How can we carry forward the work of the great peace and justice activists who went before us?

As we look back over the past few years of CPNN articles, we find articles many great peace and justice activists who went before us. The photo above comes from The Elders, the group of leaders organized under the sponsorship of Nelson Mandela before his death. They continue to find ways to carry on his work for peace and justice.

I recall the moment that we learned of the death of Martin Luther King. Immediately, we said “it is our task to make sure that his work goes forward to such a extent that he becomes an even greater force for peace and justice after his death than before!”

And so our participation in the weaving of the grand tapestry of human history ensures an immortality to those who have gone before us. They may have died as physical beings, but the essence of their lives continues to grow and thrive in the work that we do for peace and justice.

In writing my book Psychology for Peace Activists, I draw lessons from the stages of consciousness development of great peace and justice activists (including Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela) than can serve as guidelines for our own development.

– David Adams, CPNN Coordinator

Here are the CPNN articles on this subject:

Johan Galtung: In Memoriam

In memoriam: Betty Reardon (1929-2023)

Daniel Ellsberg Has Passed Away. He Left Us a Message.

In memoriam: Walid Slaïby, co-founder Academic University College for Non-Violence & Human Rights (Lebanon)

Mikhail Gorbachev: The Last Statesman

The Elders mourn the loss of Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Johan Galtung: In Memoriam

EDUCATION FOR PEACE .

An article by Nils Petter Gleditsch in the website of the Peace Research Institute of Oslo

Johan Galtung passed away this morning (February 17). He was born in 1930 on 24 October, the same day that 15 years later would see the founding of the United Nations. There is something symbolic about having the same birthday as the UN. As a researcher, Galtung’s orientation was unusually international. An excellent linguist, he was well-travelled and made his home in several countries.


Johan Galtung. Niccolò Caranti / Wikimedia Commons

He was a person of exceptional energy. After qualifying for university in two subjects, he completed two simultaneous master’s degrees (in statistics and sociology), and went on to hold professorships in several fields and in many countries. In his younger years, he was a signatory of the manifesto for Aksjon mot doktorgraden (a campaign against the Norwegian doctoral degrees), but he came to hold honorary doctorates from a range of universities.

After establishing what would become the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) in 1959, he went on to found the Journal of Peace Research in 1964. Neither of these would have become what they are today without the impetus that Galtung gave them in their early years. In 1969, he became the first Professor of Peace Research at the University of Oslo. While this was not a personal professorship, there can be no doubt that the chair would never have been established if Galtung’s supporters at the University and in political circles had not known that there would be at least one committed and competent applicant. Galtung was not yet 40 when he was appointed to the professorship, but in a sense the appointment came too late. Sabbaticals and residencies abroad became more frequent and more lengthy and in 1978 he resigned – explaining his decision with reference to one of the campaign points of the 1968 student protests: no one should hold a professorship for more than 10 years! Now came professorships in many other countries, the longest-lasting of which was in political science at the University of Hawaii.

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Question for this article:

How can we carry forward the work of the great peace and justice activists who went before us?

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Galtung’s first projects at the Peace Research Institute resulted in a series of articles in the Journal of Peace Research. These articles continue to be his most cited works and concerned varied and important topics such as structural violence, concepts of peace, international news dissemination, imperialism, and the role of summits in international relations. Together with Arne Næss, he was also a pioneer of efforts to codify Gandhi’s ideas about non-violence and conflict management.

After Galtung left PRIO and moved to the University of Oslo and later to his international career, he also reoriented himself in many ways in a purely scholarly manner. His public remarks also became more acerbic and polemical, gaining him many critics. He never had problems attracting students and collaborators, but many of his students from his years of scholarly entrepreneurship in Norway found it difficult to follow him in this new orientation. As a scholarly field, peace research became more accepted, and some might also say, more conventional. Johan could be extremely critical, suggesting, for example, that the Peace Research Institute should change its name to something like the Norwegian Institute for Security Research. It was with a certain sense of unease that some of us opened his autobiography, Johan uten land (literally, ‘John without a country’), which was published on his 70th birthday, and then 10 years later, his Launching Peace Studies: The First PRIO Years. But in both these books he showered compliments on his colleagues from his pioneering years.

Galtung was bold in advancing concrete predictions about the world’s future. In my opinion this was a strength, especially in comparison with the cautious and wise-with-hindsight remarks to which social scientists are often prone. While he was not always equally adept at admitting to his errors, he had no lack of critics who were happy to point out his errors for him. For a researcher, obstinacy can be a strength, including when things get difficult. Progress in research is often achieved through a dialogue between the bold voices and their critics, between the sceptic and the enthusiast, as Johan himself put it in an essay from 1960.

When the Peace Research Institute – long after Galtung’s time – became the first institution to be designated a Centre of Excellence in the social sciences by the Research Council of Norway, this represented a recognition of what Galtung had started, even though he himself had pursued other paths. When we heard news in 2002, I sent him an e-mail in which I pointed to his share of the honour: ‘You’re a bit proud even so, aren’t you?’ He didn’t respond affirmatively, but neither did he deny it.

For those of us who were young in the 1960s and entered the social sciences, and especially peace research, Johan Galtung was an unusually inspiring mentor. He was generous with his time and supplied endless scholarly guidance and encouragement. When something did not go well, he would take the time to explain why. Those of us who could not always follow him onwards on his complex path, are nevertheless eternally grateful for having enjoyed such help and support as we entered the world of research.

