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UNESCO

Women and a Culture of Peace Programme

 

Since the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995), the UN agencies have renewed their commitment to the inclusion of gender in all their activities. To this end UNESCO established the Women and a Culture of Peace Programme (WCP) in 1996.

Priorities

In addition to mainstreaming a gender perspective in the transdisciplinary project "Towards a Culture of Peace" the programme priorities are:

  • Supporting women’s initiatives for peace;
  • Empowering women for democratic participation in political processes to increase their capacity and impact especially in economic and security issues; and,
  • Gender sensitive socialization and training for non-violence and egalitarian partnerships, with a special focus on boys and young men.

Special Project on Women and a Culture of Peace in Africa

The goal of the Special Project on Women and a Culture of Peace in Africa (1998 – 1999) is to strengthen women's roles as promoters of a culture of peace both at the national and regional level. This is being done through (i) the development of case studies on women's traditional conflict resolution and mediating practices, (ii) the development of training modules for gender sensitive training of women trainers, and (iii) generally lending support to women's initiatives for peace and networking opportunities, including through women peace mission to conflict areas. Reports on women’s best practices for peace in Burundi, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Cameroon and Central African Republic have been completed and the FAWE/UNESCO training modules are being tested in different contexts.

Pan African Women’s Conference on a Culture of Peace

The Pan African Women’s Conference on a Culture of Peace and Non-violence was held in Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania from May 17-20, 1999 and provided a forum for African women to develop their own agenda for conflict resolution, peace-building and reconciliation. The Conference, attended by 300 participants from 50 African countries including African women policy makers, government ministers, parliamentarians, researchers, educators, peace activists and media communications professionals, launched an African Women’s Peace Movement, adopted the Zanzibar Declaration: Women of Africa for a Culture of Peace and a Women’s Agenda for a Culture of Peace in Africa. The Zanzibar Declaration calls for increased women’s participation in decision making, peace promotion, networking between African and international women’s movements, and resource mobilization. It advocates for demilitarization and disarmament of the continent and women’s full access to and use of communication technology for peace promotion. The Agenda enumerates specific actions to be undertaken at the community, national, regional and international level to ensure that gender equality and the full empowerment of women. The Declaration and Agenda were given strong support at the Summit of African Heads of States and Governments, (OAU, Algeria, July 1999) and by the 30th General Conference of UNESCO, (Paris, November 1999).

Gender-sensitive socialization

The Expert Group Meeting on Male Roles and Masculinities in the Perspective of a Culture of Peace held in Oslo, Norway in September 1997, has attracted much attention and follow-up activities including the translation of the report into Russian and Swahili in addition to English, French and Spanish, and the further development of men’s networks against violence (examples: White Ribbon Campaign in Canada, Norway and Sweden; National Organization of Men Against Sexism, USA; Men Against Violence, in Russia and in Latin America). Seminars on gender-sensitive, non-violent male roles and masculinities have been organized (examples: university programme at the Institution Studiorum Humanitatis, Ljubljana, Slovenia, University of Fribourg, Switzerland, University of Natal, South Africa). Other activities have also been organized such as the Men’s March Against Violence in Johannesburg, South Africa. Suggestions for an International Men’s Day and a UN conference on Men are being discussed.

Publications – printed and electronic

Many activities are being undertaken aimed at promoting the concept and vision of a culture of peace.

  • Postcards featuring the winning logos from the logo competition "Visualize your concept of a culture of peace". Posters celebrating the International Year for the Culture of Peace and International Women’s Day.
  • The book Towards a Women’s Agenda for a Culture of Peace published in December 1999 in co-operation with the UN Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW); Women Say No To War sale’s publication and an inter-agency publication on African women’s Best Practices in Peace-building and Non-violent Conflict Resolution were release during the first trimester of 1999.
  • Two other publications are currently being finalized for printing: Male Roles and Masculinities: A Culture of Peace Perspective, and a Women and a Culture of Peace brochure.

Advocacy

Meetings and seminars are also an important part of the advocacy strategy. Meetings were organized in Burundi, April 1998 on Women and a Culture of Peace; in Dar-es-Saleem, June/July, 1998 on "Strengthening Women’s Peace Movements in Africa through Greater Communication" and in Tunis, November 1998 on Women as Peace Promoters. Information on the Culture of Peace was presented at, for example: the 27th International Triennial Congress of WILPF in Baltimore, USA, July 1998; a seminar on Peace and Tolerance in Bertinoro, Italy, November, 1998; a seminar on "Culture of Peace: Utopia or Reality" at the Swiss University of Fribourg, November 1998; two meetings on a Culture of Peace in Oslo, Norway, March and November 1999; and a meeting on Women and Peace in Le Mans, March, 1999; a conference organized by the Resource Center for the UN in San Francisco, March 1999; a discussion forum at the University of California at Berkeley, March 1999; a symposium on Human Security in the Southern African Context in The Hague, the Netherlands, October 1999; a seminar on Men and Violence against Women at the Council of Europe, Strasbourg, France, October 1999; a conference on Women and Democracy at the Dawn of the New Millennium in Reykjavik, Iceland, October 1999; a presentation and discussion on Men against Violence, UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, October 1999; co-operation with the Swedish Red Cross and UNICEF in organizing a round table on the subject of gender-based violence at the 27th International Red Cross Conference, Geneva, November 1999; a meeting on women’s participation in democratic processes in Latin America and the Caribbean, coordinated by the Permanent Delegation of the Dominican Republic to UNESCO, Dominican Republic, December 1999 and in radio presentations such as on BBC, RFI and PANA.

Future Orientation:

Activities planned for the coming biennium include: - Follow-up activities to the Pan African Women’s Conference on a Culture of Peace; - emphasizing socialization and training for non-violence, especially among young men, through awareness and advocacy campaigns; - preparing of a UNESCO Summer School on a Culture of Peace aimed at training and developing a global cadre of professionals who would disseminate information and display values associated with a culture of peace while concurrently inspiring academic research on the concept of the culture of peace and the values, attitudes and practices that contribute to this culture; - the search for partnership for a possible UNESCO Award for the most ‘Gender Sensitive Culture of Peace Initiatives by Men’ as a way of promoting male role models who display attitudes that are consistent with the values of a culture of peace; - gathering and sharing best practices in overcoming gender-based violations of human rights with a view to establishing a possible Observatory within UNESCO’s fields of competence. Co-operation will be sought with relevant institutions and organizations.

WCP Programme - UNESCO Tel: 33 1 45 68 12 12 / FAX: 33 1 45 68 55 57 / Email i.breines@unesco.org

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