Early History of the Culture of Peace
General Assembly Resolutions:
II. The Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace
Page 20

Introduction and UNESCO's Mandate
Page 1

Yamousoukro and Seville Statement
Page 2

Origins and Executive Board Adoption
Pages 3 - 4

Launching the Programme: El Salvador and Roundtable
Pages 5 - 6 - 7

1993 General Conference
Page 8

National Projects
Pages 9 - 10

Programme Unit
Page 11

Toward a Global Scope
Pages 12 - 13

Transdisciplinary Project and Human Right to Peace
Pages 14 - 15 - 16

1997: A New Approach
Page 17

UN General Assembly Resolutions
Page 18

Resolution for International Year
Page 19

Declaration and Programme of Action
Pages 20 - 21

Resolution for International Decade
Pages 22 - 23

Training Programmes
Page 24

Global Movement
Pages 25 - 26

Publicity Campaign
Pages 27 - 28

Decentralized Network
Pages 29 - 30

Manifesto 2000
Page 31

Use of Internet
Pages 32 - 33

Future of the Culture of Peace
Pages 34 - 35 - 36 - 37 - 38

Annexes and Documentation
Page 39


Beginning in the spring of 1997, I had been working to prepare the "elements for a draft provisional declaration and programme of action on a culture of peace" that had been requested by the UN General Assembly in their 12 December 1996 resolution. I worked on the draft declaration with Mr Sema Tanguiane who had already assisted the Director-General on the definition of a culture of peace presented to the International Conference on Education 3-8 October 1994. The Declaration was conceived as an ethical document in the long tradition of such documents adopted by the UN General Assembly and the UNESCO General Conference . The draft programme of action was my responsibility. On 9 April (see Annex IV) and 4 June 1997 drafts were sent to the sectors with requests for their inputs and were expanded to accommodate substantial inputs from Ingeborg Breines in the CPP Unit, Doudou Diene in the Culture Sector and Alain Modoux and Choy Arnaldo in the Communication sector. The completed document was sent to the UN Secretary-General who forwarded it on 19 September to the 52nd session of the General Assembly as UN document A/52/292 (not available on-line).

In the fall of 1997, there was strong opposition to the draft declaration and programme of action by the rich Member States which they tried to block by procedural arguments. In September in New York the European Union objected to the culture of peace being included in the General Assembly plenary. Ambassador Chowdhury resisted. He responded on 2 October to a letter from the EU representative insisting that the issue must be taken up in the General Assembly. Then, in Paris, at the PX Commission of the 152nd Executive Board on 10 October the Europeans, joined by Japan, argued that discussion should not be allowed of the report contained in document 152 EX/50 (dated 26 August 1997) because "the report was submitted to the United Nations without having been considered by the Executive Board." Although this proposed decision was later rejected in the plenary session of the Board on 17 October due to pressure from countries of the South, there was no discussion of the report. In his reply to the debate, UNESCO Director-General Mayor complained bitterly about the Board's resistance and apparent lack of trust in his initiatives. Later, when the document (A/52/292 dated 19 September) was discussed in New York at the General Assembly on 31 October, the European Union continued their attempts to block it. They argued that the document had not been debated at UNESCO and therefore it could not be debated at the UN. They demanded a delay in the vote which led to an informal consultation on 18 November that was, according to the Nina Sibal's note, "one of the most interesting [discussions] on the subject that I have heard." The European Union continued to express reservations at the General Assembly plenary, but in the end the resolution was adopted on 20 November, requesting a draft declaration and programme of action on a culture of peace at its 53rd session "taking into account the debate in the General Assembly, the specific suggestions of Member States and the comments, if any, of member States in the General Conference of UNESCO at its 29th session."

In preparation of the Programme of Action, the Director General wrote on 20 December 1997 to the UN Secretary-General, and then he wrote to all UN specialized agencies and other Inter Governmental Organizations on 14 February 1998 to request their inputs. As reported to the Director-General on 6 March 1998, the Director of the New York office, with back-up from me at headquarters, engaged the main UN Executive Committees to provide their inputs. In May the Executive Board, pleased this time to be consulted prior to the United Nations, expressed support for a preliminary version of the document (154 EX/42), with the exception of the mention of the Human Right to Peace. We received contributions from many of the agencies and departments of the United Nations, and I incorporated them into the final version sent to the Secretary-General (available here as Annex VI) and acknowledged by Director-General Mayor in a letter dated 9 September 1998. The list of contributions is included in the this version of the report which corresponds to document 155 EX/49 dated 11 August and A/53/370 dated 2 September. At the last minute, thanks to the insistance of Nina Sibal, Director of the New York office, I had revised the final version of the document to make it briefer and more to the point. At the Executive Board and General Conference on October 30, 1998, attention was not focused on the Declaration and Programme of Action, but instead on the proposal for the Human Right to Peace, as described in an earlier section. The Executive Board, meeting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on 6 November 1998, adopted a general decision of support for the culture of peace and the International Year for the Culture of Peace.

(continued on next page)

previous page
home page
next page