Bangladesh organized World Peace Conference 2021- a two day international conference in Dhaka on December 4-5. The conference was inaugurated by the President Abdul Hamid. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also attended the closing ceremony. The theme of the conference was, ‘Advancing Peace through Social Inclusion’. Through this conference, Bangladesh adopted ‘Dhaka Peace Declaration-2021’ and enhanced its position in global peace and security. Moreover, the conference will also contribute to Bangladesh’s diplomacy.
Bangladesh organized the conference on the occasion of Golden Jubilee of independence and Birth Centenary of Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Representatives from 50 different countries joined the conference from various backgrounds including writers, poets, academics, former government officials and political personalities around the world. Due to Covid-19, the conference held in hybrid format, both physical and virtual. Prominent attendees included Ban Ki-Moon- former Secretary General of United Nations (UN), former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and Noble Laureate and former President of East Timor-Leste Jose Ramos-Horta and many others.
In his inaugural speech, President Hamid called for ending discrimination and creating equal opportunities for everyone regardless of race, gender, religion, faith and ethnicity globally. Foreign Minister, A.K Momen hoped for a better world ending all manmade conflicts. In the closing ceremony, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged to the global community to use resources to sustainable development rather than in making arms. Other speakers also expressed their concerns and support for global peace and security. Key factors in fighting against the ongoing pandemic were also discussed. However, one of the important outcomes of the conference is the adoption of ‘Dhaka Peace Declaration’ which was adopted through the discussion.
Dhaka Peace Declaration is a crucial outcome as in the coming days as it would be a guiding reference to Bangladesh’s activities in global peace and security. The Declaration is consists of 16 points. The declaration included human rights enshrined in Universal Human Rights Declaration (UDHR); acknowledged the value of democracy, rule of law, and good governance and role of institutions in upholding these values; and reiterated firm belief in social justice and inclusive development. Moreover, the declaration also condemned xenophobia, disinformation campaign, sectarian and communal violence. And lastly, with upholding the spirit of multilateralism, the declaration called for global solidarity in promoting peace and ending conflict in global stage.
The conference is a ‘track 1.5’ diplomacy in nature. Through this ‘track 1.5 diplomacy’, Bangladesh once again proved its firm belief in global peace and security especially in a time when poison of communalism, racism and xenophobia is brewing drastically not only in South Asia but also all over the world. Through this conference, a multilateral dialogue on this particular concern has taken place that incorporated various significant personalities around the world. Moreover, this conference is a diplomatic effort from Bangladesh in upholding the global peace. Traditionally, Bangladesh follows a ‘Peace Policy’ in its foreign policy. Hence, arranging such conference is a display of the same orientation to the world community.
Furthermore, the adoption of Dhaka Peace Declaration is also an important milestone for Bangladesh and its initiatives in global peace and security. Bangladesh is already engaged in various peace and security initiative in global stage including the UN peacekeeping operation and Sheltering Rohingya population etc. The declaration will help Bangladesh as a reference and guideline in future peace and security initiatives.
However, this conference will also have psychological impact in solving the Rohingya issue and in perceiving Bangladesh’s current position in international sphere. And lastly, conference of such kind will surely contribute to Bangladesh’s diplomacy, soft power and capacity building. Therefore, Bangladesh should continue to arrange such kind of conferences every year and in larger scale of course.
*MD Mufassir Rashid, MSS in International Political Economy (Ongoing), Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh