Commission on the Status of Women
30 January 1996
COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN
11-22 March 1996
Item 5 (a) of the provisional agenda*
MONITORING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NAIROBI FORWARD-LOOKING
STRATEGIES FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN
PRIORITY THEME: PEACE
Education for peace
Report of the Secretary-General
In 1990, the Commission on the Status of Women decided to include
"Education for peace" on the agenda of its fortieth session as the priority
theme under the rubric "Peace". The present report reflects changes which
occurred in approaches to the role of women in education for peace during the
past decade, in particular after the end of the cold war. The report examines
efforts to move towards a culture of peace in the new political environment
and suggests a set of questions that might be addressed by the Commission. It
presents, in an annex, recommendations made by an expert group meeting on
women's contribution to a culture of peace, organized by UNESCO in cooperation
with the Division for the Advancement of Women.
INTRODUCTION ............................................... 1 - 3 3
I. FROM EDUCATION FOR PEACE TO A CULTURE OF PEACE ....... 4 - 13 3
II. ACHIEVEMENT OF A CULTURE OF PEACE IN THE BEIJING
PLATFORM FOR ACTION .................................. 14 6
III. CONCLUDING QUESTIONS ................................. 15 6
Annex. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE EXPERT GROUP MEETING ON
WOMEN'S CONTRIBUTION TO A CULTURE OF PEACE ...................... 8
1. The issue of peace has been one of the main concerns of the United
Nations in terms of the advancement of women since 1975, International Women's
Year. The recognition that the three themes of the United Nations Decade for
Women: Equality, Development and Peace are inextricably interrelated has
provided the basic mandate for the work of the United Nations programme for
the advancement of women with regard to peace. In 1990, the Commission on the
Status of Women decided to include "Education for peace" on the agenda of its
fortieth session as the priority theme under the rubric "Peace".
2. The present report is the second on the subject of education for peace
since the third world conference on women, held in Nairobi in 1985, and
reflects the changes that occurred in approaches to education for peace and
the role of women therein during the past decade. The report describes the
present stage of deliberation of the topic, focusing on women's contributions
to a culture of peace.
3. In order to analyse the role of women in creating a culture of peace in
the new political environment after the end of the cold war, an Expert Group
Meeting on Women's Contribution to a Culture of Peace was convened by the
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in
cooperation with the Division for the Advancement of Women, Department for
Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development of the United Nations
Secretariat, in Manila, from 25 to 28 April 1995. Recommendations and
conclusions of that Meeting are found in the annex below.
I. FROM EDUCATION FOR PEACE TO A CULTURE OF PEACE
4. The first report on education for peace, entitled "Access to information
and education for peace" (E/CN.6/1988/5), was submitted to the Commission on
the Status of Women at its thirty-second session. It presented what was then
the dominant approach to considering the role of women in education for peace,
an approach that had been expressed in the provisions of the Nairobi Forward-
looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women. 1/ It took account of the
fact that, during the cold war period, discussions on the theme of peace were
highly politicized and characterized by a lack of clear focus on gender
differences in approaches to issues related to peace, security and armed
conflict. Although education for peace was one of the few areas in which
governmental debate emphasized women's perspectives and gender-specific
contributions, the degree of analysis that was possible remained limited by
the political climate of confrontation.
5. The report focused on the role of women as educators and the importance
of their access to information and education in peace-related areas, such as
the resolution of conflicts and participation in politics, eradication of
violence against women and the observance of women's human rights. It
identified four areas related to education for peace in which the role of
women was particularly vital: the family, including early child development;
formal education; society; and decision-making. The report also pointed to
the need to collect data and information on women's historical contributions
to peace and on ongoing research on women and peace.
6. Although the report expressed the view that women had potential for
promoting peaceful transformation of society and responsibility for its
future - mainly derived from their role as educators - it did not address
women's rights and responsibilities as citizens. Nor did it elaborate on
women's alternative views or distinct values and approaches, emerging
particularly at the non-governmental level, which could have influenced
perceptions and traditional approaches to war and peace.
