By Aakrati Gupta (2017)
Founding of the United Nations
In June of 1945, following World War II, the United Nations was founded with the single idea of saving succeeding generations from war and other forms of violence. For the seven decades since then, the UN has been constantly working to achieve peace and prosperity in this world, and the development of a culture of peace and nonviolence is a very important part of this endeavor.
The premise behind developing a “culture of peace and nonviolence” is that, for centuries, humanity has been conditioned to use warfare to solve problems, creating a “culture of warfare.” Such a culture trains us to jump straight to violent action as a conflict resolution strategy. But if we begin to retrain our minds, we can see the numerous nonviolent options that should come before waging war. If we do this at the societal level, we can create a culture of peace and nonviolence that leads to a more stable, sustainable, and peaceful world.
In the 1990s, in search of a way to retrain the global mindset, the United Nations, specialized agencies like UNESCO, civil society groups, and other stakeholders created the Culture of Peace and Nonviolence Program (CPNP). CPNP is a program for creating sustainable peace through transforming cultures of war and violence into cultures of peace and nonviolence. This is achieved by ensuring the involvement of all segments of society in the processes of change, giving everyone a stake in the project. It is a strong commitment to peacebuilding and the prevention of conflict, and it is carried out on the ground by (1) training people how to manage and resolve their personal conflicts nonviolently and (2) strategically encouraging positive values, attitudes, and behaviors in order to achieve everyday peace.
Purpose of this Handbook
UN General Assembly Resolution 53/243 describes a program of action for the implementation of a culture of peace and nonviolence, which is carried out worldwide by UNESCO. The purpose of this handbook is to create a practical document for the Program of Action, because though the resolution is beautifully written, poetic even, it is not easily understood and is seldom implemented. Our goal is to discover how to overcome such shortcomings so that the transformative ideas laid out in the resolution can be put into action, realizing a culture of peace and nonviolence worldwide.
THE FOUNDATIONAL DOCUMENTS
UN Resolution 53/243 was adopted by consensus on 13 September 1999. The resolution, titled “the UN Declaration and Programme of Action for a Culture of Peace,” instructs governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society groups, and people from all walks of life to work together to create a global culture of peace and nonviolence.
Preamble — The Declaration begins by citing the Charter of the United Nations, the Constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant international instruments of the United Nations system, and resolution 53/25 of 10 November 1998, by which it designated the first decade of the 21st century as the "International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World."
Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd’s sculpture outside the United Nations
The Declaration recognized that peace is not only about stopping conflicts and ongoing wars, but it also requires a drastic approach involving transforming the minds of people, which means adapting cultures in order to make the peace last. It also pointed to the importance of encouraging the methods of peacebuilding in societies through training in nonviolent conflict resolution, which leads to successful dialogue and negotiations instead of violence.
Article 1 — Article 1 mainly describes what the culture of peace is for the UN: a conceptual framework that aims to root out war and violence from the people’s minds and transform such ideas and attitudes into nonviolent action.
The basic constituents of Article 1 are as follows:
Education: the resolution aims to utilize education and skill-building (including, for example, better mediation, negotiation and cooperation) to change minds around the world about respecting life.
Respect for Sovereignty and Rights: a major emphasis of the resolution is spreading a respect for national sovereignty and for international law and human life. The prevention of territory-related conflicts and the promotion of fundamental human freedoms will help build sustainable peace.
Peaceful Settlement of Conflicts – peaceful settlement of conflicts is the defining element transforming a culture of war into a culture of peace. The idea is that all concerned groups will come together and immerse themselves in a peaceful dialogue and negotiation in order to reach consensus on peaceful, nonviolent solutions.
Development: a declaration on the Right to Development A/RES/41/128 was adopted on 4 December 1986 by the General Assembly, stating that the right to develop socially, politically, culturally, and economically is inalienable. The UN does not ignore the importance of ensuring the sustainability of such development either; the peace, development, and sustainability of our world are all inextricably connected.
Freedom: the freedom to express ourselves and our opinions is one of the basic elements in a modern, progressive society. Choking the voice of the media or of the people only disturbs the peaceful environment of a country. Each individual should have the right to ask questions about what is happening in the government and its policies and get a satisfactory answer. Furthermore, all of our rights are interconnected—limiting the rights of women to keep them uninformed and suppressed leads to social and economic inequalities, which only lead to disaster for both development and interpersonal peace.
Article 2 — This article highlights the link between a culture of peace and values and attitudes on the level of the individual. If we are to spread a culture of peace worldwide, the engagement and education of everyone at the individual, group, and country levels is key.
Article 3 — Article 3 creates numerous linkages between a culture of peace and other social and development issues. Some of the most pertinent connected goals include:
Peaceful settlement of conflicts
The implementation of human rights, fundamental freedoms, and democracy as vehicles for sustainable peace
Training people in the problem-solving techniques of negotiation, mediation and nonviolent conflict resolution
Building strong democratic institutions
Providing basic facilities and a good quality of life for all
Ensuring and protecting the rights of women and children in society, giving woman an equal decision-making role and educating children to become responsible and productive adults
The elimination of rampant racism, discrimination, and xenophobia that breed hatred and conflict The self-determination of all those living under oppression and foreign occupation, which is enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and numerous other covenants.
Article 4 — This article builds upon the idea that education is the principal means to build a culture of peace. It emphasizes education at all levels, particularly human rights education, which it designates a major driver of change. The importance of human rights education was affirmed by the United Nations in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action of 25 June 1993:
States should strive to eradicate illiteracy and should direct education toward the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. The World Conference on Human Rights calls on all States and institutions to include human rights, humanitarian law, democracy and rule of law as subjects in curricula of all learning institutions in formal and non- formal settings. Human rights education should include peace, democracy, development and social justice, as set forth in international and regional human rights instruments, in order to achieve common understanding and awareness with a view to strengthening universal commitment to human rights. — Paragraphs 79 and 80, Section II(D) of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action
Article 5 — It is up to individual governments to do the actual implementation of UN policies in their own communities, which is why Article 5 calls attention to the importance of local governments in the creation of a culture of peace and nonviolence.
Article 6 — After government and business, civil society plays a very important part in society. How? This sector is generally defined as an aggregate of non-governmental organizations that manifests the interests and will of the people of that country. Because of their close relations with citizens, individuals, groups, minorities and communities, civil society groups can be an important third force in spreading a culture of peace and nonviolence.
Article 7 — The media play a very important role in any society, disseminating information and helping the public form opinions about the issues. The resolution recognizes the educative and informative role of media in shaping the present—and especially the future—generations’ views on a culture of peace and nonviolence.
Article 8 — Establishing a culture of peace and nonviolence is an ongoing effort, and everybody has a role to play in it. The resolution names a number of participants that can have a large impact on the effort. These include parents, politicians, journalists, and religious leaders, to name a few.
Article 9 — The last article of the main body of the resolution addresses the capacity of the UN within this endeavor. The UN has played a vital role so far and will continue to do so, so that the world can come to know what it is to live in a global culture of peace and nonviolence.
According to the UN resolution, there are eight main action areas for the implementation of a culture of peace and nonviolence:
Education 5. Governance
Business (Sus. Dev.) 6. Culture/Religion
Human Rights 7. Technology
Stakeholder (Gender) 8. Peace and Security
“Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed” — the UNESCO constitution opens with this quote, and this sentence efficiently describes the role of UNESCO in the implementation of a culture of peace and nonviolence.
Since its foundation 60 years ago, UNESCO (or the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has been at the forefront of the propagation of democracy, human rights, cultural diversity, and peace throughout the world. Given its role and experience, the UN General Assembly has entrusted UNESCO as the lead agency for the implementation of the “Culture of Peace Programme of Action.”
