofi ANNAN, the former General Secretary of the United Nations, was a man whose life has been entirely dedicated to justice. I had the chance to be a friend of his and my conviction is that we will need more people like him in the future.

Because never before has the duty of peace been higher than today.

  1. Over the last years, global security has been put under growing pressure

Today, the world is facing three major threats.

First, the threat of unilateralism is breaking up the spirit of consensus: we see that in diplomacy with the US withdrawal from the Iranian deal and the Paris Climate agreement. We also see that in economy with the US pulling out of the TPP and the US-China trade confrontation.

The second threat is aggressive nationalism. It’s the case in the USA, of course, where national interest is mainly based on disdain and hostility towards the rest of the world. But it’s also the case in Europe torn apart by the rise of national populism in countries like Poland and Hungary.

The third threat is the expansion of inequalities all across the world. Economic inequalities have soared worldwide with 1 % of the population concentrating 80 % of global wealth. But inequalities are also expanding regionally and locally with concerns like climate change and social unfairness.

  1. Globalization has created a new world of hopes and dangers

Today, peace is not only about local security. It has become the main global challenge of the time.

We are now living in a world of interconnections where domestic instability is a concern for the whole region. Look at the war in Iraq, Libya and Syria that has destabilized the Middle-East and spread global terrorism. Look at tensions in Venezuela increasing the risk of civil war in South America. Look at the nuclear crisis in North Korea putting security at stake in Japan, South Korea and beyond.

But globalization is also a chance for peace. It means we are all part of the same world with the necessity to promote universal common goods like prosperity, health, free-trade and environmental security. It also means we can be stronger together and combine our forces to build a more diverse, more stable and more sustainable world.

3 / Let me tell you a strong belief: there is no peace without courage and imagination

Peace doesn’t come from nowhere. It is the achievement of a shared commitment.

First of all, peace requires action. Let’s consider the example given by visionary projects opening the path to cooperation: over the last sixty years, Europe has become emblematic of this ideal of peace. But that’s also the ambition of current initiatives like the New Silk Road, launched in 2013 by President XI Jinping, and calling for more openness and mutual understanding.

Peace is also about symbols, rites and dialogue. Today, this forum is a wonderful opportunity to discuss the best tools and experiences of peace: I do believe we all have a role to play, leaders, scholars, entrepreneurs as well as citizens. It is also a strong message sent to the world: peace is not alone. It has its own day, its audience and its proponents.

Thank you very much.