I was extremely moved by my visit to the Community of Sant’Egidio last year, when I witnessed your support for refugees and migrants. The United Nations is proud to work side by side with you.
Today, the world confronts a complex set of crises not seen in a generation. Violence and civil wars are a daily reality for millions of people across the world. The number of people forced from their homes by conflict is the highest since the Second World War. Extremists are exploiting inequality and vulnerability with murderous ideologies.
These challenges are enormous, but they are not insurmountable. Your work points the way forward. The International Meeting for Peace, with its inter-religious and inter-cultural character, reaffirms that it is only through dialogue and negotiation that we can find sustainable solutions to violence.
At a time of increasing social division, domestically and globally, we all have a crucial role to play in fostering mutual understanding and in promoting peace in our lives, based on our common values and aspirations.
Peace may be elusive, but it is not a mystery. It is a result of hard work, mediation, conflict resolution and reconciliation. It comes from the vision of a world in which people share the benefits of peace and prosperity on a healthy planet.
Global leaders demonstrated this vision last year, when they agreed on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; a roadmap to peace and prosperity for all nations. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are our tools to fight poverty and hunger, inequality and the competition for resources that leads to tension and conflict.
Thank you all for using your tremendous influence as religious and community leaders to promote peace. Let us work side by side to strengthen the defences of peace that are so badly needed today.
Thank you, and I wish you a peaceful and fruitful meeting.”