UNESCO’s sincere efforts are to spread sustainable peace worldwide through implementation of the culture of peace and nonviolence programme of action — th-us it highly encourages preemptive prevention of violence through mediation and negotiation among all groups including between nations in order to truly imbibe the culture of peace into the local and national culture.
Principles for UNESCO’s Culture of Peace Program
UNESCO has maintained a key focus on global education, respect for human rights, and the promotion of sustainable peace. While we can learn from all of the organization’s efforts, the latter of these goals provides a number of guiding principles for others working on peacebuilding and culture of peace. UNESCO’s main plan of action for the implementation of a culture of peace is based upon a number of concepts, among them that:
—Everyday peace is not the mere absence of war, conflict, or violence. Peace is not only ending wars or violence in conflict areas; it is a more refined, long-term plan that aims for the prevention of future conflict as well.
—Everyday peace is an active and collaborative social project. A culture of peace can never be attained if some countries decide to contribute and others don’t. It is an ongoing, collaborative effort in which each country on the macro level and each individual on the micro level will have to work toward its implementation.
—Everyday peace is closely tied to the perception of fairness. An underlying social conception of fairness and acceptable behavior is necessary for the spread of a culture of peace. A perceived absence of fairness in social contexts can greatly reduce an individual’s commitment to peace on the interpersonal and international scales.
—Everyday peace begins in community life. Government policies are only as useful as their implementation, and this implementation is often based on community contexts that drive social interactions on the local level. UNESCO and other groups must find ways to spread the idea of peaceful cultures that ensure that it finds success on these local levels, allowing the movement to gain momentum.
—Everyday peace and economic development are both complementary and reciprocal social conditions. Social development and peace cannot be attained when people do not have the economic means to break the status quo of competition for basic resources. As the UNESCO program states, “economic development… widens the willingness of ordinary people to live with the friction and conflict that is endemic to all social life. Because of this, societies also need to be economically resilient, to ensure that backsliding into eras of more social friction does not occur.
—Everyday peace is not self-maintaining. Maintaining a culture of peace is a continuous effort by the government and by all strata of any society. The most long-lasting peace stems from the individual commitment to the values and principles of nonviolence. We must all work to implement the plan of action.
UNESCO Main Areas of Action
—Improvement of the access to formal and non-formal education. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” A key goal of creating a culture of peace is to ensure everyone has access to quality education, especially instruction in human rights and social responsibility.
—Greater opportunities for exchanges and transfers between cultures. Making international peace an integral part of our lives will include active participation from youth, intellectuals, and teachers. Wide-reaching events that allow for the exchange of cultural traditions and scientific research would help to promote greater intercultural and multisectoral cultural solidarity.
Social media has given a broader audience to news and online information
—Contribution of the media. Educational and social media constitute one of the most important areas of action for the future. Training young media professionals and encouraging more sensitive reporting of conflict areas should be given priority. Additionally, in the last 10 years, the use of social media has helped spread news and educational exchange much faster, to a much larger audience, than ever before. The internet is already a vital resource for global communication, and media professionals and cultural organizations can use this to their advantage to create important dialogues for solidarity and peace.
—Respect for knowledge. Gaining useful insights about culture and how it has flourished over the centuries, finding links between cultures and science to draw comparisons and future behaviors can help in greatly charting out a clear path towards a culture of peace.
—Learning from the past. Since its inception, UNESCO has taken active steps toward the implementation of this action plan and has found success in educational programs that aim to teach us about the mistakes of our history, like a recent project on the Transatlantic slave trade. Learning from these mistakes is one of the best ways forward.
The International Programme for a Culture of Peace and Dialogue (discussed below) is based on UNESCO’s Principles and Plan of Action for a Culture of Peace. It relies heavily on providing formal and nonformal education, focus on youth, inclusion of cultures for networking, contribution of media and learning from past programmes. The success of this programme has strengthened the principles of culture of peace and nonviolence such as that peace is an active and collaborative effort, peace begins with community life and everyday peace and economic development are both complementary and reciprocal social conditions.
