Midterm global review of the
International Decade for a Culture of
Peace and Non-Violence for the Children
of theWorld, 2001-2010
**

60ª Assembléia Geral das Nações Unidas
19/08/2005
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3. World Health Organization

25. In the last 10 years the World Health Organization (WHO) has devoted substantial
attention to addressing violence as a major public-health problem. In October 2002, WHO
launched the World Report on Violence and Health, the first report of its kind. The report
described the extent of violence as a global publichealth problem, set out a public-health-
oriented prevention strategy, and made nine recommendations that are the foundation for
the violence prevention work of WHO. The Global Campaign for Violence Prevention was
launched immediately after the release of the World Report in October 2002 and continues
today, providing a platform for violence prevention advocacy and activities. The objectives
of the campaign are to raise awareness about the problem of violence, highlight the crucial
role that public health can play in addressing its causes and consequences and encourage
action at every level of society. In response to the launch of the World Report on Violence
and Health
, the World Health Assembly passed resolution WHA 56.24, which urged member
States to promote the report, appoint a ministry of health focal point for violence
prevention and prepare a national report on violence and violence prevention. As of
October 2004, over 40 countries had launched the report and nominated health ministry
focal points; five countries had prepared national reports on violence and health (Belgium,
Costa Rica, France, Jordan and the Russian Federation), with 14 additional countries
(Brazil, France, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, South
Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the
United Kingdom) planning reports for 2005-2006. The World Report has sparked several
other regional resolutions and commitments notably in Africa where the Heads of States
members of the African Union (AU) passed a resolution in 2003 endorsing the
recommendations of the World Report on Violence and Health and requesting member
States to develop national plans of action for violence prevention and systems for data
collection on violence. The AU resolution also requested member States to declare 2005
the "African Year of Prevention of Violence", for the purpose of scaling up and coordinating
violence prevention policies and activities.

26. The World Health Organization has also been active for many years in addressing
sexual violence and intimate partner violence. In 1996, WHO began the multi-country
study on women's health and domestic violence against women in order to obtain reliable
data on the root causes, magnitude and consequences of violence against women. In
addition, to help ensure that women and children who have been sexually abused have
access to adequate care, WHO began an initiative in 2001 to strengthen the health
sector's response to sexual violence. That initiative includes the development of guidelines
for providing care to sexual assault survivors and the development of a framework (for
release in 2005) to guide healthsector policies related to sexual violence. WHO, with
financial support from the Global Forum for Health Research, began the Sexual Violence
Research Initiative in 2001 to build an experienced and committed network of researchers,
policymakers, activists and donors to ensure that the many aspects of sexual violence are
addressed from the perspective of different disciplines and cultures. The central activities
of the Initiative include providing information and updates on sexual violence research and
research methods through its website and e-mail discussion group; identifying gaps in the
knowledge base; and promoting research on sexual violence by providing information on
funders, helping to link researchers from different parts of the world and supporting
requests for proposals on key areas that will advance knowledge about sexual violence and
inform interventions.

27. The World Health Organization also initiated several partnerships for violence
prevention, including the Violence Prevention Alliance — a network of WHO member State
Governments, non-governmental and community-based organizations and private,
international and intergovernmental agencies working to prevent violence — the Council of
Europe, the United Nations Development Programme and the Bureau for Crisis Prevention
and Recovery of the United Nations on the United Nations Collaboration for the Prevention
of Interpersonal Violence and the Armed Violence Prevention Programme.


4. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

28. In 2002, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO),in
collaboration with UNESCO, launched the Education for Rural People flagship partnership
within the framework of Education for All and in follow-up to the World Summit on
Sustainable Development (Johannesburg, South Africa, 2002), where it was launched. The
initiative seeks to use education as a means to empower rural people to become fully
integrated actors of development and consequently less apt to be involved in conflicts and
more resilient to recover from them. Actions have included an assessment study on the
state of public policies on education for rural people which resulted in the publication of a
book entitled Education for Rural Development: Toward New Policy Responses; policy
dialogue and field projects on education for rural people; the reinforcement of national
capacities in order to help Governments to promote projects at the country and regional
levels; and the promotion of new partnerships between ministries of education and
agriculture and among Government agencies, civil society and donors.


5. University for Peace

29. The University for Peace Council approved in 2001 a five-year programme to revitalize
the University with the following four major goals: the development and teaching of a
coherent academic programme and its dissemination through state of-the-art
technologies; building up a critical mass of students and faculty at University
headquarters; the extension of University activities into major regions of the world in
response to its global mandate; and the establishment of a sound financial and
management structure.

