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Member States Support Culture of Peace at the UN
an article by David Adams, CPNN Coordinator

Video: UN Forum on Culture of Peace

As mentioned in last month's CPNN bulletin, there were high-level meetings on the culture of peace at United Nations Headquarters in New York on September 14 and 21. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon spoke at both meetings (see CPNN articles on September 16 and September 22 ). Many member states attended the meetings, some of them taking the floor to speak. Here are some of their remarks, details of which may be found in the video listed above.

The representative of Benin speaking on the culture of peace (from UN video)

click on photo to enlarge

The representative from Bangladesh recalled the adoption of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace in 1999, and the annual UN resolutions for a culture of peace each year since then, for which his country has taken the leadership role. He called for a global transition from a mindset of culture of war to a mindset of culture of peace with the participation of all sectors, governments, international organizations, civil society, NGOs, young people, private sector, community leaders, religious leaders, teachers, artists, journalists, humanitarian workers and more importantly media .

The representative of Benin put his emphasis on education for values and the common good for all humanity. He recalled that Benin went through a political crisis at the beginning of the 90s which was resolved through dialogue and the establishment of democracy based on justice and human rights.

The representative from Costa Rica deplored the continued growth in weapons expenditures and the failure of the United Nations to adopt the small arms treaty in July of this year, which was a "sombre moment for peace and human dignity.". As for Costa Rica, he said that it has made peace a policy of the State, including hosting of the University for Peace, and being one of the very few countries that has abolished its standing army.

The representative of El Salvador recalled the adoption in 1999 of the "historic resolution", the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace. He considered that an authentic culture of peace is a great challenge, not only politically, but also at the collective level of individual consciousness development and that the United Nations, in this regard, represents humanity's hope that a better world is possible.

The representative from Guatemala recalled over 30 years of internal conflict in his country before the 1996 peace accords and that the culture of peace resolution of 1999 has served as a source of inspiration in the 15 years since then.

The representatives from Kazakhstan and the Phillipines called for the UN to adopt an international decade (2013-2022) for the rapprochement of cultures which has been proposed by UNESCO.

The representative from the Philippines also emphasized the synergy between interfaith dialogue and a culture of peace

The representative from South Africa criticized the continued adoption of violence by many countries, recalling that violence begets violence. He highlighted the role of his country in creating stability and conditions for sustainable development in Africa, and he quoted Mandela at his inauguration as President: "let there be justice for all and let there be peace for all." He concluded that fostering an enduring culture of peace is a transnational agenda in our time.


Question(s) related to this article:

What is the United Nations doing for a culture of peace?,

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Following the Second High Level Forum of the United Nations on the Culture of Peace, Anwarul Chowdhury, a former Under-Secretary General of the UN, had this to say about what the UN is doing for a culture of peace.  His remarks were published by the Independent European Daily Express.

Civil society worldwide has been in the forefront of the global movement for the culture of peace, working diligently and patiently at the grassroots level, he said.

"I find it is the governments and power structures which are the most persistent foot-draggers with regard to advancing the culture of peace through policy steps and action," said Chowdhury, a former U.N. under-secretary-general and currently representing civil society and the Global Movement for the Culture of Peace. . .  

The United Nations, he pointed out, has shown great vision by adopting its historic, norm-setting Declaration and PoA on the Culture of Peace in 1999, but has not been organised enough in making the document a system-wide flagship effort of the world body.

"I am a believer that the world, particularly the governments, will come to realise its true value and usefulness sooner than later," Chowdhury said.

This report was posted on September 24, 2012.