Carlos Viteri | The importance of education, social justice, and equality for the promotion and maintenance of peace and international security of nations.
[Greeting in indigenous dialect] Good afternoon, thank you very much. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the Global Peace Integration Summit for this invitation given to the Assembly of Ecuador.
I am here with a colleague of the National Assembly, my colleague Fernando Flores (it's a pleasure to be here with you, Fernando). I also want to greet the entire diplomatic corps, and within the diplomatic corps, our Ambassador of Ecuador, Ambassador Galo Enriquez, and all of you who have gathered at this table.
I believe that this space is certainly important, extremely important to reflect and also to renew our energies, to renew our commitment, and with desire to start or initiate, or resume, or continue work for the common good.
I want to go to some ideas, I want to share with you some ideas that I think are important and that in many cases many of those who are here, and perhaps all of them, are already carrying forward.
I mean I'm going to start with the last one to finish with the introduction; unlike our first panelist, what a beautiful person, what a beautiful human being who pitifully had to abandon us, the senator of the sister Republic of Paraguay.
On the first day, the Colombian scientist Juan Carlos Borrero mentioned a topic, a very simple topic: Why do we not make a Good Housing Manual? It sounds very simple, it sounds very close at hand. And that seems very simple, I think it's not a bad idea; What's more, I consider it an extraordinary idea.
Of all that we have talked about here, we are talking about the planet, the lives of the planet, the inequities, the need for equity, the need for justice, the need for peace, why do not we start with these highly practical ideas? That from this conference from that space where each one of us is working to promote – and I want to make that proposal, I do not know if my namesake is here –, to start with the Good Housing Manual. And surely many of our standards in our countries have to do with and coincide with what must be the Manual of the Good Dweller.
Always in these meetings, and I say it with much respect and with much love also, always in these meetings we talk about how bad things are, we talk about dramatic figures or indicators, both in the social, and so much so in environmental matters; we show a series of diagnoses, very valid information by the way, a lot of information; and many talk about experiences, practical experiences in each of the places where we live.
And I think that, I do not want to say that everything has been said, I do not mean that knowledge or information about the reality of the world in which we live has reached a limit, but I do want to say that we need action, to act. We talk a lot about how many minorities live in opulence and how many do not have basic services, we talk much about that.
And I think it is extremely important, then, that you leave this conference, this Summit, with the commitment for action: act. We have information, we have indicators, we have knowledge, and there is technology: let's act.
As we have already seen some invaluable proposals and experiences, the situation of the indigenous peoples was discussed, I consider it very important to establish, establish an agenda of priorities, priorities that cannot be postponed, that we cannot avoid, that we cannot ignore, that we cannot turn a blind eye to; priorities to be met.
Ok, let's make together that, for example, in the agenda of priorities (be it in the legislative sphere, or in the field of social organization) we incorporate as an agenda of priorities the effective fulfillment of the rights of indigenous peoples. Let's make that commitment. That it appears at the top of the legislative agenda of the countries, that it appears as the head of the agenda of priorities of any planning process, of any process of subnational regulations, such as those of the municipal ordinances, for example; Let's do that, which is the only way to start landing ideas.
But to be put in the agenda of priorities to be fulfilled, because it is useless to fill us with a beautiful normative poetry, or in some cases constitutional, but that remains unfulfilled. Let us put in the order of priorities everywhere we begin to talk and regulate respect for the rights of nature. And I say this from the experience of a country like Ecuador, which has in its Constitution the recognition of the rights of Mother Nature.
Let's make the commitment for the action; that among the first issues on the agenda of priorities is not to reduce, not mitigate, but eradicate poverty, that which we know as conventionally, econometrically, monetary poverty; and evidently now other elements that are currently called multidimensional poverty are incorporated.
Let's make that an agenda, and make the commitment that we fulfill that agenda in a short time, in a truly short time. That must be the greatest ambition of civilization, of human society, of countries. The greatest ambition: to build equality, this is the greatest dream.
Let's change the whole theory of growth, let's stop talking about growth. Let's talk about justice, that this be the imperative in order to invest in values, to start walking in pursuit of those goals that all life requires.
We talk a lot about climate change and we already see the whole debate, all the debate that there was for the subject of the Paris Agreement; even today, with great respect, but respect does not make us blind either, one of the countries that contributed the most in CO2 emissions withdrew from the Paris Agreement, then withdrew from Unicef - Unesco.
In short, comrades, let us set the purpose that each one of us in each of our societies, beginning from that exercise of being a citizen, starting from society, and continue so that we begin to change the energy matrix. Let's start to free ourselves from that addiction to fossil fuels; but it is in the acts, in the acts. Let's say that is one of our dreams, one of our mobilizing ideals. I believe that we need action, go beyond the diagnoses; and, undoubtedly, many of us who are here are already on that path.
Evidently this implies thinking coherently about what we are talking about; not only with the life of the human being, but with all the lives of the planet. That is to say, that life in its essence is above capital; because here, takeing action regarding everything we have talked about here is not a matter of lack of resources, it is not a matter of lack of food; It was already mentioned here how much food is wasted, how much resource is poorly distributed. It is lack of will.
The problem, when the problem becomes lack of will, the problem becomes political, it is political. It is political not to take the common good, the responsibility that each one of us, that each country has, that each government has, that each world corporation has, with life, with the life of the planet, with human beings.
