||Posted: April 16 2007,13:22
It is not a good sign for UNESCO's commitment that a newly revised version of the draft Medium-Term Strategy presented by the Director-General to the March 2007 meeting of the Executive Board contains no additional reference to the culture of peace, although the Director-General says in his introduction that he has taken into consideration the Board's October 2007 discussion.
It would appear, however, that provision is being made in the new version of the draft Budget and Programme for 2008-2009 for some culture of peace actions by the Social Science sector. The new budget has 8 references to the culture of peace with regard to the Social Sciences Sector, as compared to none in the comparable document for 2006-2007. Most of the remaining references are to the inescapable obligations of UNESCO with regard to the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World, for which UNESCO retains one junior staff member and the culture of peace webpages on the UNESCO site.
It remains to be seen if UNESCO will once again play a substantial role in the culture of peace. Certainly, it has not done so over the past six years, as mentioned by a number of NGOs in their comments for the World Civil Society Report on the Culture of Peace in 2005. The following NGO quotation is typical:
|“UNESCO, whereas it was mandated by the United Nations to be the promoter for it, executive and responsible for this campaign [Decade for the Culture of Peace], has greatly reduced the number of coordinators and person in charge working on this dimension; the survival of the department is completely called in question. If a real will exists among the Member States of the United Nations, all signatories of this campaign, why this lack of reactions, means and achievements?” (from the section on |
Advice to the United Nations).
From time to time there are indications that the United Nations in New York might take more of a leadership role. The Summit Conference of the Member States at the UN General Assembly in 2005 called for the following in their Summit Document (paragraph 144) :
|"We reaffirm the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, as well as the Global Agenda for Dialogue among Civilizations and its Programme of Action, adopted by the General Assembly, and the value of different initiatives on dialogue among cultures and civilizations including the dialogue on interfaith cooperation. We commit to take action to promote a culture of peace and dialogue at local, national, regional and international levels, and request the Secretary-General to explore enhancing implementation mechanisms and to follow up on those initiatives. In this regard, we also welcome the Initiative of the Alliance of Civilizations announced by the Secretary-General on 14 July 2005."|
However, no action for a culture of peace was taken in response to Paragraph 144 by the outgoing Secretary-General Kofi Annan, nor has there been any positive indication from the new Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. Action requires funding and since the major powers stripped all funding from the 1999 Culture of Peace Resolution, there has not yet been any change in their position. One change, however, has been the commitment of Spain to funding for the Alliance of Civilizations initiative which is also mentioned in Paragraph 144.
In any case it is clear that the civil society must continue to take leadership if the global movement for a culture of peace is to advance.