According to the United Nations, Culture of Peace consists of values, attitudes and behaviours that reflect and inspire social interaction and sharing, based on the principles of freedom, justice and democracy, all human rights, tolerance and solidarity, that reject violence, endeavour to prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation and that guarantee the full exercise of all rights and the means to participate fully in the development process of their society.
United Nations consideration of the Culture of Peace began in 1992 with the adoption by UNESCO of a Culture of Peace Programme. The UN General Assembly, in its resolution 52/13 of 20 November 1997, requested UNESCO to submit to its next session a draft declaration and programme of action on a culture of peace.
On 9 November 1998, upon conclusion of the general debate at the plenary level, the President of the General Assembly mandated Bangladesh to coordinate consultations for adoption of an agreed text of a declaration and programme of action on a culture of peace.
In fulfilment of the mandate, Bangladesh coordinated a lengthy negotiation process which has since ensured that a culture of peace has been established as a way of rising above divisions and conflicts and ensuring the collective well-being of humanity. It may be mentioned here that UNGA declared the Decade 2001-2010 as the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World.
Non-Aligned Movement is committed to ensure that the promotion of a culture of peace at the national, regional, continental and global level is a powerful enabler towards achieving the goals espoused in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Movement has called on Member States to continue to place greater emphasis on and expanding their activities promoting a Culture of Peace at the national, regional and international levels and to ensure that peace and non-violence are fostered at all levels.
The Movement welcomed the UN High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace held in September 2018, which witnessed an active engagement of the NAM Member States. Deputy Permanent Representative of Cuba to the organization, Ambassador Ana Silvia Rodriguez Abascal, said that in order to achieve a culture of peace, a political will and a greater commitment of all States is required to promote respect for life, the end of violence and the practice of non-violence through education, dialogue and cooperation. She stressed that the full validity and enforceability of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, adopted in 2014 in Havana in the framework of the Second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) was a prime example of the region’s commitment to strengthening peace and negotiated solutions to conflicts and differences as well as a contribution to the Culture of Peace at a global level.
At the forum, Sri Lankan Higher Education and Cultural Affairs Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe states that Sri Lanka asserts and re-affirms its commitment to building a Culture of Peace, and recognizes the need for continuous support to further strengthen this global commitment. He stressed that the effort of promoting peace required stronger joint efforts by the international community through partnerships and multi stakeholder support, including civil society, media and the private sector.”
India’s Minister in UN Mission Srinivas Prasad stated that that peace is the natural order of mankind and a Culture of Peace is the corner stone of any global order built on inclusive and tolerant societies.
It is a habit of mind and behavior that needs to be inculcated from a young age and practiced actively. India believes that a Culture of Peace is not just an abstract value or principle to be discussed and extolled in conferences, but needs to be actively built into global relationships between and among nation-states.
By Dr. Pawan Mathur