As we enter a new year, it is a good time to review the peace initiatives of 2018 and ask if they continue to advance. Let us consider the themes of the monthly bulletins of 2018..
December: Europe meets and marches for peace. The most recent demonstrations are those of the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) in France as analyzed this month in an article from Pressenza. The title,”where democracy is on the march!” , reflects the conviction of the author that the movement is a profound protest against governmental policies that favor big industry and finance instead of the interests of the average citizen. The movement has spread from France and is now active in at least 22 other countries around the world.
November. Nobel Peace Prize: End sexual violence. The fight goes on. This month there were mass rallies protesting violence against women in Argentina (#niunamenos) and Israel, as well as activity under the name #niunamenos in Bolivia. And Amnesty International has devoted its annual review to the theme “Oppressive, sexist policies galvanize bold fight for women’s rights in 2018.”
October. International Day of Peace. Using the same methodology in 2018 as that used in 2017, we found even more events than ever around the world for the International Day of Peace. The number of events we could find was almost doubled in North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
September. Progress towards peace in the Phiippines, Ethiopia, Colombia. Progress continues as shown during the last month,. We have carried an article on the Mindanao Week of Peace in the Philippines, a speech praising the Mother Ambassadors for Peace by the President of Ethiopia, and three articles from Colombia: remarks by the newly-elected President of Colombia to the National Peace Council, opening of the Truth Commission born out of the peace agreement, and an article entitled “Colombia’s rural radio stations are a key to peace.”
August. Progress in sustainable development, including reforestation projects, divestment from fossil fuels and progress in renewable energy. Progress continues in recent months in the divestment from fossil fuels as well as in a scientific breakthrough for renewable solar energy. On the other hand, it is not surprising that the international meeting of COP24 was considered by climate activists to have been a failure.
July. Slow news for peace from Africa. In December, we carry no less than 9 articles about the culture of peace coming from Nigeria, Angola, Niger, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Darfur West Sudan Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon and Mali, as well as a Report of the Commission on Elections in Africa of the African Union Peace and Security Council.
June. Nuclear disarmament. Unfortunately, there seems to be no progress towards nuclear disarmament since the United Nations canceled the High-Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament that was scheduled to open on May 14.
April. US students against gun violence. It is not clear if there is progress on this front in the United States, but the students who initiated the March for Our Lives, the American mass movement against gun violence were recently awarded the International Children’s Peace Prize for 2018. They received the prize from Archbishop Desmond Tutu during a special ceremony held in Cape Town, South Africa.
March. Solidarity in Korea, Mexico, UN Alliance of Civilizations. We have mentioned above the progress in Korea. As for Mexico, there is good news that Mexico City has elected its first woman mayor who promised “to lead an honest, open, democratic, austere, inclusive government that acts with, for and for the citizenship, without distinction of party, religion or socioeconomic level, but putting all our effort to make of this, a city of rights, with justice and that diminishes the still serious social inequalities,” And we carry an article by a youth participant in the Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations: “# Commit2Dialogue: Partnerships for Prevention and Sustaining Peace.”
February. Mass media for peace in Mexico, Colombia, and throughout Africa. The project described in Mexico does not seem to have advanced, but as mentioned above, we carry an articles in the last month about rural radio in Colombia. As for the media for a culture of peace in Africa, we have carried articles from Togo, Morocco and Senegal in recent months.
January. Review of 2017. Last year in our review we highlighted the fight against violence to women, progress at the United Nations towards nuclear disarmament and divestment from fossil fuels. As we see above, 2018 shows contijnued progress to combat violece to women and divestment from fossil fuels, but no progress towards nuclear disarmamet.
What was new and especially important last year was the progress as reviewed above towards peace in Korea, Ethiopia/Eritrea and Philippines as well as continued progress in Colombia, a process that we have followed closely for several years now.
FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION
DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY
TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY
EDUCATION FOR PEACE