(Nils Petter Gleditsch is PRIO Research Professor Emeritus.)

PRIO Director Henrik Urdal’s interview with Johan Galtung in 2019

USA: 200+ Unions Launch Network to Push for Gaza Cease-Fire

. . HUMAN RIGHTS . .

An article by Brett Wilkins from Common Dreams ( licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Seven national and over 200 local labor unions in the United States on Friday announced  the establishment of a coalition to promote a cease-fire in Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza.


(Click on image to enlarge)

The American Postal Workers Union (APWU), the Association of Flight Attendants, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, the National Education Association, National Nurses United (NNU), the United Auto Workers (UAW), and the United Electrical Workers (UE), and 200 local unions and labor organizations launched the National Labor Network for Cease-fire (NLNC) to “end the death and devastation” in Gaza.

The coalition says it represents more than 9 million union workers—”more than half the labor movement in the United States.”

“The war between Israel and Hamas has continued unabated since Hamas brutally attacked Israel on October 7, killing 1,163 people, and taking 253 hostages,” NLNC said in a statement.

“Israel responded with an onslaught that has killed over 28,000 Palestinians and left over 67,000 others injured,” while “1.7 million Palestinians have been displaced, and humanitarian aid remains mostly blocked from those in need,” the coalition added.

NLCN is calling for:

° An immediate cease-fire in Gaza between Israel and Hamas;
° Restoration of basic human rights;
° The immediate release of hostages taken by Hamas;
° Unimpeded full access for humanitarian aid; and
° A call for a cease-fire by U.S. President Joe Biden.

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Question related to this article:

How can war crimes be documented, stopped, punished and prevented?

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

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In his strongest statement yet, Biden—who has been dubbed “Genocide Joe” by some activists for his staunch support for Israel—said  Friday that he has called for a “temporary cease-fire” during private phone calls with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Leaders of the seven unions—most of which have already called for a cease-fire—issued statements underscoring the imperative for peace.

“The UAW has a long tradition of calling for peace and justice for working-class people across the globe, and we live that tradition today,” UAW president Shawn Fain said. “In that spirit, we call for an immediate end to the U.S. government’s funding and support of this brutal assault on Gaza.”

Carl Rosen, UE’s president, said: “The support for a cease-fire is overwhelming. We can’t stand by in the face of this suffering. We cannot bomb our way to peace. We express our solidarity with all workers and our common desire for peace in Palestine  and Israel.”

APWU president Mark Dimondstein said that “as a union that stands for equality, social justice, human and labor rights, we unite with unions and people of goodwill around the world in calls for a cease-fire, for justice and peace. The cries of humanity call for nothing less.”

Bonnie Castillo, the NNU’s executive director, asserted that “nurses cannot allow our patients and our colleagues to continue suffering from the traumas of war.”

“We vow to protect and heal all people, and it’s our duty to speak up for every human being’s right to a life free of violence,” she added. “We’re calling for a cease-fire now before one more life is lost, before one more family faces injuries or illnesses.”

The NLCN’s formation follows last week’s cease-fire call  by the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor federation.

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Global South unites for sustainable development, urges shift in global balance of power

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from Xinhua, China News (with links added by CPNN)

Leaders of developing countries gathered in the Ugandan capital of Kampala over the past week, reaching a consensus to promote South-South cooperation to enhance their capability of pursuing sustainable development, seek strength from unity and increase the role of the Global South in international affairs.

High-level representatives of more than 100 countries and heads of United Nations agencies attended the 19th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) that concluded on Saturday and the 3rd South Summit of the Group of 77 (G77) that wrapped up on Monday.


UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (L) greets President of the UN General Assembly Dennis Francis (R) during the opening session of the Third South Summit of the Group of 77 and China in Kampala, January 21, 2024. /CFP

Participants said they are optimistic about the future of the Global South in world affairs, gearing up to influence the outcomes of the UN Summit of the Future scheduled for September in New York. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the September summit as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reinvigorate global action, recommit to fundamental principles, and further develop the frameworks of multilateralism so they are fit for the future.

In the outcome documents of the two summits, the countries of the Global South said they hope to play an influential role in shifting the balance of the geopolitical landscape from conflict, confrontation and mistrust to diplomacy, dialogue, peace and understanding.

NAM countries, in their declaration over the weekend, said they would positively contribute to the summit to enhance cooperation on critical challenges and address gaps in global governance.

Developing nations stressed that there is a need to reform the multilateral global governance architecture, including the United Nations and the international financial system. This reform would make the institutions fit for purpose, democratic, equitable, representative and responsive to the current global realities and the needs and aspirations of the Global South, according to the NAM Kampala Declaration.

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(Click here for the original Spanish version of the article)

Questions related to this article:

How can ensure that development is equitable?

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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They said the current violation of international laws and UN resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, coupled with the unfair treatment of developing countries facing debt distress amid a slow-growing global economy, are the key issues that have revitalized the call for a reformed global system.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who is also the chairperson of the NAM Summit, said the forum should be used to exercise considerable influence, particularly at the UN, for an effective transformative process. “In the negotiations for the Pact of the Future, the outcome document of the upcoming UN Summit of the Future, we should clearly define priorities that favor developing countries by maintaining unity, solidarity, and collective coordination among member states,” Museveni said.