7. In the first review and appraisal of the implementation of the Nairobi
Forward-looking Strategies (E/CN.6/1990/5), the approach to education for
peace was based on women's traditional roles. National actions relating to
education for peace were the activities most frequently included in national
reports by most developing and several developed countries under the theme of
peace, but most countries associated women's roles in education for peace with
their roles in the family, as teachers in kindergartens and schools and as
non-governmental organization activists organizing specific training or
actions aimed at selected aspects of peace.
8. The second review and appraisal of the implementation of the Strategies
(A/CONF.177/4), prepared for the Fourth World Conference on Women, took into
account the new political context arising from the end of the cold war. Some
countries had reduced their interest in women and peace on the grounds that it
was no longer valid politically; others had begun to pay more attention to
gender analyses of various peace-related issues and, consequently, to look
more carefully at the activities and theoretical approaches to peace of
feminist scholars and non-governmental activists. Thus, the pattern of
reporting under the second review and appraisal was different. Only a few
countries reported on education for peace in the narrow sense. The majority
emphasized the broader perspective which included gender-related aspects of
disarmament, in particular with regard to nuclear weapons, and the conversion
of resources from military to peaceful uses; women's participation in
decision-making in peace and security areas at the national and international
levels and in international negotiations; the prevention and resolution of
conflicts and post-conflict reconciliation and peace-building; and respect for
and promotion of human rights and humanitarian law.
9. In addition, more attention was given to the issue of war-related
violence against women and the fact that in certain armed conflicts women were
subjected to rape and forced prostitution as a "weapon" to humiliate
adversaries. Attention was also given to the fact that women suffered from
harassment by soldiers and security forces. The realization that women have
rarely been involved in decisions on war or peace but are always their victims
increased the interest of many Governments in the issue of women's
participation in decision-making in peace and security areas and in conflict
resolution and post-conflict peacemaking, at all stages, and in the related
issues of women's participation in military and police forces. Attention was
also given to the creation of an efficient international justice mechanism to
take up the cases of gender-related violence in war time, to punish the
perpetrators and to assist and compensate the victims.
10. A new approach has evolved regarding women and education for peace. It
focuses on the question of how the existing culture of violence could be
changed into a culture of peace and how women could be involved in the
process. This approach became particularly visible during the preparatory
process to the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing and in the recent
work of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
(UNESCO), which established a programme on a culture of peace in 1994.
Specific attention was given to the theory, supported by many feminist authors
and non-governmental organization activists, that all forms of violence, from
family and personal violence to large-scale armed conflicts were interrelated
and had common roots.
11. It is argued that peace between and within nations cannot be achieved
without the elimination of all forms of violence, oppression, discrimination,
militarization and instruments of war and without the preservation of a
healthy environment and participatory democracy. Peace also requires the
development of new types of interpersonal and international relations based on
a comprehensive concept of security, partnership and tolerance. These
considerations were included in the new framework for the deliberations on a
culture of peace. They are elaborated upon in the annex below, comprising the
conclusions and recommendations of the Expert Group Meeting on women's
contribution to a culture of peace. The expertise of the participants, who
came from all regions, ranged from academic theory to grass-roots activism.
The Meeting focused on such features of the culture of violence as
authoritarianism, coercion, security based on weapons instead of conflict
resolution, discrimination, and violence in all its forms and at all levels,
which constitute barriers to the development of a culture of peace.
12. Although the Meeting noted that those features affected both women and
men, women on the whole were particularly affected by gender-related violence
and discrimination and by exclusion from public policy decisions that helped
to define the present and future direction of society. Thus, any discussion
on a culture of peace has to include the issue of gender equality. A culture
of peace could not be created without equality between women and men, and the
transformation from the culture of violence to a culture of peace was
inseparably linked to the elimination of all forms of gender inequality.
