Global Movement for a Culture of Peace
The Main Actors for a Culture of Peace By David Adams
December 2005


Early History of Culture of Peace

Civil Society Report on Culture of Peace

UN Declaration and Programme of Action

2005 UN Resolution

The Culture of Peace Dialogues

The Culture of Peace Game

Culture of Peace News Network

Original draft of UN Declaration and Programme of Action

Initial UNESCO Report

2005 General Assembly Debate

Original UNESCO Document

UNESCO Debate on Human Right to Peace

UNESCO Monograph

UNESCO Brochure for Seville Statement

El Salvador National Programme

Mozambique National Programme

The main actors for a culture of peace are listed in the Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the UN General Assembly. Article 8 of the Declaration, proposes a list of the individual actors:

A key role in the promotion of a culture of peace belongs to parents, teachers, politicians, journalists, religious bodies and groups, intellectuals, those engaged in scientific, philosophical and creative and artistic activities, health and humanitarian workers, social workers, managers at various levels as well as to non-governmental organizations.

As Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury said to the General Assembly when he introduced the document for approval on September 13, 1999: "all people from all walks of life and all sorts of backgrounds can contribute to its implementation."

Seven years previously, in the fall of 1992, the Executive Board of UNESCO had approved the initial proposal of guidelines for a culture of peace programme, including: "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 everyone else, and has something to give in return."

But the role of individuals is not enough. The transition from a culture of war and violence to a culture of peace and non-violence requires institutional transformation as well. Hence, the Programme of Action calls for a global movement for a culture of peace including the following institutional actors:

2. Member States are encouraged to take actions for promoting a culture of peace at the national level as well as at the regional and international levels.
3. Civil society should be involved at the local, regional and national levels to widen the scope of activities on a culture of peace.
4. The United Nations system should strengthen its ongoing efforts to promote a culture of peace.
5. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization should continue to play its important role in and make major contributions to the promotion of a culture of peace.

The role of each of these institutional actors is critically necessary and, at the same time, their roles have turned out to have contradictions, as described in the section on historical perspective.

The role of the nation-state is contradictory, because the nation-state throughout most of human history, has maintained its power by the culture of war externally and the culture of violence internally (see other issues). This can help explain why the Europeans and their allies have tried to deny that there is a culture of war and violence and have so often opposed the culture of peace in the United Nations.

At the same time, however, Member States from the South have supported the culture of peace at the United Nations. This can be explained in part by the fact that in order to achieve their independence, these states have overcome colonialism which is a form of the culture of war.

The role of the United Nations also has been contradictory, reflecting the North-South split in the Member States. In the more democratic parts of the UN, such as the General Assembly, there continues to be support for the culture of peace. But within the secretariat, which is dominated by the countries from the North, and in UNESCO, which in recent years has come back under the domination of the United States and Europe, there has been opposition instead. Hopefully, this can be changed in coming years, and UNESCO can return to its initial purpose of building peace in the minds of men.

As indicated by their midterm report to the UN the civil society has more consistently supported the culture of peace and non-violence. A promising new development described in the midterm report is the partnership between civil society organizations and local authorities in culture of peace commissions, such as reported from Brazil. In this way, while the local authorities provide democratic participation (often lacking in NGOs), the civil society organizations provide continuity over time when local authorities come and go through electoral change.



News about Culture of Peace

Historical Perspective

Seville Statement on Violence

National Programmes for a Culture of Peace

Definition of Culture of Peace

UN Declaration and Programme of Action

International Year and Manifesto 2000

Decade and Midterm Report

Main Actors for a Culture of Peace

Role of Mass Media

Culture of Peace News Network

1. Peace Education

2. Sustainable Development

3. Human Rights

4. Equality of Women and Men

5. Democratic Participation

6. Understanding, Tolerance and Solidarity

7. Free Flow of Information and Knowledge

8. International Peace and Security


Strategy and Tactics

New Issues