Dennis Francis, president of the UN General Assembly, said addressing the current global challenges requires creativity and consensus-building to fashion effective solutions.

Francis said the current crises, ranging from the Ukraine-Russia, Israel-Palestine and those in Africa, raise questions about the relevance and value of the UN in terms of its ability to resolve global issues. He argued that the Summit of the Future will offer a historic opportunity to forge a new global consensus to transform the multilateral system to deliver better impact for people.

The Global South, according to Secretary-General Guterres, bears the responsibility of changing the form of the global system, noting that those who currently benefit from it are unlikely to lead its reform.

“We have a chance to cultivate a just, peaceful, and prosperous future, where no one is left behind. But for that, a lot needs to be changed and reformed. Together, let’s unite and fight to make that a reality,” Guterres told the 3rd South Summit on Sunday.

He urged the international community to reform and revitalize multilateralism so that it works for everyone, everywhere, and meets the challenges of today. “We rely on the G77 plus China to make the Summit of the Future a success. To seize this opportunity and to find common solutions. The summit will consider deep reforms of the international financial architecture,” the UN top envoy said.

(Editor’s note. Putting the terms “Group of 77” and “Kampala” into the Google search engine for the preceding month on February 16, we found articles about the event above from press in Uganda, India, Brazil, Bahamas, Philippines, South Africa, Jordan, Angola, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Guyana, Pakistan, Saint Vincent, Bhutan, Namibia, Cameroon, Yemen, Mongolia, Tanzania, Myanmar, Morocco, Cuba, Maldives, Kenya, Eritrea, Mozambique, Nigeria, Malaysia, Oman, Seychelles, Zimbabwe and Somalia, as well as from China and from the United Nations, but with the exception of an agency by the name of Newsbeezer, ABSOLOUTELY NO ARTICLE IN ENGLISH from a press agency based in Europe or North America! By using other languages, we found an article in French in the news site of l’Humanité which remarked that the event was totally ignored by the West (” un événement totalement passé sous silence dans les pays occidentaux”>. And in Spain, one could read about the event in Spanish on the news media that subscribe to EFE. )

The UN Summit of the Future: a fight at the end of the tunnel?

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY .

An article by Richard Gowan for Friedrich Ebert Stiftung

Ongoing crises keep multilateralism in turmoil, but ambitious reforms are still on the table. What to expect from the September 2024 UN Summit of the Future?

Germany faces a tough task trying to build consensus among members of the United Nations on how to strengthen multilateralism in the year ahead. The German mission in New York is working with Namibia to facilitate preparations for the Summit of the Future, an event that will take place during the annual high-level week of UN meetings in September 2024.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres originally proposed this summit in 2021 as an opportunity for presidents and prime ministers to debate improvements to the global system in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. But with arguments over Ukraine and Gaza simmering at the UN, diplomats fear it will be hard to make new agreements on international cooperation this year.

The right summit at the wrong time?

Guterres and his advisers argue that it is necessary to take a hard look at the state of multilateralism for three main reasons. Firstly, it is clear that existing international institutions lack the mechanisms and authority necessary to deal with challenges such as pandemics and climate change effectively. Secondly, there are as yet no serious global regimes to regulate new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), which the Secretary-General predicts will profoundly reshape societies, economies and international relations. Lastly, many non-Western countries feel that they lack real influence at the UN and in other international organizations, where the U.S. and European countries often still dominate decision-making.

The mood at the UN is currently very sour

In a best-case scenario, the Summit for the Future would be an opportunity for UN members to tackle these challenges simultaneously, reforming existing institutions to make them more inclusive and effective, and establishing new bodies to fill gaps in the system. Guterres has, for example, floated the idea of establishing a new international agency to regulate the uses of A.I., as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) oversees the uses of nuclear power.

While diplomats acknowledge the Secretary-General’s breadth of vision, many question whether this is a propitious moment to tackle such big issues. The mood at the UN is currently very sour. Developing countries have become increasingly vocal in criticizing richer states’ failures to meet past pledges to invest more in development aid and climate adaptation. The war between Hamas and Israel has reopened old wounds in the UN General Assembly. The bulk of states from the so-called “Global South” have condemned the U.S. and many European countries for failing to show solidarity with the Palestinians. Arab diplomats ask how the UN can hold talks on “the future” when there is no future for young people in Gaza.

A ‘Pact for the Future’: Germany and Namibia taking the lead

Germany and Namibia have volunteered for the unenviable task of managing preparations for the Summit of the Future against the bleak backdrop. The two co-facilitators are working on the initial draft of a Pact for the Future for leaders to adopt in September. Once they circulate this text – which is meant to be ready by the end of January – negotiations on the document will begin in earnest. This is likely to be a grinding and protracted process, as the General Assembly has agreed that UN members will have to agree the final Pact by consensus.

An opportunity for civil society groups that advocate a stronger multilateral system

This is not a prospect that fills New York-based diplomats with glee. Many see the existence of the summit as a problem to be solved, not an opportunity to be seized. But this may be a mistake.  For as long as hostilities drag on in Gaza, it will be difficult to focus on the Pact of the Future.

But if and when the war recedes, talking about improving the international system – even in quite technical ways – could be one pathway to restoring some sense of common purpose among UN members, although it is unlikely to erase memories of recent disputes. The Summit is also an opportunity for civil society groups that advocate for a stronger multilateral system to focus attention on global issues, even if they cannot secure big reforms.