13. The Meeting focused on women's specific capabilities and values which
could decisively contribute to the creation of a culture of peace. It
stressed the importance of their cross-cultural exchanges and dialogues
respectful of plurality and differences, allowing alternative conflict
resolution procedures and models of governance. It also pointed to women's
concern with equality between women and men; respect for the human person;
elimination of double standards in international politics and with regard to
human rights; refusal of dominance and discrimination; global interdependence,
mutuality and justice; and shared capacities and responsibilities. If those
values were included in peace- and security-related decisions at the national
and international levels, the quality and the content of agendas would
II. ACHIEVEMENT OF A CULTURE OF PEACE IN THE
BEIJING PLATFORM FOR ACTION
14. The results of the second review and appraisal are reflected in the
Beijing Platform for Action adopted by the Fourth World Conference on
Women. 2/ It concluded, with regard to education for peace, that
"during times of armed conflict and the collapse of communities, the
role of women is crucial. They often work to preserve social order in
the midst of armed and other conflicts. Women make an important but
often unrecognized contribution as peace educators both in their
families and in their societies.
"Education to foster a culture of peace that upholds justice and
tolerance for all nations and peoples is essential to attaining lasting
peace and should be begun at an early age. It should include elements
of conflict resolution, mediation, reduction of prejudice and respect
for diversity." 3/
These conclusions led to the decision to include in the Platform strategic
objective E.4: Promote women's contribution to fostering a culture of peace.
To achieve the objective, a series of actions to be taken by Governments,
international and regional intergovernmental institutions and non-governmental
organizations were specified:
"(a) Promote peaceful conflict resolution and peace, reconciliation
and tolerance through education, training, community actions and youth
exchange programmes, in particular for young women;
(b) Encourage the further development of peace research, involving
the participation of women, to examine the impact of armed conflict on
women and children and the nature and contribution of women's
participation in national, regional and international peace movements;
engage in research and identify innovative mechanisms for containing
violence and for conflict resolution for public dissemination and for
use by women and men;
(c) Develop and disseminate research on the physical,
psychological, economic and social effects of armed conflicts on women,
particularly young women and girls, with a view to developing policies
and programmes to address the consequences of conflicts;
(d) Consider establishing educational programmes for girls and boys
to foster a culture of peace, focusing on conflict resolution by
non-violent means and the promotion of tolerance." 4/
III. CONCLUDING QUESTIONS
15. Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in terms of fostering
a culture of peace raises a number of questions that merit further
consideration by the Commission on the Status of Women at its fortieth
session. Further elaboration of international understandings, norms and
standards in terms of these questions can help facilitate practical action.
1. What are the main differences between women's and men's attitudes to
peace, security, peace-keeping, peacemaking and conflict resolution
which, if taken advantage of, might help to create a more peaceful
environment, and what further research is needed?
2. What policy measures should be undertaken to ensure the integration
of women's perspectives into all mainstream national and
international peace and security activities, building on cases of
women's local initiatives for peace and the conflict resolution
techniques applied at the grass-roots level?
3. To what extent is the success of democratization dependent on full
and equal participation of women in all spheres of life, including
peace and security matters, and what steps and policy measures are
to be taken to involve women immediately and on an equal basis with
men in the democracy-building processes at the national and
4. What issues related to transforming the existing culture of violence
to a culture of peace would need to be addressed through public
policy as a matter of highest priority, especially in terms of
publicly provided or regulated services like education?
5. What kinds of public policy could de-legitimize violence, in
particular violence against women, and encourage effective measures
against it at the national and international levels, including such
measures as guidelines elaborated and adopted at the international
level to assist Governments and intergovernmental organizations in
the preparation of gender-sensitive codes of conduct for their
national and international armed forces?
1/ Report of the World Conference to Review and Appraise the
Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development
and Peace, Nairobi, 15-26 July 1985 (United Nations publication, Sales
No. E.85.IV.10), chap. I, sect. A, paras. 272-276.
2/ "Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women" (A/CONF.177/20),
chap. I, sect. 1.
3/ Ibid., paras. 139-140.
4/ Ibid., para. 146.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE EXPERT GROUP MEETING
ON WOMEN'S CONTRIBUTION TO A CULTURE OF PEACE
(Manila, 25-28 April 1995)
I. PRINCIPLES AND GUIDELINES FOR ACHIEVING A CULTURE OF PEACE
1. A culture of peace will be the fruit of an active struggle to realize
the human values of which women have been the preservers and safeguards. To
clarify the values and goals derived from the discussions of the components
and characteristics of a culture of peace, the participants distilled from
their reflections the following general principles and guidelines for the
development of particular policies and actions undertaken towards the
achievement of a culture of peace.
