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South African parliamentarian involved in world peace declaration



Democratic Alliance member of the National Assembly, Darren Bergman, represented South Africa as a Parliamentarian For Peace (P4P) at the World Normandy Peace Forum last week.

Bergman, the shadow minister for international relations and cooperation, was one of 10 parliamentarians from around the world who worked together over two months to formulate a peace policy platform.

On Friday, 2 October, the P4P presented its peace declaration at the World Normandy Peace Forum.

According to Bergman, the declaration suggests political solutions to help resolve political tensions. “It also calls on international leaders to enhance efforts for sustainable peace,” he said.

The Normandy World Peace Forum is an international event initiated by the Normandy region, attended by heads of state, academics, and political specialists in Caen, usually just before the anniversary of D-Day and the battle of Normandy. It provides an annual opportunity to discuss global tension and peace-building. The main goal is to build bridges and foster sustainable peace solutions.

This year, because of the global pandemic, many of the events were held virtually for those who could not travel to the Abbaye Aux Dames in Caen.

The P4P brings together diverse parliamentarians to highlight impactful policy solutions for peace guided by shared principles.

Bergman said although he did not meet the parliamentarians face to face because of COVID-19, the experience was “extremely valuable”.

“Ten of us from around the world in similar positions, but with different political outlooks and environments, were put together to find common purpose in two short months in this prestigious programme. I had the opportunity to network with interesting people who share a common objective of trying to find solutions to everyday world problems.”

The parliamentarians worked on the three main factors threatening peace: environmental deterioration, social upheaval, and the digital revolution.

They worked jointly to design transnational legislative work to address new threats to global peace in the areas of education, social policies, environment protection, sustainable development, and new technology and innovation.

Participants were invited from France, South Africa, Brazil, Norway, Canada, Senegal, Lebanon, the United Kingdom, India, and Taiwan.

“I have had the pleasure of representing our region, but to represent the continent and to push the issues most important to me in terms of global conflict and human rights is great especially when I have the opportunity to push the United Nations reform agenda,” said Bergman.

“The ‘take home’ for me was that no matter where in the world one is, the issues will be universal, but some might be perpetrators and some might be victims. We tried to ensure that this wasn’t just another peace proposal in words, but something that would be welcomed at the Normandy World Peace Forum and then introduced in regional and national parliaments. Ironically, my first spin off came a day later when I sat on a panel at a UN forum to discuss reforms to the UN.”

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