The idea of peace has long been presented as one of the most cherished goals of humanity, a vital precondition to fulfilling its potential. Peace is an overarching expression that denotes the ambitious quest of living together in harmony. The creation of the United Nations (UN) with the objective ‘to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’ is a historic expression of this ongoing quest. (UNESCO Publication “Long Walk of Peace” 2018)
Culture of Peace within the UN
According to Wikipedia, the UN’s consideration of the culture of peace began in 1992 with the adoption by UNESCO of a Culture of Peace Programme. This work developed into the the UN General Assembly’s declaration of a Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace in 1999.
This declaration states that a culture of peace is a set of values, attitudes, traditions and modes of behaviour and ways of life based on:
- Respect for life, ending of violence and promotion and practice of non-violence through education, dialogue and cooperation;
- Full respect for the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of States and non-intervention in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any State, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and international law;
- Full respect for and promotion of all human rights and fundamental freedoms;
- Commitment to peaceful settlement of conflicts;
- Efforts to meet the developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations;
- Respect for and promotion of the right to development;
- Respect for and promotion of equal rights and opportunities for women and men;
- Respect for and promotion of the right of everyone to freedom of expression, opinion and information;
- Adherence to the principles of freedom, justice, democracy, tolerance, solidarity, cooperation, pluralism, cultural diversity, dialogue and understanding at all levels of society and among nations; and fostered by an enabling national and international environment conducive to peace.
International Year and Decade for the Culture of Peace
The year 2000 was designated as the International Year for the Culture of Peace, followed by the declaration of 2001 to 2010 as the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World.
Culture of Peace Activities Today
Establishing a culture of peace and sustainable development are at the heart of UNESCO’s mandate. Training and research in sustainable development are among the priorities, as well as human rights education, skills for peaceful relations, good governance, Holocaust remembrance, the prevention of conflict and peace building.
The Culture of Peace News Network (CPNN) is a project owned and managed by the Global Movement for a Culture of Peace based in Connecticut, USA. CPNN was initiated by the United Nations and is now composed by youth teams. Readers can exchange information about events, experiences, books, music, and web news that promote a culture of peace.