A. Cultural diversity
2. A culture of peace is one that celebrates human difference and is based
on the diversity of cultures. This means a complete refusal of dominance of
or by ourselves or other people or groups, because it is a culture of freedom
and respect - for human beings, for our rights and for the natural environment
that sustains us. It gives a central place to non-violent and varied
perspectives, including those of women, in the process of peace building.
B. Social and structural change
3. Achieving a culture of peace implies major social structural changes.
The culture of peace should be rooted in the local community, mobilized by
popular participation. The present apparatus of violence will have to be
progressively dismantled. The root causes of conflict will need to be
confronted and gradually eliminated. These processes of social transformation
and structural change can be successful only if they fully integrate a gender
perspective which appreciates the distinctive contributions that both women
and men can make to the resolution of conflict and to its prevention.
4. Since peace cannot be enforced, a culture of peace cannot be imposed.
For their contributions to be realized, women must have full and equal access
to all areas of political action and decision-making. This process towards a
culture of peace will have to attend to the variety of mechanisms and
behaviours, many of them unconscious, by which the culture of violence is
perpetuated, ranging from the actual institutions of violence through mass
media and entertainment of everyday language, family relations, child rearing
C. Towards comprehensive security
5. It is necessary to deepen and extend the concept of security in order to
encompass such essential dimensions as ecological, economic, political,
cultural, social, and individual security. Effective mechanisms for peace and
confidence-building must be devised. Security in the traditional sense would
thus be strengthened and aggression could not be easily rationalized or
6. A new concept and new policies of security will necessitate changes in
the practices and structures of institutions responsible for ensuring national
and international security. Ultimately all aspects of the State system and
the international institutions involved in international security matters
should be transformed in that direction, so as to be more democratic and
gender-balanced. The primary focus of security policies should be on long-
range prevention, peacemaking and peace-building rather than on the use of
force when crises erupt. The equal inclusion of women in all peace and
security activities of the United Nations system at all levels, especially
decision-making, is essential. Consequently, all parts of the United Nations
dealing with women's concerns and interests should be strengthened and
D. Respect for human rights
7. The foundation, a culture of peace, requires full respect for all human
rights and a complete end to discrimination. Laws should be reviewed,
ensuring their compliance with the standards of equality set in international
instruments such as the Charter of the United Nations, the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women a/ and the UNESCO
Convention against Discrimination in Education. b/ There should be continuous
dissemination and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of
Action c/ on human rights and concerted actions for the elimination of all
forms of violence against women, as stipulated in the Declaration on the
Elimination of Violence Against Women. d/ Certain types of violence against
women should no longer be regarded as legitimate domestic behaviour but dealt
with as human rights violations. The work of the Special Rapporteur on
Violence against Women should be vigorously supported and the results of her
studies widely disseminated.
E. Partnership contracts
8. From the family to global society, a culture of peace will require new
social contracts based on equality and partnership. Interpersonal relations
are at their best when based on freedom of choice and sharing of
responsibilities, entailing a break with traditionally imposed gender roles
and ensuring equality of opportunity.
9. The family, in all its forms, is the first environment through which a
culture of peace can be transmitted and internalized. Thus, the role of
parents, both fathers and mothers and all adult care-givers, and their
formation is crucial to the development of the entire human person. The
importance of the family as a bearer of cultural values means that what
happens in the domestic realm cannot be confined to an area of silence and
inattention. Violence in the family is as significant a barrier to a culture
of peace as violence in the international system, just as equality between men
and women in the family as well as in the larger society is essential to a
culture of peace.
10. In the larger society principles of human equality must prevail. Women
must have full and equal access to all areas of political action and
decision-making, including economic, social and cultural policy-making. There
is no democracy without the full and equal citizenship of women and men, or
without the full, responsible participation of all citizens.