The International Programme for a Culture of Peace and Dialogue
The King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Programme for a Culture of Peace and Dialogue was established by UNESCO and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 12 October 2010. The program arose from the framework of UNESCO’s Culture of Peace and Nonviolence and has as its focus the improvement of intersocietal dialogue and the implementation of peacebuilding mechanisms across the globe. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia allocated USD$5 million to ensure that these goals can be met. Phase I of the program was implemented from 2012 to 2014 and focused on youth participation in spreading a culture of peace and nonviolence. The key projects and achievements are of the first phase were:
—Empowering Youth. The activities undertaken in Phase I were designed with the importance of youth participation in mind. The program aimed to equip youth from over 39 countries with the leadership skills to contribute more in local community developmental projects. Conferences and seminars were held on topics such as “Youth Volunteering and Dialogue,” “Let’s know our Sudan project,” and “Cultural diversity for dialogue and development: a message from Lebanon to the world.” Participants were trained in research, intercultural dialogue, and media advocacy while learning from the experiences of their peers from across the world. Youth participation and empowerment were the main objectives of these projects. The program helped teach youth from different countries and cultures to communicate about and better understand the culture of peace and nonviolence program.
—Developing Pedagogical Resources. Despite the progress of digital information technology in the last decade, the continued importance of traditional education curricula should not be underestimated. Thus, the program aimed to develop a framework for Global Citizenship Education to be used by policy makers, curriculum developers, and professional educators in the Arab States. Two accredited undergraduate and master’s degree program on Intercultural Dialogue were developed and implemented in universities across the Arab States, and two Philosophical Dialogues were held with philosophers from 13 countries to promote the often overlooked philosophic traditions of the Global South.
—Media Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue (MILID). In the face of an increase in hate speech and religious radicalization, it is an important function of the media to share information in a culturally sensitive way and promote the ideas of the culture of peace and nonviolence program. Thus, MILID has equipped the media with materials for promoting it in it’s programming. UNESCO has led several projects to implement MILID, enhancing the freedom of expression and publication of information. Two online MILID courses were developed, and 20 universities were involved in their implementation. A conference on the ‘The Potential of Media in the Promotion of a Culture of Dialogue’ was also held and was attended by top media professionals in the Arab States.
—Strengthening Dialogue and Mutual Understanding through Innovative Resources. A key component of this program was the implementation of new and innovative resources for making this program successful. The program, in tandem with UNESCO, has organized multilingual art exhibitions and created numerous websites that provide peer-to-peer access to professional knowledge. These creative methods have helped spread the culture of peace message to the world and make culture of peace a part of our everyday lives, not just an abstract concept introduced by the UN.
Phase II — The fourth Steering Committee Meeting of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Programme for a Culture of Peace and Dialogue was held in Riyadh on 6 March 2017, where it was agreed that the next phase will focus on countries like Iraq, Syria, and Yemen and the focus areas will be on conflict prevention and peacebuilding.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS 2030 (SDGs)
Officially known as “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” and passed by consensus of the member states with UN Resolution A/RES/70/1 in September 2015, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals cover most of the issues in which the UN agencies work. For the purposes of the Culture of Peace and Nonviolence, the most relevant of the SDGs is Goal 16.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 16
Goal 16 mainly focuses on spreading peace and justice and setting up strong democratic institutions, especially in developing countries, by 2030 through a series of specific targets.
The 12 Targets of Goal 16
Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere
End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children
Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all
By 2030, significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organized crime
Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms
Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels
Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels
Broaden and strengthen the participation of developing countries in the institutions of global governance
By 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration
Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements
Strengthen relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, for building capacity at all levels, in particular in developing countries, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime.
Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
Sustainable development and sustainable peace are both indispensable and interdependent—the world absolutely needs both, and both need each other in order to succeed and last. The UN Sustainable Development Goals are a measurable and precise path to sustainable development, and they all are interrelated.
