UN endorses stand on moderation

FRIDAY Dec 8, 2017 was a landmark date for the movement of moderation when the United Nations, at the 72nd General Assembly, adopted a resolution tabled by Malaysia, and co-sponsored by 29 member nations.

The resolution, tabled by the Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the United Nations, Datuk Seri Muhammad Shahrul Ikram Yaakob, was led by Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates, which, among others called on the international community to promote moderation as a value advancing peace and security in addition to calling for the international recognition and advocacy for Global Movement of Moderates (GMM).

Malaysia is of the view that the approach of moderation could reinforce the advancement of the three pillars of the United Nations, namely, peace and security, development and human rights.

The adoption of the resolution, which the writer believes is premised upon the progress of the United Nations Security Council resolution 2354 (2017) that welcomes comprehensive international frameworks in countering terrorist narratives, serves as an important step in advancing the agenda of moderation with regards to addressing extremism in all forms, which pose a serious threat to international peace and security.

Moderation is about inclusion, mutual respect, tolerance, acceptance as well as choosing negotiations over confrontation.

The adoption of the resolution reinforces the concept of working together in building a more secure and peaceful world.

The UN’s nod for moderation means the global movement of moderates can serve as a 
platform for the agendas of governments, UN agencies and others in countering violent extremism.

Given moderation’s emphasis on tolerance, understanding, dialogue and mutual respect, it is a vital tool to bridge differences and resolve disputes.

The votes received itself speaks for moderation.

The resolution received 135 “ayes” to 2 “nays”, with zero abstentions.

Every nation had the opportunity to join the discourse.

Now that the resolution is behind us, we sincerely look forward to engaging with all parties and nations to promote a global culture of peaceful coexistence.

All the 193 nations of the world and other actors need to work together in building peaceful coexistence among the global community.

The GMM story is one of a long and arduous journey.

GMM, which began as a Malaysian initiative, worked its way through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

From this regional platform, GMM is poised to play a global role through international bodies such as the UN.

Malaysia realised long ago that it was unable to go it alone, rather it required the spirit of the Asean community to propel the message and voice of moderation to the global stage.

It is therefore most gratifying that during the tabling of the resolution, all Asean member nations were on board, advocating it as co-sponsors.

The Global Movement of Moderates Foundation (GMMF) remembers the words of the late Asean secretary-general, Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, who died just days before the tabling of the resolution.

Speaking during his GMMF Distinguished Lecture, he had remarked: “GMM is that vehicle for us to go onwards. GMM is a substance that can go to the Middle East, Afghanistan, to any extreme and violent regions in the world and show them the fact that we have travelled so far … but now, we managed to be out of poverty, from revenge of war after World War II, colonialism and struggle into a community of respectable nations.”

He would no doubt have shared in the enthusiasm of how these band of regional brothers had collectively promoted what he had then termed as “the soul and substance” of Asean.

Euphoria aside, GMMF recognises the diligence and hard work of the Permanent Mission of Malaysia to the United Nations throughout the process of getting the resolution passed.

As I have previously mentioned, the act of convincing the international community through diplomacy is no small feat, and GMMF thanks the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for supporting us.

On GMMF’s part, the foundation is already doubling not only its endeavours and close engagements with Wisma Putra but also with embassies and high commissions of Asean and European regions.

GMMF is working at the global level through planned strategic alliances with countries in the Middle East, Latin America and Africa.

These engagements not only serve as a continuation of current strategies mandated at local and regional levels within the context of the Langkawi Declaration but are also aimed at fulfilling the spirit of the resolution on moderation that was successfully adopted in the UN.

Datuk Dr Nasharudin Mat Isa is the executive chairman and chief executive officer of GMM

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