30. In that context, the new master's academic programme that was launched in 2001 at
the San José, Costa Rica, Campus was expanded to include six M.A. programmes by
August 2004. They are in International Law and Human Rights; International Law and the
Settlement of Disputes; Natural Resources and Sustainable Development (offered as a
dual-degree programme in partnership with the American University, Washington, D.C.);
Gender and Peace Building; International Peace Studies; and Peace Education. A master's
degree programme has also been fully developed in Environmental Security and Peace — a
critical issue for the twenty-first century — and will be operational in August 2005.

31. The University has also been converting and disseminating worldwide teaching
materials — which include specialized courses, individual teaching modules and eventually
full graduate programmes — through state-of-the-art technologies. The specialized Centre
on Education and Information Technologies has been established at University
headquarters and it is now developing programmes on the dissemination of curricular
materials and on distance education, "UPEACE GlobalEd". The objective of the University of
Peace in that field is to develop the substantive content, the methodology and the
international networks and partnerships which will make possible the dissemination of
knowledge and skills in the field of education for peace to partner universities and
individuals throughout the developing world.


6. United Nations University

32. The United Nations University (UNU) organized two major research projects that dealt
exclusively with the International Decade, the broad objective of which was to advance
knowledge of the impact of armed conflict on children and on the challenges in improving
their situation. In those projects, UNU approached children as actors rather than victims,
emphasizing the need for a human security analysis in addition to traditional child rights
advocacy. The research agenda for the Children and War: Impact Conference held in
Canada was focused on identifying and filling critical knowledge gaps regarding the scope,
nature and impact of armed conflict on children and linking the work of scholars and
practitioners. The project "Interact — Children in Armed Conflict" which began in 2001,
included applied research on security issues and addressed the problem of child soldiers in
Africa through a survey of the child soldiers problem; a survey of military personnel about
their perceptions of child soldiers; research on the plight of girl combatants; and creating a
training module for international and regional peacekeeping forces on how to deal with child
soldiers.


B. National level

33. Twenty-six UNESCO National Commissions, representing all regions, responded to
questionnaires. Forty-two national or regional civil society organizations provided
contributions to the report.

34. The following information is a consolidated analysis of the main areas of action, the
progress achieved and the obstacles encountered in promoting a culture of peace as
reported by the respondents.

1. Implementing agencies

35. In most countries, the entity in charge of coordinating culture of peace activities at
the national level is the UNESCO National Commission. National Commissions coordinate
with UNESCO field offices and work with civil society and non-governmental actors to
implement the objectives of the Decade. In several countries, the implementation of the
programme of action is done through specific ministries or institutions according to the
areas pertaining to a culture of peace. In some countries, a formal mechanism was
established for the national coordination of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and
associations working for a culture of peace. An example is the peace forum network, which
was created in the Asia- Pacific region and consists of NGOs working to promote the
culture of peace, in close relation with the UNESCO National Commissions in that region.

2. Main areas of action
Actions to foster a culture of peace through education

36. Education for a culture of peace was promoted at the formal and non-formal levels. At
the formal level, respondents reported that training was offered to assist teachers in
promoting a culture of peace; university programmes and research projects were
developed on themes such as human rights, peace education and gender studies; and in
some countries national plans and policies were adopted to integrate culture of peace
education into the national curricula. Peace education guidelines and manuals were also
developed in or translated into local languages and disseminated to schools and youth
organizations. Teachers exchanged information and best practices in promoting a culture
of peace through the UNESCO Associated Schools Network. It was also reported that art
education proved to be avaluable means of developing cultural values and ideals for a
culture of peace.

37. At the non-formal level, culture of peace activities were offered to vulnerable children
and youth. For example, several National Commissions and field offices in the Caribbean
and Latin America opened schools on weekends to support cultural exchanges and provide
education on civic values through games and training to vulnerable youth and children
affected by crisis. To involve young people in longterm action for a culture of peace, youth
organizations were created. Capacitybuilding and training were also provided to youth
organizations, military personnel and leaders of associations on leadership, human rights
and conflict resolution and transformation.

38. Furthermore, several new UNESCO Chairs were created in areas related to a culture of
peace.

Actions to promote sustainable economic and social development

39. Respondents reported activities aimed at combating poverty and at enhancing
economic and social development through capacity-building for grass-roots organizations,
support to women in rural areas and technical and vocational training.
Activities involved working with rural communities to protect the environment through the
creation of income-generating activities; improving access to basic services in education,
health and nutrition for families in extreme poverty; training professionals on human rights
and democratic governance issues; developing alternative conflict-resolution mechanisms;
developing policies for the advancement of women and gender equality; and developing
policies to recognize the contributions of indigenous communities to cultural diversity.

Actions to promote respect for all human rights and actions to ensure equality
between women and men

40. To promote human rights in Asia and the Pacific, studies were initiated in Central Asia
that address the application of international human rights treaties and the mechanisms and
possibilities for improvement.