11. A culture of peace is built upon recognition of the realities of global
interdependence, common human needs and common responsibility for the human
future. Therefore, the family of nations must also be reorganized on the
basis of a partnership contract, transcending the present inequities among and
within them. In particular, economic inequities and political injustices must
be confronted and overcome and the spirit of competition replaced with one of
F. Development for economic and social justice
12. Social and economic development policies and programmes also need to be
closely and critically examined for their impact on the human rights of women
and peace and conflict issues, just as they are examined for their impact on
the natural environment. Development must be not only environmentally
sustainable but also humanely and socially sustainable. Because of their
socially divisive effects and especially because of the suffering they impose
on women, structural adjustment programmes in particular should, subject to
the critical review for revision and, if necessary, to the goals espoused
here, be brought to an end. It is no longer acceptable to achieve good
economic management at the expense of social security. Above all, the flow of
resources from the poorer to the richer sections of the world makes it
difficult, if not impossible, to develop a culture of peace, especially in
those countries that most suffer from armed conflicts. The process of
exclusion and marginalization, both within as well as between countries, must
be addressed. The continued theft from the poor has to end.
13. A culture of peace requires eliminating double standards and
acknowledging the responsibilities of human solidarity. The suffering of any
people is the responsibility of the world community. In a culture of peace,
people are neither exploitable nor expendable. A culture of peace assures the
dignity and the well-being of the vulnerable.
G. Education, arts and communication for transformation
14. There can be no progress towards a culture of peace without long-term
programmes of public education. These will include literacy and basic
education programmes in all the poorer sectors of society, equally available
to girls and women, boys and men. The formal education curricula, which have
emphasized knowledge and skills but neglected values and attitudes, should
venture into innovative ways to introduce values education based on the
culture of peace values described in this report and convey knowledge about
the possibilities for and obstacles to peace and the particular skills of
peacemaking and peace-building. Such knowledge and skills must be integral to
education at all levels and in all spheres. Education for a culture of peace
is education in its widest sense, involving not only schools and universities
but all social arenas in which people learn and are enculturated.
15. Art is curative, instructive, and transformative. All of the arts are
potential agents of transformation. Artists should accept their
responsibility to intervene in the processes of violence with "curative"
artistic actions, to teach about peace and to project visions of transformed
societies that provide hope for and models of peaceful global society.
16. Community activities and actions by civil society, organizations and
individuals such as teachers, artists, journalists and writers are vital for
the promotion of values conducive to peace and justice. The challenge is to
create new and peaceful types of strategies of peace that integrate the
marginalized and find new possibilities for participation, guided by
inclusiveness, generosity, solidarity and dialogue, which are open to the
richness and diversity of cultures.
17. In sum, the principles of a culture of peace comprehend the reality of
humanity as one species, one diverse family with multiple ways of being human,
but none the less primarily human, human beyond gender, beyond nation/State,
human within a rich and varied array of cultures. For all, there is one home,
Earth, a planet of multiple landscapes sustaining one living ecosystem. We
are one family in one common home. We struggle for a culture of peace to
II. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR POLICY-MAKING AND ACTION TOWARDS
A CULTURE OF PEACE
18. The achievement of a culture of peace will depend upon consistent,
continuous and carefully planned policies and actions on the part of all
sectors of international society.
19. The participants strongly recommend that the following policies be
implemented and actions taken by the United Nations system, Governments and
various actors of civil society. These recommendations are but a few of those
the participants foresee as contributing to the transformation from a culture
of war to a culture of peace.
A. Gender equality and human rights
20. Because the recommendations conceive of a culture of peace in large part
based upon the assumption that peace in any form requires the recognition and
implementation of the international human rights standards and the fundamental
principle of equality between women and men, they call for actions to ensure
such implementation and equality.
21. All structures and programmes related to issues of women and gender
within the United Nations system, especially those at the grass-roots level,
should be strengthened and properly budgeted in order to make them more
responsive to the concerns, interests, actual needs and demands of women.
22. The United Nations system should be encouraged to publicize and
disseminate information on the human rights of women, so that those rights
become known by every woman and man and so that women can claim the legal
rights assured to them by international standards.
23. All relevant international legal standards - especially United Nations
documents, in particular those related to peace, security, and the status of
women - should be translated into national and local languages and
disseminated at the national and local levels so that all peoples of the world
can become informed about the potential legal bases of a culture of peace.