Mind the gaps: climate change and human rights missing

While Germany and Namibia led preparatory talks on the substance of the Pact last year, UN members were only able to agree on a skeletal outline. There will be chapters on: peace and security; development; science and technology; future generations and global governance. UN officials and diplomats say that they expect the paper to be 20 to 30 pages in length at most, and to be pitched at the strategic level. This means that even if negotiators do agree to some big reforms in principle through the Pact, it won’t go deep into the details.

The exact contents are still up for debate

Some observers have highlighted two potentially worrying gaps in this outline. One is climate change, which Guterres has previously argued should be an overarching theme for the organization.  UN officials say that they hope the Pact will endorse existing agreements and processes for dealing with global warming, even if it doesn’t propose any new ones. The second notable omission from the outline is a dedicated chapter on human rights, although the Pact is supposed to refer to the rights-related dimensions of the other topics it covers. Many Western diplomats worry that the UN system as a whole is paying less attention to rights issues than in the early post-Cold War period, and are likely to insist that the Pact refers to common values and freedoms.

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Question for this article:

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

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More broadly, the exact contents of the Pact are still up for debate. The negotiators have no shortage of material. In the course of 2023, Guterres released a series of eleven policy briefs  on issues ranging from education to the governance of outer space to stimulate the negotiations. He also convened a High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism  which released a report on potential reforms to international institutions last summer. But everyone involved in the process recognizes that UN members will pick and choose topics.

Reforming the international financial architecture

It seems certain that developing countries will want to focus a lot of upcoming discussions around the Pact on the oversight and activities of international financial institutions, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Many non-Western officials would like to gain a greater share of decision-making power in these institutions, which are currently still dominated by the U.S., the EU and other major Western economies.  They would also like to see these global lenders make it easier for poor countries to access financing. While the Biden administration and European governments agree that it is necessary to get money flowing to vulnerable nations, it may be harder to get a deal on governance reforms.

UN Security Council reform

Another tricky global governance issue waiting in the wings is UN Security Council reform. Since Russia used its veto to block criticism of its all-out aggression against Ukraine in 2022, many UN members have argued that it is time to overhaul the membership and rules of the Council. While the Biden administration has also used its veto to protect Israel from pressure over its campaign in Gaza, the U.S. still claims to want reform. Germany, as a long-time aspirant to a permanent Council seat, might like to see progress too. There is, however, no chance that UN members will agree on a broadly acceptable model for reform in the next nine months. The best possible outcome may be for member states to agree to hold a set of high-level talks on the issue pegged to the 80th anniversary of the UN Charter in 2025.

Governing A.I. and other new technologies

If Security Council reform is a well-worn subject for UN diplomacy, the planned chapter of the Pact on “science and technology” could open up new fields for discussion.  In addition to his proposal for an IAEA-type body to oversee A.I., Guterres has proposed  that UN members agree a treaty banning Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) by 2026, and establish new mechanisms to manage biotechnologies. Some powerful players at the UN agree that it is time to start developing more international rules of the road in this area. The U.S. has floated a non-binding UN General Assembly resolution on the use of A.I. to promote sustainable development. In parallel with the main Pact for the Future process, Sweden and Zambia are co-facilitating talks on a Global Digital Compact  which could also be adopted in September; this agreement would outline guiding principles for managing the internet, A.I., and data.

Coalitions of member states may table more ambitious side agreements

But if this is a good time to talk about new technologies, diplomats and scientific experts seem less convinced that this is the right moment to establish new institutions and binding agreements around those new technologies. Marietje Schaake, a former Member of the European Parliament who participated in a panel advising Guterres on A.I. last year, recently argued  that it is premature to start designing new agencies to govern this evolving field. Instead, she argues that governments and A.I. developers need to hammer out the basic principles and laws that should govern A.I. before building international frameworks to monitor them. The Summit of the Future offers a hook for exploratory discussions of this type, but it is probable that UN debates about how to govern such new technologies will extend well into the future.

Given the many obstacles to agreeing major reforms in the Pact of the Future, some UN members are already predicting that the document will prove fairly insubstantial. This does not mean that the Summit of the Future will necessarily be a dud. As I have argued elsewhere, coalitions of member states may table more ambitious side agreements – which would not require all UN members to assent – on advancing priorities such as women’s rights that can be signed off in September. As a leading advocate for focusing on the security implications of climate change, to take another example, Germany could well be part of a coalition pushing for greater UN engagement on climate and peace, even though Russia – which vetoed a 2021 resolution on the topic in the Security Council – would want to keep this out of the Pact.

The role of civil society

While UN member states will formally take the lead on these initiatives, civil society organizations can also add some extra energy to the pre-Summit process. Many diplomats, especially from smaller missions in New York, admit that they have had little time to think in depth about what the Summit can deliver. The Secretary-General has put a significant number of complex issues on the table for discussion while other urgent issues such the war in the Middle East, have sucked up time. In the coming month, non-governmental actors can step in to advise UN members on what the Summit can achieve on issues like new tech.

Civil society can add some extra energy pre-summit

Civil society actors can also use their global networks to focus more global attention to the Summit of the Future. UN officials admit that they have struggled to get the international media to focus on the event, given the sheer flow of bad news stories coming out of the UN in recent times. While Guterres would like to draw political leaders into this discussion about global issues (and gave visiting heads of state and government packs of his policy briefs at the UN last September) very few capitals are prioritizing UN reform.  A push by international civil society networks in the coming months to raise awareness of the Summit would be welcome.