41. Activities to protect and promote children and women's rights included the adoption of
national policies and plans with actions for gender mainstreaming in development plans and
the reinforcement of women's participation in decisionmaking.
Furthermore, actions included the creation of specific departments or institutions for the
protection of those rights, the reform of family codes and the creation of mechanisms at
the national and regional levels for the protection of children from trafficking and sexual
exploitation. Projects in Asia and the Pacific focused on the role of boys and men in
promoting gender equality and on problems associated with bride abduction by organizing
training targeting young people, and seminars.

42. With regard to the protection of children from abuse and neglect, a number of
activities were carried out that included training workshops for education professionals,
the integration of child protection concepts into curricula for children, the introduction of
systems for early detection and prevention, studies on the phenomenon of violence in
school and the production of a manual on protecting children from violence. In addition,
awareness-raising activities to sensitize the general public were implemented through the
dissemination of materials translated into several languages.

Actions to foster democratic participation

43. Activities to foster democratic participation included providing support to countries in
transition by advising them on how to foster democratic electoral processes and by
promoting the use of community radios as tools for improving democratic participation.

Actions to advance understanding, tolerance and solidarity

44. Creating opportunities for intercultural dialogue is a powerful tool for promoting mutual
understanding, tolerance and solidarity. In that regard, activities comprised of organizing
encounters among children from different countries or cultural backgrounds in performing
art festivals, training youth in tolerance and conflict resolution through peer-to-peer
approaches, launching a study on world heritage education to learn and care about the
significance of a common heritage and organizing national and regional conferences on the
role of women in intercultural dialogue and on women's contribution to a culture of peace.

45. Several respondents stressed the particular attention given to the implementation of
comprehensive programmes for violence prevention targeting youth, families and
Government personnel. Programmes focused on sensitizing the population to domestic
violence and youth violence issues, initiating research and studies on those issues,
creating specific institutions to provide policy advice to Governments and monitoring the
implementation of activities.

Actions to support participatory communication and the free flow of information
and knowledge

46. Activities geared towards raising public awareness of a culture of peace included
peace marches, concerts, seminars, Manifesto 2000 campaigns, intercultural and inter-
religious gatherings, exhibitions, writing, painting, photography and sports competitions,
radio and television programmes, translation and dissemination of the programme of action
into local languages and other actions aimed at increasing the involvement of the public at
large in culture of peace activities.

47. To support the free flow of information and knowledge about a culture of peace,
activities were undertaken to assist the development of public broadcasting services.

48. In the Arab States, regional workshops, equally attended by men and women, were
organized in collaboration with the Office of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights and UNDP to address issues related to a culture of peace
which included the role of the media in promoting human, economic, social and cultural
rights; the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women; and the role of civil society.

Actions to promote international peace and security

49. In areas affected by long-term conflicts, projects were undertaken to restore social
cohesion and help former combatants reintegrate themselves into civilian society and to
offer opportunities for intercultural dialogue to local communities.

50. Countries in conflict or post-conflict situations noted that there was a transdisciplinary
and holistic approach at the governmental level to restore peace in those countries, thus
responding to the requirements embedded in the concept of a culture of peace.


3. Progress

51. In regard to progress achieved towards creating a culture of peace, respondents
reported that progress had been made in increasing children's access to schools, owing to
the improved awareness of parents, particularly of mothers, of the need for basic
education; an improvement in health-care services and infrastructure provided; greater
involvement of governmental institutions in culture of peace activities; and a better
participation of citizens in electoral processes. The increase in women's participation in
decision-making at the local and national levels was also identified as another indicator of
progress achieved.

52. At the global level, respondents identified an increased awareness among civil society
of issues related to a culture of peace and of peaceful conflict resolution. They highlighted
the fact that the expression and concept of "culture of peace" is now broadly used by all
kinds of actors, which means that the concept has been fully embraced and integrated by
diverse actors. Equally there seems to be a greater awareness of the crucial role of women
in creating a culture of peace.

53. Respondents also mentioned a change in mentalities and behaviour. In countries in
post-conflict situations, there was a marked decrease in violence and former combatants
were better integrated into civilian society. There also appeared to be a decrease in street
children's involvement in violent conflict and a decrease in their use of drugs when they
were made beneficiaries of NGO projects promoting a culture of peace. It was also noted
that young people had become more aware of environmental and social issues and that
behavioural changes were observed among teachers and students who benefited from
peace education and conflict resolution programmes.

54. In some countries new mechanisms for human rights protection were introduced.
Where coordination mechanisms exist, respondents emphasized that the activities carried
out for the Decade allowed organizations with different backgrounds to work together and
helped to create or reinforce networks and partnerships, including among non-
governmental actors and local authorities. Those synergies enhanced the development of
new educational tools and methodologies.
An increased overall awareness has helped the development of political will in favour of
peace and has led to the global recognition that civil society organizations, working in
cooperation with Governments, can be the agents for major change.

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