A UN Event entitled “Building Sustainable Peace for All: Synergies between the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustaining Peace” was held on 24 January 2017. The objective of this seminar was to find the relation between sustainable development and sustainable peace and to determine how the 2030 Agenda would help us in achieving sustainable development and sustainable peace together. The answer to these questions lies in what Mr. Juan José Gómez Camacho, Permanent Representative of Mexico and Chair of the Group of Friends of Sustaining Peace, said: “The only way we avoid conflicts, the only way we achieve peace, is by ensuring that societies have the minimum means to create prosperity.” We see that each of the seventeen Goals in the 2030 Agenda is needed for any country to meet the basic necessities for its people—a life free of poverty, hunger, and inequalities and full of good health, education, economic growth, climate action, and sustainable peace. Once we achieve these Goals, it will be easier then to build peaceful and sustainable societies. Sustainable peace and sustainable development are interdependent because if a country breaks from peace, it will lose its progress in the other Goals as well. It is hard to supply quality education and ensure the rights of every human when resources are being diverted to violent conflict.
The 2030 Agenda emphasizes achieving sustainable peace through the two pillars of conflict prevention and gender equality. Early detection of conflict and effective reporting are the methods through which we can start the process of conflict prevention. The role of youth in building peaceful and inclusive societies cannot be ignored. As Mr. Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava, then-President of the UN Economic and Social Council, said in 2017: “Finding cohesion between education, training, and jobs is very important.” The youth need to find meaningful and satisfying jobs so that they are not drawn to violent and illegal methods to earn money. The solution can be found in diversifying the private sector, which will lead to infrastructure and industrial development, which will ultimately result in the creation of more jobs. The youth need to be engaged positively in our societies to feel the necessity of ensuring sustainable peace in their local and wider communities.
Goal 16 of the SDGs also emphasizes building strong institutions with better access to justice for all, participatory governance, sound policies, and cooperation among and within countries. People feel more secure with stable governments and lose trust when there is ineffective governance. Effective and accountable institutions are not only essential for achieving Goal 16, but their creation is a “golden thread” running through the success of all of the SDGs.
The 2030 Agenda is a universal plan that is promoted by the UN, but all countries, governments, businesses, civil society organizations, and people need to make it part of their everyday lives in order to guarantee that it is a universal success. The integration of the 2030 Agenda, sustainable development, and sustainable peace cannot be overstated. As Mr. Peter Thompson, then-President of the UN General Assembly, concluded in 2017: “There can be no sustainable development without sustainable peace and no sustainable peace without sustainable development. This is an established tenet of the UN.”
MAKING CULTURE OF PEACE A REALITY
Johan Vincent Galtung, a renowned Norwegian sociologist, mathematician, and author became the principal founder of the academic study of peace and conflict. His work is now one of the largest sources on theoretical peacebuilding. As a way to visualize the work on creating a culture of peace, Galtung proposed viewing peace through a schematic that has been dubbed the “peace triangle.” He suggested that every conflict has three components:
PEACEMAKING: The first component is the attitudes of the conflicting parties. To start the process of maintaining peace and avoiding violence, parties need to change their attitudes toward each other, reducing hostilities and beginning to view the other as a partner in forging a mutually better society. Once an initial peace has been made, it can be built upon through the other aspects of the triangle.
PEACEKEEPING: The second component is the behaviors of the parties. In order to stop the escalation of violent conflict, there needs to be a change in the behavior of the parties. The UN provides peacekeeping forces that seeks to ensure the avoidance of recidivist conflict in places that have recently attained peace.
PEACEBUILDING: The third component is peacebuilding, which is achieved by resolving the underlying causes of the conflict. If the parties can negotiate and recognize the inherent source of the conflict, they can resolve them, preventing the recurrence of violence caused by the same issues.
Peace Triangle and SDG 16
Galtung’s Peace Triangle and SDG 16 are of course connected. The specific targets in SDG 16 enumerate the goals that we want to achieve in order to promote peace. The Peace Triangle gives us a very clear understanding of how those targets can be achieved, especially in a conflict zone. The peace triangle can be taken as a very useful path of action for attaining peace, as it also emphasizes maintaining long-lasting peace rather than just ending violence.
