They had to listen! Lobbying for a culture of peace at the UN
un articulo por Josefina Lofgren
Who would have thought that the UN could be a place where young people from non-governmental organisations could make their voices heard and their work be spoken highly of in the General Assembly?
Traditionally believed (and perhaps correctly so) to be an immovable bureaucracy where change is slow to happen, 7 young people stirred up the culture of peace debate at the United Nations in October 2005. Feeling that key countries and institutions at the UN had not understood the full extent of the global civil society movement, it was time to put the UN spotlight on the rich plethora of activities going on around the globe.
Visiting 48 Permanent Missions, meeting the President of the General Assembly and lobbying anyone who is anyone at the UN resulted in publicity, recognition and change! Specifically, the following outcomes were a direct result of two weeks of lobbying:
• A General Assembly Resolution on the Culture of Peace was amended to clearly recognise the important role played by civil society and acknowledging the mid-decade report in particular.
• The 2005 Mid-Decade World Civil Society Report, containing contributions from over 700 organisations in 100 countries, was submitted to the Secretary General to be published as a UN document.
• Several countries made statements on behalf of youth and the mid-decade report when the culture of peace was discussed in the General Assembly on October 20th, including the lead culture of peace country Bangladesh, as well as the European Union.
The activities and results achieved are proof that the actions undertaken by individuals can have a real impact on global processes. We, the youth, are proud to be part of the global movement for a culture of peace and invite others to take initiative, inspire and be inspired and never, never, take no for an answer!
For more information, see http://www.decade-culture-of-peace.org/youth.html.
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What is the United Nations doing for a culture of peace?,
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Since the adoption in 1999 of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace by the UN General Assembly, it has been supported by the developing countries and not supported by the rich countries of Europe, United States, Japan, Canada and Australia.
For example, here is the list of sponsors and co-sponsors of the General Assembly resolution on the culture of peace in 2010 at the end of the Culture of Peace Decade: Afghanistan, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Guyana, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Peru, Russian Federation, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Qatar, Togo, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Vietnam.
The greatest number of sponsors on the culture of peace resolution came at the midpoint of the Decade in 2005: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Yemen and Zambia. These 102 countries are more than half of all countries represented in the General Assembly, but as can be seen, there is no country from among the "great powers."