The way forward

Nonetheless, Germany and Namibia must make the best of their roles in preparing the Pact of the Future. There will surely be arguments among member states along the way.  But the co-facilitators can at least aim to frame this process as an opportunity to promote diplomatic dialogue among UN members about the future of multilateralism after a very divisive period. It may be possible to agree on common starting principles and begin long-term dialogues on issues such as new technologies and international financing which, even if they do not lead to spectacular results in 2024, could pave the way for more substantive deals down the road. 

About the author 

Richard Gowan is the UN Director of the International Crisis Group (ICG) and oversees the organization’s advocacy work at the United Nations in New York.

Proposal to the UN Summit of the Future for a UN Council of Peace

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY .

A submission on the UN Website for the Summit of the Future

From Global Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace (GAMIP), https://gamip.org Organizational sponsor: Paul Maillet, Board Member, pmaillet48@gmail.com

Chapeau

Project – Creation of a UN Council of Peace

The challenge of our times is in daring to create new thinking about peace.

Our proposal is to incrementally increase a focus of peace away from the existing central attention to global security through military means, with the establishment of a UN Council of Peace. This council will require enough resources so it will be sustainable and effective with sufficient authority and leadership so that over time it will help bring a new paradigm/worldview of peace.

In the preamble for the UN Charter, to achieve its stated ends, it is written that UN members are to practice tolerance and live together in peace as good neighbours, followed by a goal to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security.
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Sadly, the maintenance of international peace has been constructed through a perpetual threat of military dominance and annihilation.

The UN Charter was developed with two world wars as background history. At that time, the victors of the Second World War chose to become the leaders of global security. In retrospect, it would have been difficult not to place peace within the security framework at that time. For 75 years, these leading states have practiced “tolerance of one another” by imposing a nuclear threat regime upon the world.

Why Now?

The UN needs to strengthen itself to better face the onset of the climate crisis, war and conflict, the erosion of democracies, and the current dominance of military security.

Peace is often an after-thought, for when military affairs of conflict get settled. Since the inception of the UN , the priorities and rivalries managing current affairs have failed Peace. The world is desperate for a UN Council of Peace, as part of UN fiscal priorities, so that nations can prioritize the establishment of new, effective peace-driven institutions.

What is Peace?

We agree that “peace is a human right. It is essential to the realization of human rights. Peace is also a product of human rights: The more a society promotes, protects and fulfils their obligations towards these rights, the greater the chances for curbing violence and resolving conflict peacefully.”

In the current worldview of security, peace is narrowly defined as the absence of hostility, violence, conflict or war; and now perceived as “stable” by nuclear deterrence.

However, a worldview of peace as an intrinsic state of relationships, becomes an intergenerational vision of freedom, political social justice, harmonious co-existence, and a movement away from the primacy of military means.

Question for this article:

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

What is missing at the UN?

There exists many initiatives regarding UN and peace, such as the Agenda for Peace, the New Agenda for Peace and UN A/RES/52 -243. “Declaration and Programme for a culture of peace”; all that require structure to be effective.

The UN project of “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets have integrated peace into their objectives. It “seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom.” It reveals a determination “to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence. There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.”

In particular, goal SDG 16 is to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

However, there is abundant proof for the need to do much better. The creation of a UN Council of Peace could provide a means to help fulfill the original and optimistic ideals of the UN Charter. We believed that peace must be the foundational framework for global decisions and not an elusive outcome of the present-day “primacy of military” security context.

Potential Organizational Factors

Both the General Assembly (Chapter 4, article 22) and the Security Council (Chapter 6, article 29) can establish subsidiary organs as they deem necessary for the performance of their functions.

Usually, membership of UN organs has been provided through UN Member representation. However, other bodies such as credible academic institutions, peace movements or expert individuals should be welcome, and their participation in a founding Council of Peace would be encouraged.

For example, one could envision the inclusion of The Elders group, whose engagements and values would benefit the elevation of peace as a primary, hopeful value, together with their commitments towards Multiculturalism, Human Rights, Gender equality and Women in Leadership and intergenerational dialogue.

One could envision a fulsome reform of the UN Trusteeship Council to focus on codifying new major principles of international relations, centering on peace first, prohibition of the use of force in international relations, and a commitment to disarm the planet.

Lastly, one could envision a wider public citizen engagement for partnership and funding, recognizing that citizens rarely have a say in priorities and spending for national and international security.

Potential Status

The vision of this project would see the UN Council of Peace initially empowered as an advisory group and ultimately with decision making authorities within the United Nations, in relation to the Secretary General, the General Assembly and Security Council. We believe that the time is now, for the Creation of the UN Council of Peace. In the name of humanity, let us “Give Peace a Chance.”

We remain available should you have any questions on this proposal, Paul Maillet, pmaillet48@gmail.com, Canada Dr. Sylvie Lemieux, slemieux3599@rogers.com, Canada

(Editor’s note: On the UN website, the proposal is accompanied by footnotes citing the documents that are mentioned.)

Exclusive: Putin’s suggestion of Ukraine ceasefire rejected by United States, sources say

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from Reuters (reprinted by permission)

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s suggestion of a ceasefire in Ukraine to freeze the war was rejected by the United States after contacts between intermediaries, three Russian sources with knowledge of the discussions told Reuters.