The Programme of Action for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence is based in UN General Assembly Resolution A/53/243. Based on its introduction there, and on UNESCO’s implementation in conflict situations worldwide and on the SDGs, we believe the following eight summary points can be made:
FROM UN RESOLUTION A/53/243
1. Transforming Cultures
UN General Assembly Resolution A/53/243 clearly highlights the need to create peace that is specifically sustainable with the following words:
Recognizing that peace not only is the absence of conflict, but also requires a positive, dynamic participatory process where dialogue is encouraged and conflicts are solved in a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation
UNESCO’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Programme in Saudi Arabia was largely focused on creating sustainable peace. The emphasis of the program was on including and encouraging the participation of youth and introducing them to a culture of peace. By ensuring youth participation, UNESCO hopes to raise the next generation with the ideals of long-lasting peace driven by intercultural cooperation.
2. Every Segment of Society Must Work Together
The success of this endeavor largely depends on the inclusion of all sections of society. The resolution names eight areas of society especially that must come together, but the it is imperative that everyone participate, regardless of affiliation, because a culture of peace requires a change in the core thinking of all individuals—it cannot be restricted only to those who frame it. For the program to be successful, it must see universal acceptable on the fundamental level of the individual.
The 2030 Agenda is known for its universal nature, as it was been formed with the ultimate goal of development and prosperity for all, everyone must do their part in contributing to the achievement of that goal.
FROM UNESCO (applications to the SDGs are highlighted)
3. Education is the Most Important Action Area
UNESCO has found that education is by far the most important area for creating a culture of peace. UN Resolution A/RES/243 also identifies the importance of education in Article 4, which clearly states,“Education at all levels is one of the principal means to build a culture of peace. In this context, human rights education is of particular importance. UNESCO has worked extensively to make education as its foundation for spreading a culture of peace.”
The King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Programme not only organized events around educating youth, but also built learning resources and educational curricula for a better understanding and dialogue that could be applied globally.
Goal 4 of the SDGs (Quality Education) clearly states the importance of not only providing education for the next generation, but also of providing learning and skill-building opportunities throughout individuals’ lifetimes.
Past successes have clearly showed that education is a major building block for achieving the Culture of Peace and Nonviolence program, and it must be top priority for future implementation efforts.
In addition, a major priority of the 2030 Agenda is bringing about a drastic change in culture through the reduction of inequality and the assurance of roles for women in peace processes, and education is crucial to this effort. Experts have begun to realize that the participation of women in decision-making greatly helps in transforming cultures and moving them from a culture of war to one of peace. Furthermore, education is also crucial to making communities safe from violence, economically resilient, and environmentally sustainable, thus representing other crucial interlinkages of SDG 4 on education with other SDGs
4. Youth, Media, and Preserving Local Traditional Cultures
UNESCO implementation has revealed additional high-priority areas besides education, including engaging youth, training media, and preserving traditional cultures. Articles 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 of the UN General Assembly Resolution A/53/243 clearly enlist the government, civil society, media, professionals, and religious bodies as other players that are equally important in helping to spread the culture of peace.
Goal 8 of the SDGs (Good Jobs and Economic Growth) is focused particularly on the inclusion of youth in society in a meaningful way so that they also will help in achieving sustainable peace as important community stakeholders.
5. Action Areas Also Represents Actors
Each action area should also engage the organizations that play important roles in those areas. For example, the UN system of Major Groups would fit perfectly as representatives within the program’s eight action areas. Please note that, because of the interconnectivity of the SDGs, this is not by any means an exhaustive list of linkages within the SDG and Major Group systems.
