Mr. Peter Haider, Coordinator, IAPP Europe & Middle East
Peter Haider has been President of the Universal Peace Federation in Austria since 2005. He initiated already in 1984 the "Forum Religion und Weltgestaltung" as a platform for interreligious encounters in evening discussions and symposia in Vienna. Since 2009, he has organized with UPF Austria several NGO conferences in the UN in Vienna. He is also the coordinator of IAPP for Europe and the Middle East and in Austria, where IAPP was inaugurated in 2017 with a conference on the topic "Perspectives for Sustainable Peace in Europe: The UN Vision, the Role of Parliamentarians and Civil Society".
Since its inception, the Universal Peace Federation has worked closely with parliamentarians from around the world to build a world of lasting peace, based on universal principles. The founders of the Universal Peace Federation, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, launched the global “Parliamentarians for Peace” initiative already in 2001 and had national inauguration events since 2016.
As we know, our world faces a wide range of problems, including territorial disputes, religious and racial conflict, environmental degradation, climate change, violent extremism, poverty, hunger, nuclear proliferation and corruption. Each of these are serious threats to human development and to the realization of peace in our world.
We should especially be mindful that the Korean peninsula remains divided. North Korea continues to develop its nuclear weapons program, raising serious concerns all over the world that military tensions are rising throughout Northeast Asia. Even now, 70 years after the beginning of the Korean War, it remains impossible to communicate or freely travel between the two nations.
Parliamentarians for Peace have the opportunity to identify a number of issues:
- Address the root causes of problems by engaging in and encouraging self-reflection and self-evaluation.
- Combat corruption through the exercise of their vote on various budgetary issues and by supporting not only traditional academic education but also values education.
- Work to establish bi-partisan peacebuilding committees.
- In nations/regions where conflict is endemic and people have lost hope for genuine peace, conduct Ambassadors for Peace programs and seminars to rebuild hope and confidence.
- Work across sectors and as groups to eradicate corruption that knows no boundaries.
- Support the partnership between religion and politics as a substantive means to target daily behavior for real transparency.
I want to finish with some words, which the founder of the IAPP, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon spoke in London in September 2016 at the inauguration of IAPP Europe and Middle East: “In building an eternal world of peace each nations political leaders must possess a moral character and follow ethical values and the voice of the conscience. The world will change when the world’s parliamentarians unite and cooperate for the sake of peace.” And I would add: “In line with the SDGs of the UN.”