The failure of Putin’s approach ushers in a third year of the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War Two and illustrates just how far apart the world’s two largest nuclear powers remain.


Frame from video about proposal

A U.S. source denied there had been any official contact and said Washington would not engage in talks that did not involve Ukraine.

Putin sent signals to Washington in 2023 in public and privately through intermediaries, including through Moscow’s Arab partners in the Middle East and others, that he was ready to consider a ceasefire in Ukraine, the Russian sources said.

Putin was proposing to freeze the conflict at the current lines and was unwilling to cede any of the Ukrainian territory controlled by Russia, but the signal offered what some in the Kremlin saw as the best path towards a peace of some kind.

“The contacts with the Americans came to nothing,” a senior Russian source with knowledge of the discussions in late 2023 and early 2024 told Reuters on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation.

A second Russian source with knowledge of the contacts told Reuters that the Americans told Moscow, via the intermediaries, they would not discuss a possible ceasefire without the participation of Ukraine and so the contacts ended in failure.

A third source with knowledge of the discussions said: “Everything fell apart with the Americans.” The source said that the Americans did not want to pressure Ukraine.

The extent of the contacts – and their failure – has not previously been reported.

It comes as U.S. President Joe Biden has for months been pushing Congress to approve more aid for Ukraine, but has faced opposition from allies of Republican presidential nomination frontrunner Donald Trump.

The Kremlin, the White House, the U.S. State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) all declined to comment.

U.S. SAYS ‘NO BACK CHANNEL’

Putin sent thousands of troops into Ukraine in February 2022, triggering a full-scale war after eight years of conflict in eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian forces on the one side and pro-Russian Ukrainians and Russian proxies on the other.

Ukraine says it is fighting for its existence and the West casts Putin’s invasion as an imperial-style land grab that challenges the post-Cold War international order.

(Continued in right column)

Questions related to this article:
 
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

(Continued from left column)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says he will never accept Russia’s control over Ukrainian land. He has outlawed any contacts with Russia.

A U.S. official, speaking in Washington on condition of anonymity, said that the U.S. has not engaged in any back channel discussions with Russia and that Washington had been consistent in not going behind the back of Ukraine.

The U.S. official said that there appeared to have been unofficial “Track II” conversations among Russians not in the government but that the United States was not engaged in them.

The U.S. official said Putin’s proposal, based on what has been publicly reported, was unchanged from past demands that Russia hold on to Ukrainian territory. The official suggested that there appeared to be frustration in Moscow that Washington had repeatedly refused to accept it.

Putin told U.S. talk-show host Tucker Carlson last week that Russia was ready for “dialogue”.

CONTACTS

Intermediaries met in Turkey in late 2023, according to three Russian sources.

A fourth diplomatic source said that there had been Russian-U.S. unofficial contacts through intermediaries at Russia’s initiative but that they appeared to have come to nothing.

The U.S. official said he was unaware of unofficial contact through intermediaries.

According to three Russian sources, Putin’s signal was relayed to Washington, where top U.S. officials including White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Central Intelligence Agency Director Bill Burns and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met.

The idea was that Sullivan would speak to Putin’s foreign policy adviser, Yuri Ushakov, and set out the next steps, one of the Russian sources said.

But when the call came in January, Sullivan told Ushakov that Washington was willing to talk about other aspects of the relationship but would not speak about a ceasefire without Ukraine, said one of the Russian sources.

The U.S. official refused to be drawn on any details of Sullivan’s purported calls, or whether such a conversation with Ushakov took place.

PUTIN ‘READY TO FIGHT ON’

One of the Russian sources expressed frustration with the United States over Washington’s insistence that it would not nudge Ukraine towards talks given that the United States was helping to fund the war.

“Putin said: ‘I knew they wouldn’t do anything’,” another of the Russian sources said. “They cut off the root of the contacts which had taken two months to create.”

Another Russian source said that the United States did not appear to believe Putin was sincere.

“The Americans didn’t believe Putin was genuine about a ceasefire – but he was and is – he is ready to discuss a ceasefire. But equally Putin is also ready to fight on for as long as it takes – and Russia can fight for as long as it takes,” the Russian source said.

The Kremlin sees little point in further contacts with the United States on the issue, the Russian sources said, so the war would continue.

Writing by Guy Faulconbridge in Moscow; Additional reporting by Steve Holland in Washington; Editing by Alex Richardson

American Attitudes about the Conflict in Ukraine

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

A survey by the Gallup Poll

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

° Republican support for Ukraine war has withered since start of conflict

° 41% of Americans say U.S. is doing too much to support Ukraine

° Democrats remain steadfast in support of current approach to Ukraine

° 64% of Americans say neither side is winning the war

1. Helping Ukraine Too Much or Too Little?

As the harsh winter months approach in Ukraine, Americans’ views on the war there have shifted, with a plurality now saying the U.S. is doing too much to help Ukraine. Forty-one percent of Americans overall say the U.S. is doing too much, which has risen from 24% in August 2022 and 29% in June 2023. Thirty-three percent, down from 43% in June, say the U.S. is doing the right amount, while 25% believe the U.S. isn’t doing enough.

2. The Partisan Divide on the War Effort

Both Republicans (62%) and independents (44%) increasingly see the U.S. as doing too much to support Ukraine compared with when Gallup began asking this question in August 2022.