24. The Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951) and its
Protocol (1967) e/ should be revised from a gender perspective in order to
include violence against women and discriminating cultural practices as legal
grounds for granting refugee status.
25. Governments should make every effort to remove from national legislation
all de jure discriminatory provisions, prevailing mainly in the areas of civil
and family law. International legal standards should be fully implemented
through national legislative and judiciary systems. What is at present
assurance de jure of the rights of women in international standards should
become de facto international, national and local practice. Special efforts
should be made to implement the principles of the Declaration on the
Elimination of Violence Against Women. d/
26. Governments should organize awareness-raising and awareness-training
seminars for members of legislative governmental and judiciary bodies in order
to familiarize those members with all international standards of equality and
the human rights of women.
27. Women should be encouraged to participate in continuous professional and
career development and, in particular, take part in entrepreneurship and
28. Women of different professions should be given support in their careers
and incentives to participate in public forums. Women's actions through
social and professional networks, especially in the promotion of a culture of
peace, should be supported by Governments and organizations of civil society.
29. The civil society should also support the work of the Special Rapporteur
on Violence against Women by, for example, establishing monitoring mechanisms
comprised primarily by women to inquire into conditions and incidence of
sexual harassment, abuse and exploitation of women, especially in areas of
armed conflict and areas to which peace-keeping forces are dispatched, at all
levels and in all sectors of society, including the domestic and family
spheres. Harmful traditional practices and all violations of international
standards on the human rights of women should be legally redressed. The
findings of the Special Rapporteur should be frequently presented at public
hearings. In extreme cases, independent investigative commissions should be
established and, when necessary, national and international tribunals on
violence against women should be held. If warranted, public tribunals should
be held. These or similar steps should be taken to assure that violence
against women is in fact recognized as a human rights violation and that its
perpetrators will be held accountable.
30. All sectors of society should elaborate specific plans to promote a new
"gender contract" based on authentic equality between women and men, including
sharing of family and household responsibilities, opportunities for education,
participation in economic and public affairs, and matters of peace and
B. Security and peace-keeping
31. In formulating their recommendations on security and peace-keeping, the
participants affirmed and supported the considerations and recommendations of
the Expert Group Meeting on Gender and the Agenda for Peace, organized by the
Division for the Advancement of Women in December 1994, which sought to
emphasize the need for strengthening women's participation in security matters
and alternatives to armed conflict.
32. All peace and security efforts of the United Nations should focus on the
prevention of violent conflicts and peace-building in its broadest sense.
Participants recommended that some of the non-violent types of interventions
women have undertaken should be considered for implementation by the United
33. Some of the recommendations of the Commission on Global Governance, f/
such as to broaden concepts and definitions of security and to democratize the
Security Council by such measures as making the membership more representative
of all people and by eliminating the veto power, should be considered among
the steps taken to strengthen the United Nations.
34. The United Nations system should review from a gender perspective the
approaches and methods used in the implementation of the Secretary-General's
agenda for peace and agenda for development and any policies or initiatives
related to conflict resolution, peace-keeping and peace-building.
35. In order to assure equal participation of women, the most transparent
modes of selecting and assigning personnel for all peace-related programmes
should be used by the United Nations.
36. Women should be represented and their competence used in all peace- and
security-related activities and at all levels, including the decision-making
levels, in accordance with the recommendations of the Expert Group Meeting on
Gender and the Agenda for Peace, which calls for at least 40 per cent women in
37. The United Nations system, and in particular UNESCO, should promote and
support indigenous initiatives for peace, conflict resolution and peace
education, especially those developed and practised by women and popular
38. Governments should develop initiatives to ensure civil control of the
military and restrict, monitor and control the production of and trade in arms
and reinforce all preventive diplomacy measures and possibilities.
39. Governments should prevent and prohibit the dehumanizing methods of
training and discipline in the military and the use of negative images of
women as a way of constructing the internal culture of armed forces.
C. Social and economic development
40. The participants were convinced of the need to consider all social and
economic development policies and projects in light of their consequences to
women and to the enhancement of a culture of peace.