And from that, I want to tell you something about what I consider is and should be the goal that human beings and society as a whole should give as a civilizing leap; and that it is Sumak Kawsai, that the simplest translation is "a life in happiness,” living in happiness. Sumak Kawsai, is expressed in the shimi rune, that is, in my language (generically known as Quichua, I am Quichua of the province of Pastaza in Ecuador, which is in the Amazon of Ecuador), and from there we theorize this concept: Sumak, which is the ideal, the harmonious, the just, the beautiful; Kawsai, which is life; life in happiness or living in happiness. And I am mentioning this not as something romantic, but because after almost a quarter of a century of having theorized and debated in my country, today this concept is part of our Constitution, as an objective of the State to reach the Sumak Kawsai, which is the life in fullness, in happiness, in equity.
And I want very briefly to mention that Sumak Kawsai has a fundamental condition, and that is what has been discussed here, and that is what has to do with this conference topic, which is "The importance of education, social justice, and equality for the promotion and the maintenance of international peace and security of nations.”
The fundamental axis of Sumak Kawsai is knowledge. We say yachay, knowledge, a knowledge that is culturally composed of several aspects, among them that knowledge that is symbolically transmitted since the children are born, in symbolic terms, and the knowledge that is acquired from parents to children and in everyday life, knowledge that is owed —to which absolutely everyone must have access.
The fact that someone —and I am talking about my people— does not know about such matter, that is not normal, that is not normal, that is something dishonorable. Knowledge for all. And of course we can promote at the level ... in a larger context, at the level of the countries; and we must ensure the best free education for all. It is the principle of Sumak Kawsai: knowledge. To knowledge are added values; values that have to do ... values for solidarity, reciprocity, respect, respect between different people, of different ages, of different sexual identity, respect for the elderly; knowledge and values that come together when interacting with the environment, to interact with the environment; knowledge to take advantage of all that prodigious existence of nature for our economy, for our daily sustenance.
How can we not build a truly solidary economy, respectful of Mother Earth? An economy. If we have knowledge equitably, evidently, equitably, we will be able to distribute what exists in nature, we will access it; but at the same time I think that shows us that we can overcome that idea so negative for the whole world of the unlimited accumulation of material resources, the unlimited individual accumulation of resources, to move to share in solidarity, to generate reciprocal economic processes, to generate processes respectful of Mother Earth.
And there is a topic that is worth emphasizing: Without a doubt, humanity has to recover that notion of sacredness, that notion of respect beyond. Respect. Because if not, this turns against me; respect because you should respect, because there is something superior, something transcendental; recognize a transcendental dimension in nature.
That's why in the worldview of my people, for example ... and I'm not talking about past times that will not come back, I'm talking about the present, a lagoon is the stage of life, protected by the great spirit; a mountain, a hill, a big tree.
Within the depths of the water it is conceived that there are mythical communities, communities like the one of the surface; they teach us from birth, from youth. And from there comes the explanation of why we should not destroy the waters, why we should protect it.
Surely the rest of the world, Western society must recover this notion that there is something transcendental in nature, and we will change our behavior.
But on the other hand I mentioned the respect between the different. There have never been wars and there are no wars, and there are no conflicts. 1and I'm not saying that there are no conflicts; there is no mortal that does not have conflicts. There never existed wars by territory or by subjecting one to another. Warrior peoples have always existed in the Amazon, but for other reasons; reasons of shamanism, secular revenges, in short, but not to subjugate another, not to dominate the other, not to subdue the other, not to subjugate another. There was that conflict, but above all there is respect for the self-determination and identity of each people.
That is, Sumak Kawsai has the elements that, applied in a larger context, according to my point of view, can even allow us to go beyond that concept that we inherited from ancient Greece: democracy. From my point of view, Sumak Kawsai is the ideal social order for happiness and harmonious coexistence between the human being and Mother Nature.
I invite you to make that social pact for Sumak Kawsai. Development? There will always be development, and everyone considers, as well as I, what conditions we have reduced the planet to in the name of development. In the language of my people there is no such term, there is no idea that a human group or a person has to go from the most critical condition of life, from the most precarious to a condition of abundance, no. Nor does the word poverty exist in my language, nor in many ancestral languages.
The sense of human effort, the sense of knowledge, the sense of values is to permanently create and recreate those conditions of happiness, of harmony, where inequality is an aberration, where poverty is something abnormal, it is something that does not have to exist. That is the big difference.
That is why I invite you beginning from this conference, to think about this new social pact by Sumak Kawsai, to go beyond the limitations of democracy, which is supposed to be the structure, the social organization for an ideal life; it has limitations, enormous limitations, enormous limitations! Sumak Kawsai is the alternative way, from my point of view, to that concept.
I think that if we take stock of the last half century of humanity, it has synonyms: Climate change, inequality, everything that implies climate change, everything that implies inequities, conflicts, conflicts and wars, that promote, by the way, countries that are an example of democracy in the world.
I invite you to make the new social pact for Sumak Kawsai, which is possible; and that part of the worldview of my people and the worldview of many peoples. To see the world from the just vision that must be seen, that is, in its real integrality.
In this context, dear comrades, I also believe that we must move forward in aspects such as (a concrete idea that has already been put forward and one of those currently led by President Evo Morales) the Universal Declaration of the Rights of the Mother Nature; Let's move forward with that, let's promote that, it seems to me that it would also be an extremely important leap.
Comrades, I hope I have given some ideas, added some ideas to what in my country, in a Constitutional framework that includes this paradigm, which is the Sumak Kawsai, and that is declared a Plurinational State like the sister Republic of Bolivia, that we may advance with real facts, stepping on the earth, without looking for the good savage in the case of peoples and nationalities, without looking for museum peoples, but for peoples that, without losing our worldview and our identity, want and are contributing so that this planet does not collapse. On the contrary, we can all be saved. Thank you very much.
Thank you very much to the Assemblyman of the Republic of Ecuador.