(Continued in right column)

Questions related to this article:
 
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

(Continued from left column)

3. Ending the War or Going Long?

Another key question that has loomed over the conflict since it began is how it ends. In August 2022, a majority (66%) of Americans believed the U.S. should support Ukraine in reclaiming its former territory, even if this resulted in a prolonged conflict. That view has waned but not completely shifted, as 54% of Americans maintain that view. Forty-three percent now favor the U.S. trying to help end the war quickly, even if that means Ukraine cedes territory to Russia.

4. Partisans on “Staying the Course”

Partisan shifts have been significant on the question of how to end the war, with a majority of Republicans (55%) now preferring to end the conflict as soon as possible. Independents have also shifted notably on this question and are now divided evenly between those who support a prolonged conflict, with Ukraine regaining all lost territory, and those who would like to see the war end as soon as possible. Democrats continue to favor helping Ukraine regain its lost territory.

5. Financial Aid and Its Limits

While nations across Europe have contributed to the war effort in Ukraine, the U.S. has provided the lion’s share of support, which has become a hot political topic among some congressional leaders calling for limits on the funds being committed to Kyiv. Today, 61% of Americans say the financial aid Ukraine receives from Washington should have limits, with over eight in 10 Republicans sharing this view. Thirty-seven percent of Americans, including 65% of Democrats, believe the U.S. should continue to provide aid as long as Ukraine requests it.

6. Who’s Winning the War?

And finally, a question Gallup began asking in June of this year is who, if anyone, is winning the war? Today, 64% of Americans say neither side is, a seven-percentage-point increase in this view since the summer, when the world was awaiting a Ukrainian counteroffensive that stalled because of Russia’s military entrenchment across the Donbas. Interestingly, the view that neither side is currently winning the war is the only question on the war where there is at least some consistency across party ID, with little to no differences among Democrats, independents and Republicans. Democrats, however, are far more likely than Republicans and independents to believe Ukraine, rather than Russia, is winning.

Russian Attitudes about the Conflict with Ukraine

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

A survey by the Levada Center

(Editor’s note: Although we cannot be certain that these polls are not controlled by the Russian government, the fact that prominent dissident Sergey Aleksashenko quotes the polls suggests that we should take them seriously.)

About half of the respondents follow the Ukrainian events. The level of support for the actions of the Russian armed forces remains high(74%). Most of the respondents believe that the “special military operation” is being carried out successfully. At the same time, the share of Russians advocating peace talks continues to grow (up to 57% in November). This opinion is more common among women, respondents who trust information from social networks and YouTube channels, who do not approve of V. Putin’s activities as president of the Russian Federation, as well as those who believe that the country is moving on the wrong path.

What is happening mainly causes respondents to be proud of Russia or alarm, fear and horror. One in four respondents (same as a year ago) donated clothes and belongings to refugees from Ukraine. At the same time, the share of respondents who collected money and things to help the participants of the “special military operation” increased to 40%.

The level of attention to Ukrainian events has not changed significantly in the last four months. So in November, 18% of respondents said that they were watching the events “very closely” and another 35% were watching them “quite closely”. 34% of respondents follow events without much attention, and 13% do not follow them at all. People aged 65 and older are following the events in Ukraine most closely (31% – very closely, 49% quite carefully).

The level of support for the actions of Russian troops in Ukraine has remained consistently high over the past year and a half of observations. The majority of respondents (74%) support the actions of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in Ukraine, 18% of respondents do not support them.

Older age groups are more likely to support the actions of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in Ukraine (89% among 65+ respondents); viewers (84%); those who believe that things in the country are going in the right direction (86%); those who approve of the activities of V. Putin as president (83%).

The level of support for the actions of Russian troops is lower among younger age groups (24% under the age of 24); viewers of YouTube channels (31%); those who believe that the country is moving on the wrong path (47%); those who disapprove of the actions of V. Putin as president of Russia (62%).

The share of Russians who believe that peace talks should be started repeated the highest figures for the entire observation period – just as in October 2022 (after the announcement of partial mobilization) 57% of respondents stated the need to start peace talks (24% definitely start peace talks, 33% – rather start peace talks). 36% of respondents are in favor of continuing military operations (21% – definitely continue military operations, 15% – rather continue military operations).

(Continued in right column)

Questions related to this article:
 
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

(Continued from left column)

The opinion on the need to move to peace negotiations is more widespread among women (64%); youth (73% under the age of 24); villagers (59%); respondents who trust information from social networks (67%) and YouTube channels (68%); those who disapprove Activity V. Putin as President of the Russian Federation (79%) & those who believe that the country is moving on the wrong path (80%).

Men are more likely to believe that military operations should continue (48%) as well as those who trust information from television (42%); respondents 55 years and older (43%); those who approve of the president’s activities (41%); those who believe that things are going well in the country in the right direction (46%). Moscow stands out somewhat from other localities. Muscovites are less willing to move on to peaceful negotiations – only 43%, while in other localities about half of the respondents believe that it is necessary to start peace negotiations.

Over the past five months, the proportion of respondents who believe that the special operation is progressing successfully has continued to grow. In November of this year, 66% of respondents thought so (55% in June).

Those who trust the information from television (78%), those who believe that things in the country are going in the right direction (79%), those who approve of the activities of V. Putin (74%) are more likely to be confident that the special operation is going well.

