(viii) Coordination with actions for international peace and security [inputs to this section were provided by the United Nations Department of Political Affairs, the United Nations Department for Disarmament Affairs, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and UNESCO.]

108. Actions to promote international peace and security as conceived in the Charter and developed in the practice of the United Nations are synergistic and mutually reinforcing to actions for a culture of peace. International peace, in the sense of the absence of war and the presence of security between nations, is a necessary condition for the establishment of a culture of peace. At the same time, however, only the establishment of a culture of peace can provide an effective basis for the prevention of war and violence and the ensuring of long-term security. Therefore, proposals for the programme of action also consider how the actions to promote international peace and security, such as peace diplomacy, peacekeeping, disarmament and military conversion, can be coordinated with actions for a culture of peace.

109. Timely application of preventive diplomacy has been recognized by the General Assembly as the most desirable and efficient means for easing tensions before they result in violent conflict. At the level of the United Nations, this includes fact-finding missions, visits by special envoys to sensitive regions, the exercise of the Secretary-General's good offices and the establishment of 'Groups of Friends of the Secretary-General' in different regions composed of a few closely interested Member States. Along with early warning measures, these should be integrated into a preventive peace-building strategy with a clear political mandate that is linked to all actions for a culture of peace.

110. A culture of peace is intimately linked with disarmament. Reducing levels of armaments and eliminating the most destructive and destabilizing weaponry is a crucial contribution to alleviating mistrust and tensions, to encouraging the emergence of effective collective security, and therefore, to fostering a culture of peace. The efforts towards disarmament carried out the by United Nations system, its Member States, intergovernmental organizations and regional organizations are contributions to the creation of a culture of peace because they reject violence, endeavour to prevent conflicts, foster dialogue and negotiation and assist in creating an ambience of security in which social and economic development can flourish.

111. Although weapons themselves do not cause violence, their uncontrolled availability can worsen the severity and duration of violent conflict. It is small arms and light weapons (those that can be carried by just one or two people) which kill the largest number of people in the world. The successful campaign against anti-personnel land-mines, which culminated in the 1997 Ottawa Convention has been an expression of these concerns. Therefore, in addition to the nuclear, biological, chemical and conventional dimension of disarmament, actions should be strengthened to control the huge flows of legal and illegal light weapons and ammunition. In this regard, the elaboration and universal adoption of a code of conduct on the exportation of small arms and light weapons should be a high priority.

112. By helping to convert military facilities into civilian production and reallocate military budgets to civilian purposes, the activities for military conversion, such as those of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and other United Nations and inter-governmental entities, represent concrete and significant steps towards promoting peace and transforming the culture of war and violence into a culture of peace and non-violence.

113. Participation in the processes of disarmament and military conversion by the civil society in, particularly non-governmental organizations and research sectors, should be encouraged in order to ensure transparency, democratization and participation in decision-making and policy formulation. Disarmament information programmes such as those of the Department of Disarmament Affairs foster a culture of peace by educating and encouraging the participation of all segments of societies in the development of national security policies based on the values enshrined in the United Nations Charter.

114. Training for a culture of peace should be integrated with all actions for international peace and security. Of special priority is the systematic provision of training in the understanding, preventing and resolving techniques of dealing with conflict situations to the staff of the United Nations, regional organizations and Member States, including those in key positions of responsibility for peacemaking and preventive diplomacy. Programmes of this type, such as that of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, need to be expanded and made available on a wide basis.

115. Negotiated peace settlements should include agreed measures to establish more participatory political, economic and social systems in which all sectors of the population have a voice. In particular, future peace accords may be integrated with the development of a culture of peace by including national culture of peace programmes in which the conflicting parties agree to work together in the design, implementation and evaluation of development projects.

116. Advocacy measures aimed at increasing the numbers of women engaged in peace-building activities and fact-finding missions for preventive diplomacy are a vital aspect of the activities for peace supported by the United Nations. A database of women political activists skilled in negotiation, mediation and conflict resolution practices, should be established and widely disseminated so that their expertise can be fully utilized in international mediation efforts.

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