41. The United Nations should review policies of the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) and international financial institutions regarding grants, loans,
and structural adjustment programmes in terms of their effects on women, their
compliance with gender-equality guidelines and the consequences they may have
on the possibilities for a culture of peace.
42. Governments should assure that all social groups are informed about
economic and social rights and their equal application to women and men; they
should protect the rights of ethnic minorities and ensure their social
43. Governments should confront poverty within the context of developmental
strategies, elaborating them from a gender perspective. Such strategies
should imply the general improvement of the socio-economic status of
disadvantaged groups, especially the poor. The civil society should provide
support to networks promoting a culture of peace in all regions and should
lobby, at both the national and international levels, for the elimination of
oppressive practices and structures which marginalize and exclude women from
the economy, politics and social development.
D. Education, arts and communication
44. The participants recognized education as a powerful source for
socialization and stressed the need for Governments to provide free and
accessible education for all, referring to international normative instruments
like the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education. b/ The
participants further called for education for a culture of peace to be
systematically planned and implemented, including special programmes in
teacher education and curriculum development to develop skills of cooperation
and reconciliation to overcome negative competition and conflict.
45. The cultural practices which govern fundamental relations among people,
including gender relations, must be continually examined to assure they do not
impede a culture of peace. The media and the arts, powerful transmitters of
culture, should consciously participate in this examination.
46. Full equality of educational opportunities for girls and women is a
prerequisite of a culture of peace. Therefore, efforts to this end must be
intensified in cooperation with the countries concerned in all UNESCO
programmes, with special emphasis on literacy programmes, especially in Africa
where women's education could strengthen the demonstrated peacemaking
capacities of women. Further, UNESCO should give special attention to women's
education and the role of women as the first educators of children. UNESCO's
Culture of Peace Programme should support and learn from women's initiatives
47. UNESCO should establish and support multicultural training courses for
potential trainers on topics such as personal development and intercultural
dialogue and social and cultural rights, especially as they apply to women.
So, too, cultural expression should form an important part of all education,
especially in schools, where arts should be offered also as a means to cross-
and intra-cultural understanding. Children should be encouraged to develop an
understanding of themselves and others.
48. Education for peace should address issues of gender socialization and
the relationship of this process to the possibilities for a culture of peace.
The results of emphasizing cooperation in the education of girls and
competition in the education of boys should be seriously considered. This
question should also be considered by parents and child-care workers. Teacher
training and curriculum development should entail requirements related to
non-violent conflict resolution and women's roles and contributions to
49. Because gender sensitivity is essential in all those who work towards a
culture of peace, educational programmes about the significance of human
rights, especially the human rights of women, should be undertaken by UNESCO
and the agencies dealing with social development. This to be done both as an
observation of and contribution to the United Nations Decade for Human Rights
Education g/ and in accordance with the UNESCO Integrated Framework of Action
on Education for Peace, Human Rights and Democracy. Such programmes should
include training in gender sensitivity for United Nations and UNESCO personnel
and all persons working in education, literacy, technical assistance,
development projects and in peace-keeping operations.
50. Gender equality must be observed in international bodies working for
peace. Education on gender equality, the purposes and requirements of the
international standards on women's rights, and the need for transparency in
policy and personal decisions involving gender should be provided regularly,
with annual updating to broaden and deepen understanding of gender equality
and its necessity to the atmosphere of trust and confidence essential to good
51. Artists should be encouraged and supported by Governments and the civil
society to produce images and concepts that feature and illuminate the
universality of humanity, positively illustrate cultural diversity and
celebrate the human person.
52. Workshops on creative writing with children and young people from
various cultures should be developed as a means to cross-cultural
understanding and the development of the whole person.
53. Campaigns should be organized against war toys and war games and in
favour of the encouragement of alternative toys and modes of play, conducive
to a culture of peace. The issue of how the play of boys may affect a culture
of violence should be addressed. Children should be brought up to understand
the consequences of weapons and to reject them as legitimate tools for
personal and social purposes.