Russia’s military actions in Ukraine mainly cause Russians to be proud of Russia (45%) or alarm, fear and horror (32%), these feelings have prevailed among respondents since the beginning of the conflict. Since September, the share of Russians feeling proud of Russia has increased – 45% (38% in September).

Pride in Russia is mainly felt by men (47%) and older people (52% aged 55 and older). Anxiety, fear and horror are experienced more often by women (42%) and younger Russians (43% under the age of 24).

One in four respondents gave clothes and belongings to refugees from Ukraine free of charge (as well as a year ago). At the same time, the share of respondents who collected money and things to help the participants of the special operation increased in November – 40% (+13% compared to December last year).

Despite the fact that Moscow residents are more likely to talk about supporting the special operation and the continuation of hostilities, over the past 12 months they have been less likely to donate money for generally useful purposes (22%) and collected money and things to help participants in the special operation (25%), compared with residents of other localities.

In general, one in three respondents has donated money to socially useful purposes in the last 12 months, and their share has been gradually increasing since March 2020.

METHODOLOGY

The all-Russian survey by the Levada Center was conducted November 23 – 29 2023, among a representative sample of all Russian urban and rural residents. The sample consisted of 1625 people aged 18 or older in 137 municipalities of 50 regions of the Russian Federation. The survey was conducted as a personal interview in respondents’ homes. The distribution of responses is given as a percentage of the total number of respondents.

The statistical error of these studies for a sample of 1600 people (with a probability of 0.95) does not exceed:
3.4% for indicators around 50%
2.9% for indicators around 25%/75%
2.0% for indicators around 10%/90%
1.5% for indicators around 5%/95%

Proposal to UN Summit of the Future from Fabrica dos Sonhos, Brazil

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY .

A submission on the UN Website for the Summit of the Future

From Fábrica dos Sonhos and Right to Dream Movement, www.fabricadossonhos.org / www.fabricadossonhos.net, Myrian Castello, Executive Director, mcastello@fabricadossonhos.net

Chapeau:

Embracing the urgency of our interconnected challenges and dreaming of the world we want to live in, we propose a Pact for the Future that amplifies commitment and action. Our vision is action-oriented, concrete, and transformative, fostering inclusivity, innovation, regenerative solutions and sustainability. By uniting nations and generations, we forge a path to a future where no one is left behind.

Chapeau:

Embracing the urgency of our interconnected challenges and dreaming of the world we want to live in, we propose a Pact for the Future that amplifies commitment and action. Our vision is action-oriented, concrete, and transformative, fostering inclusivity, innovation, regenerative solutions and sustainability. By uniting nations and generations, we forge a path to a future where no one is left behind.

Chapter I. Sustainable Development and Financing for Development:

1. Transform the global financial architecture to be more inclusive, just, and responsive, investing upfront in SDGs, climate action, and future generations. Re-soul and open space for new economies supporting initiatives and grassroots movements.

2. Reform global economic governance to enhance the voice and representation of developing countries, fostering coherence under the United Nations.

3. Ensure fair and diverse representation, and data based driven in decision-making.

4. Partnership and commitment of 1st, 2nd and 3rd sector, also between countries and generations.

5. Incentivize family agriculture to prevent food deserts and create opportunities so that people want to stay and work with the soil and food production.

6. Support indigenous communities including the demarcation of indigenous lands to protect their rights and preserve biodiversity.

Chapter II. International Peace and Security:

1. Reform the Security Council to reflect the global South’s diversity and ensure equitable representation.

2. Promote the New Declaration for a Culture of Peace in the XXI Century

Question for this article:

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

3. Strengthen collective security through regional and local approaches and invest in sustainable development to address underlying drivers of conflicts.

4. Promote disarmament, prevent weaponization in emerging domains, and enhance peace operations with a focus on responsible innovation.

5. Invest in education and in a culture of peace.

6. Take care of the environment.

7. Exchange for good, knowing different realities is easier to empathize with and commit to make a change.

Chapter III. Science, Technology and Innovation, and Digital Cooperation:

1. Foster a culture of innovation, recognizing dreaming as a Universal Human Right and a new SDG.

2. Prioritize racial equality as a new SDG and human right, ensuring the inclusion of diverse voices in shaping the digital future.

3. Phase out fossil fuels, limiting global warming to 1.5°C, while supporting indigenous communities and embracing evidence-based decision-making.

Chapter IV. Youth and Future Generations:

1. Establish dedicated national youth consultative bodies to empower young voices in decisionmaking.

2. Create public policies and actions so that all can feel safe and with that they can dream and achieve more.

3. Recognize Dreaming as a Universal Human Right, infusing hope and aspirational thinking into policymaking.

4. Enshrine racial equality as a new SDG and human right, affirming our commitment to a diverse and inclusive global governance.

5. Cultivate opportunities for youth, mainly the ones living in outskirts and the countryside, ensuring their active participation in shaping the future.

Chapter V. Transforming Global Governance:

1. Decentralize decision-making to the local level, employing evidence-based approaches to address unique challenges.

2. Cultivate a culture of peace for all, emphasizing diplomacy, dialogue, and conflict resolution.

3. Bring culture and art to the local and global level.

4. Re-Humanize global leaders and people in power beyond their titles.

This concise document outlines actionable recommendations that, when implemented, will propel us toward a future characterized by sustainability, inclusivity, and a culture of peace.

We want to be part of the creation of the future that will make a better world for us all. Present and future generations.