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Question: Will UNESCO once again play a role in the culture of peace? CPNN article: Executive Board of UNESCO reaffirms Culture of Peace as a Priority
CPNN Administrator
Posted: Dec. 31 1999,17:00

This discussion question applies to the following articles:

Executive Board of UNESCO reaffirms Culture of Peace as a Priority
El desarrollo sostenible y la cultura de la paz, en el centro de la 36ª reunión de la Conferencia General de la UNESCO
Sustainable development and culture of peace at the heart of the 36th session of UNESCO’s General Conference
Le développement durable et culture de la paix au cœur de la 36e session de la Conférence générale de l'UNESCO
Le forum international de réflexion sur la culture de la paix en Afrique de l’ouest ouvert lundi à Abidjan
The International Forum of Reflection on the Culture of Peace in Africa opened in Abidjan
Les chemins de la culture de la paix: concours international pour la compréhension mutuelle
Pathways to a Culture of Peace: Global Contest for Mutual Understanding
Forum Panafricain sur la culture de la paix en Afrique
Angola y UNESCO rubrican acuerdo sobre fórum de cultura de paz
Angola, UNESCO sign peace culture forum deal
Construire une culture de la paix en Afrique
Building a culture of peace in Africa
Participants in the Pan-African Forum Recommend the Valorization of African Culture
Création d’un Réseau de fondations et d’institutions de recherche pour la promotion d’une culture de la paix en Afrique
Establishment of a Network of Foundations and Research Institutions for the Promotion of a Culture of Peace in Africa
At World Culture Forum, a Call for Openness and Understanding (Indonesia)
Mali : une collégienne rêve la paix en poésie et remporte un prix
Young Malian aged 15 wins “Pathways to a Culture of Peace” contest
Afrique: Sources et Ressources pour une Culture de la Paix
África: Fundamentos e recursos para uma cultura de paz
Sources and Resources for a Culture of Peace in Africa
Towards the creation of a network of women for a culture of peace in Africa
25th anniversary of the International Congress on Peace in the Mind of Men,Yamoussoukro
25ème anniversaire du Congrès International sur la paix dans l'esprit des hommes à Yamoussoukro
Libreville Forum Panafricain: Jeunesse africaine et le défi de la promotion de la culture de la paix en Afrique
Libreville Pan-African Forum: African Youth and the Challenge of the promotion of Culture of Peace in Africa
Lancement du réseau jeunesse et culture de la paix en Afrique
Launch of the Network Youth and Culture of Peace in Africa
Segunda conferência internacional sobre a cultura da paz em África
Second international conference on the culture of peace in Africa
Gabon: Pan-African Youth Forum for the Culture of Peace and the Fight Against Radicalization for the Creation of an Early Warning System in Central Africa
Making Waves: Local radio transforming perceptions of gender-based violence in Africa
Gabon: Pan-African youth commit to fight against radicalization and to promote a culture of peace

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Profile PM 
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.
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David Adams
Posted: Nov. 02 2011,06:40

The news from the 36th General Conference of UNESCO is very encouraging for the Global Movement for a Culture of Peace.  In the decade since the departure of Director-General Federico Mayor, UNESCO did little for the culture of peace despite the fact that it was supposed to be responsible for the UN Decade 2001-2010.  Now, it seems from the latest news that this may change.

Credit for this needs to go to two courageous women ambassadors who have worked behind the scenes all these years to put the culture of peace back as a priority: Anaisabel Prera of Guatemala and Aziza Bennani of Morocco.

In my opinion the Global Movement should continue to be led by the civil society, which has been the case for all great social movements in the past, but the involvement of UNESCO once again can provide a focal point and a source of inspiration.  It is ironic that it comes at a time of budgetary retreat due to the withdrawal of funding by the United States, but movements are not institutions; they do not need budgets, but rather the consciousness and action of the people.

One is reminded of the line so wisely placed into the preamble of the Constitution of UNESCO in 1946: "that a peace based exclusively upon the political and economic arrangements of governments would not be a peace which could secure the unanimous, lasting and sincere support of the peoples of the world, and that the peace must therefore be founded, if it is not to fail, upon the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind."
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Profile PM 
Alan Blanes
Posted: Jan. 07 2012,13:56

The Global Movement for the Culture of Peace has been vindicated as an essential platform that will enable human civilization to replace militarism as the means by which we allocate international values.

We need to revisit the blockade of funded actions in support of the International Decade, from the decision in 1999. In my view, this decision has resulted in inexcusable delay in the removal of militarism and has allowed the military structure to be given free reign to inflict atrocities on populations in many theaters of action. Civil society cannot gain traction, unless authoritative allocation of values by governments acknowledges the kinds of programming that will replace the use of force internationally.

I invite all proponents of the International Culture of Peace Initiative to begin to think about how the Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights might be used as a baseline for all legislation at all levels of government in all countries. This would enable legislators to understand that self determination support is essential in our public policy decisions. This would be a useful context for the creation of bylaws that govern local policy on homelessness, for example. It would create comprehension that self help organizing among the homeless is a primary policy goal, rather than supporting band aid prescriptive ideas like fining people for being homeless. These incoherent bylaws demonstrate how the Covenants of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights have not been thought through by local decision makers in far too many cases. In would be very valuable if the major powers would fund a program to enable local governments to understand their governance functions in the context of our international standards. The organizations that could aid this process, such as the World Movement for the Culture of Peace and the Occupy Movement could help further the dialogue on how to create a strategy on these goals.
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Profile PM 
CPNN Administrator
Posted: June 11 2012,09:21

It is very appropriate that this new impulse for the culture of peace at UNESCO should come from Côte d’Ivoire, since the global movement for a culture of peace was initiated at a UNESCO conference in that country in 1989.  See Yamoussoukro and Seville in the early history of the culture of peace.

Note added on September 2:

The official reports from the UNESCO Conference in Abidjian are now available:


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