At the informal consultation on “Our Common Agenda”
3rd Thematic Cluster
Frameworks for a peaceful world
– promoting peace, international law and digital cooperation
21 February 2022
In this third thematic cluster, the Holy See would like to address four themes: peace, the digital compact, human rights mechanisms and the importance of legal identity.
[New agenda for peace]
“Today, the path of peace”, as Pope Francis recently stated, “remains sadly distant from the real lives of many men and women and thus from our human family, which is now entirely interconnected. Despite numerous efforts aimed at constructive dialogue between nations, the deafening noise of war and conflict is intensifying.” The Holy See, therefore, supports the Secretary-General’s call to focus on reducing strategic risks, strengthening international foresight, supporting regional cooperation, and investing in peacebuilding – including efforts to “reduce excessive military budgets and ensure adequate social spending.”
In this regard, the Holy See wishes to recall the need for a peaceful world with stronger and more cooperative approach to arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament, and to reaffirm its proposal for the establishment of a Global Fund “with the money spent on weapons and other military expenditures […], that can finally put an end to hunger and favour development in the most impoverished countries, so that their citizens will not resort to violent or illusory solutions, or have to leave their countries in order to seek a more dignified life.”
The first words of the UN Charter strongly commit this Organization to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war which […] has brought – and sadly continues to bring – untold sorrow to mankind.” Advancing a world free of nuclear weapons — in accordance with the General Assembly’s very first resolution — is and must remain central to this promise. Toward this end, States must move away from the policy of deterrence, which drives the arms race and generates a dehumanizing technological environment that aggravates mistrust among nations. In fact, as Pope John XXIII said, “true and lasting peace among nations consists not in an equal supply of armaments, but in mutual trust alone.” Verification begets trust among nations and, therefore, the Holy See strongly endorses verifiable disarmament agreements. If we take into consideration the principal threats to peace and security with their many dimensions in this multipolar world of the twenty-first century as, for example, terrorism, asymmetrical conflicts, cybersecurity threats, environmental degradation not a few doubts arise regarding the inadequacy of nuclear deterrence as an effective response to such challenges. Additionally, States that possess nuclear weapons must reevaluate exorbitant spending in the production and deployment of their arsenals, especially insofar as we remain faced with a global pandemic of uncertain duration.
To advance peace in the world, “the United Nations [needs] to become a more effective international workshop for peace. This means that the members of the Security Council, especially the Permanent Members, must act with greater unity and determination.”
On the proposal for a Global Digital Compact, the Holy See recognizes the need for international cooperation and meaningful discussions “to protect the online space and strengthen its governance”, and will engage in the discussions on the proposed compact.
[Human rights mechanisms]
Concerning human rights mechanisms, the Secretary-General’s report rightly notes that “racism, intolerance and discrimination continue to exist in all societies.” The Holy See, in accordance with its particular nature and mission and in a spirit of cooperation, is engaged in combating all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Intolerance – as well as discrimination and violence – against religious believers is particularly concerning. Christians are among those who suffer the most. Such intolerance leads to restrictions on the right to hold and practice one’s religion freely and, in its most extreme forms, can lead to hostility, violence, and atrocious crimes. Sadly, individuals and entire populations often face discrimination and are persecuted because of their faith while perpetrators often enjoy impunity Let us not forget, disregard for the right to freedom of religion and belief leads to the violation of other fundamental human rights.
Regarding human rights mechanisms, the delegation of the Holy See notes that the presentation in Our Common Agenda does not fully align with the 2030 Agenda and may portend difficult negotiations among States.
Related to people on the move, the Holy See believes that greater efforts must be made in implementing the specific commitments relating to legal identity that are set out in the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact for Safely, Orderly and Regular Migration. In particular, States should commit themselves to addressing internal displacement coherently and effectively. Regarding legal identity, the Holy See concurs with the Secretary-General that migrants, refugees, internally displaced persons “require special attention, support and protection.” Moreover, addressing internal displacement coherently and effectively requires urgent action, as has been clearly outlined within the recently published, final Report of the UN High Level Panel on Internal Displacement. Moving forward, any approach must begin with the recognition that “[s]ituations of conflict and humanitarian emergencies, aggravated by climate change, are increasing the numbers of displaced persons and affecting people already living in a state of dire poverty. Many of the countries experiencing these situations lack adequate structures for meeting the needs of the displaced.”
Thank you, Mr. Vice-President.
 Pope Francis, Message for the celebration of the Fifty-Fifth World Day of Peace, 1 January 2022.
 Our Common Agenda – Report of the Secretary-General, n. 89e.
 Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti, 262.
 Charter of the United Nations, preamble.
 Pope John XXIII, Encyclical letter ‘Pacem in terris’, n. 113.
 Pope Francis, Message to the United Nations Conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination, 27 March 2017.
 Pope Francis, Address to the United Nations General Assembly at its 75th session, 25 September 2020.
 Our Common Agenda – Report of the Secretary-General, n. 93.
 Our Common Agenda – Report of the Secretary-General, n. 34.
 Our Common Agenda – Report of the Secretary-General, n. 36.
 Pope Francis, Address to the members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See, 9 January 2020.