Early History of the Culture of Peace
General Assembly Resolutions:
II. The Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace
Page 21


Introduction and UNESCO's Mandate
Page 1

Yamousoukro and Seville Statement
Page 2

Origins and Executive Board Adoption
Pages 3 - 4

Launching the Programme: El Salvador and Roundtable
Pages 5 - 6 - 7

1993 General Conference
Page 8

National Projects
Pages 9 - 10

Programme Unit
Page 11

Toward a Global Scope
Pages 12 - 13

Transdisciplinary Project and Human Right to Peace
Pages 14 - 15 - 16

1997: A New Approach
Page 17

UN General Assembly Resolutions
Page 18

Resolution for International Year
Page 19

Declaration and Programme of Action
Pages 20 - 21

Resolution for International Decade
Pages 22 - 23

Training Programmes
Page 24

Global Movement
Pages 25 - 26

Publicity Campaign
Pages 27 - 28

Decentralized Network
Pages 29 - 30

Manifesto 2000
Page 31

Use of Internet
Pages 32 - 33

Future of the Culture of Peace
Pages 34 - 35 - 36 - 37 - 38

Annexes and Documentation
Page 39

Postscript


(continued from previous page)

The birth process of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace was long and arduous - a nine month series of "informals" that coincided with the War in Kosovo and that had to overcome opposition from the European Union and the United States. Already at the first informal of 2 December 1998, as described in the report from Ms Sibal at the New York office, the European Union tried to send the document back to UNESCO. However, this was overcome, thanks to the strong leadership of Ambassador Anwaral Chowdhury and the presence of at least 45 countries, mostly from the South, in the small crowded room. Later, at the informals of 6 May 1999, as mentioned above, the US delegate stated that peace should not be elevated to the category of human right, otherwise it will be very difficult to start a war, while the European Union required the elimination of all reference to the culture of war. Further changes were demanded at the informals of 8-14 July.

The changes made during the informals weakened the Declaration by politicising it and losing much of the ethical tone which had hoped would make it an enduring document. Among the provisions eliminated were the respect for democratic principles in international relations, reference to the "deep cultural roots" of war, and the reference to promotion of a "global movement for a speedy transition from a culture of war and violence to a culture of peace and non-violence in the new millennium", as well as reference to the culture of peace as a "process of individual, collective and institutional transformation" and to promotion of a culture of peace as an element of UN reform. On the other hand, the Programme of Action was retained in most respects, and was even strengthened by recognizing international peace and security, including disarmament, as a legitimate domain of action. However, a few key provisions were eliminated, including "reform of management practices . . . that corresponds to the principles of a culture of peace" and "research on experiences of national truth and reconciliation commissions." Also eliminated was reference to the establishment of a voluntary fund whereby governmental and private agencies could provide financial support for the programme.

On the last possible day of the 53rd session of the General Assembly, 13 September 1999, resolution A/53/243 was adopted, thanks to the patience and firmness of its "mid-wife", Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury. In presenting the document, the Ambassador said that it brought in subjects that the Assembly had rarely touched in its 50 year history: "I believe that this document is unique in more than one way. It is a universal document in the real sense, transcending boundaries, cultures, societies and nations. Unlike many other General Assembly documents, this document is action-oriented and encourages actions at all levels . . . All people from all walks of life and all sorts of backgrounds can contribute to its implementation."

Implementation on the programme of action was taken up by the UN Administrative Committee of Coordination 29-30 October 1999 responding to a UNESCO proposal for an approach based on "results-based management". However, this approach was not followed up. Implementation was again considered by the General Assembly in the UN resolution on the International Decade of 29 November 2000 (see below) with a request for reports in 2005 and [implied] at the end of the Decade in 2010. On 26-27 February 2001 the High Level Committee on Programmes of the ACC, approved a proposal that each UN agency should name a focal point to work with UNESCO during the Decade in the preparation of indicators and reports for the implementation of the Programme of Action. The eight domains of action of the Programme of Action are highlighted on the first page of the Medium-Term Strategy for UNESCO 2002-2007.

Meetings to develop indicators for the Programme of Action were convened in Seoul in June 2001 and Tokyo in September 2002. The meetings were sponsored by the Peace Forum associated with the Munhwa Ilbo Daily of Seoul and joined in 2002 by the United Nations University. They planned to put up a website where countries, cities, NGOs and other organizations could construct their own index to measure progress during the Decade 2001-2010.


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