Original Proposal for Culture of Peace Programme

Given to Director-General Federico Mayor 13 May 1992


UN peace-keeping, greatly expanded in recent years, needs a strong component programme of peace culture. The Blue Helmets, by themselves, cannot produce peace. This is supported by the recent remarks of the UN Secretary-General, Boutros Ghali, that: " ...we are now moving in the field of peace-keeping from a peace-keeping operation to peace-building. In other words, we are not involved only in maintaining peace but we are also involved in constructing or building peace". It is also consistent with a recent speech of the US Secretary of State, James Baker, in which he called for the" collective engagement" of nations and international institutions in which" ...we can build a democratic peace together" around the globe.

DEFINITION OF PEACE CULTURE. The 1989 International Congress on Peace in the Minds of Men in Yamoussoukro called for a" ...peace culture based on the universal values of respect for life, liberty, justice, solidarity, tolerance, human rights and equality between women and men" .This was expanded in the Yamoussoukro proceedings to '---"' include" ...the widest possible participation by all, both individuals and groups, in the life and culture of the society to which they belong" .And the UNESCO General Conference at its twenty-sixth session in 1991 noted that" ...within the UN system, UNESCO has been entrusted with a special ethical mission in the promotion of a democratic culture that is conducive to the effective application of human rights and the establishment of a culture of peace".

PROGRAMME OBJECTIVES. To heal the social wounds of war with local operations of reconciliation and co-operation in countries where Security Council peace-keeping operations are implemented. A formal contractual relationship for the programme in each country would be written into the initial peace-keeping accords negotiated by the UN Secretary-General. A new kind of partnership would then be developed between the programme and the emerging democratic structures which it would help to develop in that country. The programme would also develop an international centre to direct future operations and to predict and prevent the need for peace-keeping forces elsewhere in the world.

FUNDING. The regular budget would be paid from a one percent contribution from the budget of UN Security Council peace-keeping operations. In 1992, for example, that would have amounted to about $40 billion. In addition, extra-budgetary sources would be sought to maintain operations for the long-term even if peace-keeping operations were reduced in a particular country.

STRUCTURE. The Culture of Peace Programme would be implemented by an international centre located in Europe (possibly Germany, Italy or Spain). The Director of the Centre would be appointed jointly by the UN Secretary-General and the Director- General of UNESCO for a period of two years. The term could be extended by a maximum of three years. The rest of the professional staff could not be appointed for more than five years in a lifetime. Growth of staff would be oriented over time to the incorporation of persons from the countries where local operations had been conducted, involving those who had been trained and become leaders in the building of peace culture. In other words, the first generation of staff would be on loan from other institutions, and later generations would be on loan from countries of peace-keeping. This would make recruitment action- oriented, and make the development of a peace culture both global and cumulative in nature.

GOVERNANCE. A Governing Board would be appointed by UNESCO and the UN Security Council. An International Advisory Board would also be established to serve as a think-tank and to help co-ordinate relations with other UN agencies and non-governmental organizations.

GENERAL FUNCTIONS. In addition to local operations, there would be two other components of the programme: research and training, and documentation and information. The Centre would implement objective evaluations of all its own local operations, and develop general principles and practical approaches to building a culture of peace. In addition, it would co-ordinate the development of a global network of social scientists to serve as an early warning system for violence and its prevention.

LOCAL OPERATIONS. Local operations in a particular country would be planned on the basis of fact-finding missions and consultation with all other agencies involved. The emphasis would always be on the training and use of local actors and leaders rather than experts brought in from outside the country.

Notes from the recent mission to El Salvador can be taken as an example of the types of programmes that might be envisaged. The mission proposed formal and informal education for peace, development of tolerance, co-operation, and participation at all levels, management of democratic practice and social politics at local levels, alternatives of communication, and programmes of culture with an emphasis on youth. This list could be expanded to include programmes of multi-cultural co-operation to preserve and develop both environmental and cultural patrimonies as a symbol of national reconciliation. One might also propose similar programmes of multi-cultural co-operation in technical and scientific training and research oriented to methods for sustainable economic development.

The emphasis would be on channeling the energies of people into a common struggle which would benefit everyone. The guiding principle would be that each person has something to learn from each other, and has something to give in return. New communication alternatives would help integrate and make these programmes known to everyone.


Stage 1: Consultations in the U. S. with UN Security Council officials and US political figures because the US is a key actor in the UN Security Council.

Stage 2: Feasibility assessment and elaboration of Stage 1 by a committee of eminent persons (e.g; Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Mikhail Gorbachev, Javier Perez de Cuellar, Jimmy Carter, Julius Nyerere, etc.). They might be asked to issue a formal declaration to initiative the project.

Stage 3: Negotiation of agreement with the Security Council.

Stage 4: Approval by legislative organs of UNESCO (Executive Board and General Conference).


Co-ordinator (Consultant) 4 months 1992 and 6 months 1993: 80,000

Missions: 12,000

Consultative meeting (6-10 eminent persons): 60.000

Miscellaneous: 8.000

Total: $ 160.000

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