The General Assembly,

Recalling the United Nations Charter which proclaims: 'We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,... to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, ... to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom, ... to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours'[2],

Recalling the Constitution of UNESCO which states that 'since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed' [7],

Recalling also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and relevant international instruments of the United Nations and UNESCO [8],

Recognizing that the end of the cold war has opened new perspectives for international peace and security, and for furthering respect for human rights and democratic principles both in international relations and within nations,

Expressing deep concern about the persistence and proliferation of violence and armed conflicts in various parts of the world,

Considering that peace is not simply the absence of conflict, but a positive, dynamic, participatory process linked intrinsically to democratic principles and development for all, by which differences are respected, dialogue encouraged and conflicts constantly transformed by non-violent means into new understanding and cooperation,

Considering that the task of abolishing war requires transforming not only its institutional structures and manifestations, but also its deep cultural roots,

Solemnly proclaims this Declaration on a Culture of Peace to the end that governments, authorities, educational, cultural and other institutions, non-governmental organizations and the civil society as a whole may be guided constantly in their activity by its provisions and promote a global movement for a speedy transition from a culture of war and violence to a culture of peace and non-violence in the new millennium.

Meaning and significance of a culture of peace

Article 1. A culture of peace is the set of values, attitudes, traditions, modes of behaviour and ways of life that reflect and inspire:

respect for life and for all human rights;

rejection of violence in all its forms and commitment to the prevention of violent conflicts by tackling their root causes through dialogue and negotiation;

commitment to full participation in the process of equitably meeting the developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations.

promotion of the equal rights and opportunities of women and men;

recognition of the rights of everyone to freedom of expression, opinion and information;

devotion to the principles of freedom, justice, democracy, tolerance, solidarity, cooperation, pluralism, cultural diversity, dialogue and understanding between nations, between ethnic, religious, cultural and other groups, and between individuals;

Article 2. A culture of peace is a process of individual, collective and institutional transformation. It grows out of beliefs and actions of the people themselves and develops in each country within its specific historical, socio-cultural and economic context. A key is the transformation of violent competition into cooperation based on the sharing of values and goals. In particular, it requires that conflicting parties work together to achieve objectives of common interest at all levels, including the development process.

Article 3. A culture of peace aims at:

transforming values, attitudes and behaviours to those which promote a culture of peace and non-violence;

empowering people at all levels with skills of dialogue, mediation, consensus-building;

overcoming authoritarian structures, and exploitation through democratic participation and the empowerment of people to fully participate in the development process;

eliminating poverty and sharp inequalities within and between the nations, and promoting participatory, sustainable human development.

the political and economic empowerment of women and their equal representation at every level of decision-making;

supporting the free flow of information and widening transparency and accountability in governance and in economic and social decision-making;

advancing understanding, tolerance and solidarity among all peoples and thereby celebrating cultural diversity. Each nation, being rich in traditions and values, has much to contribute to and much to gain from the promotion of a culture of peace;

Major fields and main actors for promoting a culture of peace

Article 4. Constructing a culture of peace requires comprehensive educational, social and civic action. It addresses people of all ages. It is an open-minded, global strategy to make a culture of peace take root in people's hearts and minds.

Article 5. The State, having prime responsibility for ensuring respect and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, has an essential role in establishing and consolidating, in cooperation with all partners of the civil society, the conditions and prerequisites for the development of a culture of peace.

Article 6. Education is the principal means to build a culture of peace. Every aspect of education should be mobilized towards this end.

Article 7. Civil society needs to be fully engaged to promote democratic principles and harmony between the society, the individual and the environment.

Article 8. The media, in addition to their powerful educative role, play a decisive role in ensuring the exercise of freedom of opinion, expression and information.

Article 9. A primary role belongs to those whose activity has a direct impact on the mind. These are, in particular, political leaders, members of government, of parliament and of other elected bodies, teachers, journalists; the intellectual community, the family, religious leaders; managers at various levels; non-governmental organizations. Partnerships between them considerably increases their effectiveness.

Article 10. Those engaged in scientific, philosophical and creative activity have a special role to play in promoting the dynamic development and sharing of knowledge, research and artistic production which foster a culture of peace.

Article 11. The strengthening of the capacity of the United Nations system to promote a culture of peace in the world would constitute a major dimension of its reform, which is currently underway.

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