Introduction and UNESCO's Mandate
Yamousoukro and Seville Statement
Origins and Executive Board Adoption
Pages 3 - 4
Launching the Programme: El Salvador and Roundtable
Pages 5 - 6 - 7
1993 General Conference
Pages 9 - 10
Toward a Global Scope
Pages 12 - 13
Transdisciplinary Project and Human Right to Peace
Pages 14 - 15 - 16
1997: A New Approach
UN General Assembly Resolutions
Resolution for International Year
Declaration and Programme of Action
Pages 20 - 21
Resolution for International Decade
Pages 22 - 23
Pages 25 - 26
Pages 27 - 28
Pages 29 - 30
Use of Internet
Pages 32 - 33
Future of the Culture of Peace
Pages 34 - 35 - 36 - 37 - 38
Annexes and Documentation
As mentioned in the previous section, the role of the United Nations for a culture of peace is limited by the fact that the policies of its constituent members, the nation-states of the world, especially the most powerful of these states, give priority to the culture of war. Despite this, some ambassadors and statesmen have managed to rise above these national priorities, we owe it to them that we have obtained the United Nations programmes and resolutions, as well as the International Year and Decade devoted to a culture of peace..
The peacekeeping operations of the United Nations are seen by some people as a step toward a culture of peace; they may well continue and in some cases alleviate violence and suffering. However, peacekeeping is always undertaken by the powerful nations and directed against the poor nations. It tends to reinforce the military superiority of the powerful and mask their role in the culture of war, as pointed out by the African diplomats at UNESCO (see above in section "From National Programmes to a Project of Global Scope."). The emphasis on the South reflects what can be called the "epidemic" analysis of violence. It assumes that violence is something that has been "caught" like a disease among the people of the South and the epidemic has to be stopped there before it traveled by contagion to the North. Ironically, one basis for this analysis came from wars started by the North. After the wars in Vietnam (for the United States) and Algeria (for the French), there was social unrest among returning Negro veterans in the US (the Black Panther Party, etc.) and from immigrants from North Africa in France. There is something inherently racist about this "epidemic" analysis. As an alternative to the "epidemic" approach, we should adopt a "public health" approach that takes into consideration the questions posed above by the African diplomats, and which identifies and addresses the underlying systemic causes of the culture of war and violence.
In order for the United Nations to play its full role in promoting a culture of peace, the priorities of its Member States must be transformed from the culture of war to the culture of peace. The only way that I can imagine this happening is at the hands of the Global Movement for a Culture of Peace that is not only struggling for a transformation of national priorities, but also living up to the principles of a culture of peace in the way it carries out the struggle. We are not likely to hear much news of this movement from the commercial mass media, since the mass media is very much in the employ of the culture of war. Instead, we need to invent and use new tools of communication such as the Internet in order to exchange ideas and information and gain inspiration from each other in the struggles to come. The Culture of Peace News Network is an example of this approach.
From the beginning the culture of peace has been conceived as an inclusive process. This was underlined in the very first formulation of the culture of peace for the UNESCO Executive Board in document 140 EX/28 in 1992, which stated:
The emphasis would be on channeling the energies of peoples into a common struggle which would benefit everyone. The guiding principles would be that each person has something to learn from everyone else, and has something to give in return. New communication alternatives would help integrate and make these programmes known to everyone.
As far as I know, the resolution A/53/243, the Declaration and Programme of Action adopted in 1999, is the first time that the UN Member States adopted a resolution calling for a social movement. And the resolution is quite explicit in stating that the movement includes not only the United Nations and the Member States, but also the civil society. Further, it provides a list of those playing a key role as individuals, starting with parents and teachers and ending with managers at various levels. This total inclusiveness of the movement means that no one should be labeled as the "enemy" and excluded from the movement.
Introducing the Declaration and Programme of Action before the UN General Assembly on 13 September 1999, Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury who, more than anyone else, was responsible for its passage, made the following statement: "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, be they at the level of the individual, the community, the nation or the region, or at the global and international levels. The document also brings together the various actors who have a role in advancing a culture of peace. They include States, international organizations, civil society, community leaders, parents, teachers, artists, professors, journalists, humanitarian workers - in a way, all people from all walks of life and all sorts of backgrounds can contribute to its implementation."
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