Education — Goal 4 — Youth Major Group
Business — Goals 8 and 9 — Business and Industry and Farmers Major Groups
Human Rights — Goals 5, 10, and 16 — Disabled, Elderly, Indigenous, Women's, and Youth Major Groups
Gender Issues — Goal 5 — Women's Major Group
Government — Goals 11 and 16 — Local Authorities Major Group
Culture and Religion — Goal 16 — Indigenous and NGO Major Groups
Science and Technology — Goals 7, 9, and 13 — Science and Technology Major Group
Security — Goal 16 — NGO (and it’s Peace Thematic Cluster) and Peace Major Groups (not started yet)
FROM THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AGENDA 2030
6. Sustainable Peace and Sustainable Development are Interdependent
An important axiom that has emerged as a major point of the still evolving Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, in that where there is no peace, then it is very difficult to work on development, and where there is no development, any peace in that area will soon fall apart.
FROM SPIRITUAL GROUPS
7. A Balance of Inner and Outer Peace is Essential
Spiritual groups agree that inner peace must be practiced in order to better support efforts toward outer peace. The idea is to find a balance between the outer world (i.e. activities in the physical world) and the inner world within us (i.e. experiences of one’s own inner spirit, emotions and thoughts). Trying to attain this balance will help us in spreading a culture of peace, because of how our inner experience influences our attitudes and behaviors. Thus, inner turmoil, for example, could produce negative external behaviors, whereas inner peace will more easily lead to actions of peace, cooperation, and compromise.
ADDITIONAL SUMMARY POINTS
8. Culture of Peace as a Realistic Descriptive Framework — The Programme of Action is a descriptive framework for what is to be happening now in the peace movement, in the present, not just an abstract ideal to be achieved in the future. Article 1 of Resolution A/53/243 states the meaning of a culture of peace and Articles 2 and 3 are a framework of the approach to achieve this program. The resolution has laid out very specific goals and objectives for the implementation a culture of peace in Article 3. Among them are promoting peaceful settlement of conflicts; mutual respect and understanding; international cooperation; incorporation of people at all levels in dialogue, negotiation, consensus-building and peaceful resolution of differences; strengthening democratic institutions; and eliminating all forms of discrimination against women.
UNESCO has followed this framework to implement and invest in its projects directed towards a culture of peace.The Saudi Arabia program has helped train youth to develop negotiation and mediation skills and advanced understanding among the different cultures of the world, including ethnic and religious minorities.
The 17 SDGs are further goals related to sustainable peace and development. They are easy to understand so that individuals can start implementing them in their everyday lives and countries can begin to adapt the goals to their cultural contexts.
We can conclude that the program is a well-defined framework and that the UNESCO has been successfully implementing it in various projects and will continue to do so through its work on the Sustainable Development Goals.
9. Easy-to-Use Names — We strongly recommend that each action area be given easy-to-use names for better identification and easier communication about these ideas. Easy-to-use names provide a shorthand to quicken communications to help promote the Culture of Peace and Nonviolence Program.
As we have seen, all the SDGs have been given specific symbols and colors and a shortened name, which makes them more recognizable and easier to recall. Such a step is a basic marketing tactic from which culture of peace documents could benefit.
The UN has been recognizing the growing importance of a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence in today’s tumultuous times by continuously passing relevant resolutions for the world to take notice and start implementing them as best as they can. The Galtung Peace Triangle has beautifully deconstructed how peace can actually be achieved and maintained. UNESCO has been organizing important events for executing the message of a culture of peace. It has been realized that culture of peace is not a concept in isolation but has implications for all countries, governments, minority groups, NGOs, and the UN and its focus areas like the 2030 Agenda.
The continuous efforts by the UN and the implementation by UNESCO and relevant governmental groups can be seen as models for countries that want to understand and implement a culture of peace themselves. The successful implementation of the different phases of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Programme for a Culture of Peace and Dialogue in Saudi Arabia gives a path to follow for those seeking to implement similar programs for peace. It also gives hope for the world that the UN had envisioned at its birth seven decades ago, a world without conflict and suffering, where women are treated equally, poverty is eradicated, natural resources are available for all, and ecosystems are restored, a world of resilient cities with plenty of quality jobs, but most importantly, peace and justice for all.