54. Women and women's groups should be encouraged and trained to make use of
media techniques. Women's video groups, local radio stations and community
radio stations, among others, should be given the support necessary for their
work and for exchange programmes across borders supported by funding agencies
inside and outside the United Nations system.
55. In order for societies to develop capacities to understand and respect
"the other" as an essential element of a culture of peace, women will need, as
an interim measure, their own media to express their views and concerns. Both
mainstream and alternative media should promote women's concerns and interests
and foster cross-gender dialogue.
56. If a conflict is in danger of turning violent and there are no
independent media as voices of society, international organizations should be
prepared to establish and run them from outside the affected territory.
Independent media should be encouraged as part of peace-keeping processes.
57. Public broadcasting systems, wherever they exist, should be defended and
strengthened by the organizations of civil society. They should uphold
professional ethics and standards, provide background information, produce
programmes for minorities and further explore possibilities of fostering a
culture of peace.
58. Institutions providing education and training for media practitioners
should include gender-awareness training in their programmes. They should
sensitize future journalists to both gender and cultural stereotypes and to
the misunderstandings that may occur when they report from other countries and
59. Since some media and advertising campaigns have employed negative
stereotypes and images of violence against women for entertainment and
commercial purposes, women's business councils, and advertisement agencies
should jointly design gender-sensitizing programmes for the people working in
those fields. Women's consumer organizations should, at regular intervals,
closely monitor advertising, publish reports on it and discourage the
stereotyping and sexism so characteristic of a culture of violence.
60. The participants agreed that there was need not only for education about
existing, accessible knowledge about gender equality, human rights and a
culture of peace but also for the discovery and consideration of knowledge
from outside the mainstream, from the experience of women, minorities,
indigenous peoples and all whose knowledge has previously been ignored or
devalued by the culture of war. There is, as well, an urgent need for new
knowledge from all possible sources. Research in various forms and at various
levels, then, must be more systematically guided by the needs for a culture of
61. The United Nations should promote research on how to integrate
multicultural, multidisciplinary, gender-sensitive approaches into development
projects and ensure that training on a culture of peace values, human rights,
and gender perspectives will constitute a part of each development project.
62. UNESCO should undertake research on the role of media in conflict
situations. The results should be widely published and made part of media
education programmes in schools, universities, adult education and through the
media themselves. In that women's efforts have begun to reveal the
possibilities of alternatives to coercive force and violent conflict, the
United Nations should provide financial support for research projects
involving the active participation of women in all regions at all levels -
community through global - on comprehensive security and a culture of peace.
63. UNESCO should undertake research on different models of governance and
democracy, various forms of conflict resolutions and different notions of
64. There is insufficient information about the varied and creative work
women do for peace. Research should be done on the roles and contribution of
a culture of peace, with special emphasis on the following: reducing
community vulnerability, sharing responsibility in the family, advocating and
conducting peace education, reconstructing communities and building bridges of
tolerance and respect between cultures.
65. Research should be more relevant to the lives of women at the grass
roots. A participatory approach to peace research should be promoted, so that
people at the community level can be actively involved in the research process
and in the dissemination and utilization of its findings.
F. Cooperation and partnership
66. The partnership between the United Nations system and non-governmental
organizations should be strengthened. United Nations staff should be
sensitized to the needs and expectations at the grass-roots level in order to
extend more suitable logistic support and assistance, whenever requested.
Non-governmental organizations should be better informed about the principles,
functioning and structure of the United Nations system and its programme for
the advancement of women, in order to work with it more efficiently.
67. An international consortium of women's organizations and networks for
peace should be created after the Fourth World Conference on Women to work
with non-governmental organizations as lobby groups to influence national and
international policy. This consortium should convene a forum of civil
organizations on an annual basis, prior to the sessions of the General
Assembly, as recommended by the Independent Commission on Global
Governance. g/ The objectives of the consortium would be to coordinate and
strengthen existing networks and associations; work towards the follow-up of
the Conference and the NGO Forum; call on Governments to stop violence in
their countries; promote and support peace movements; monitor reconciliation
efforts and peace agreements; monitor the implementation of the international
standards on the human rights of women; promote advocacy for democracy and
equality, sustainable development and economic justice, environmental balance,
and disarmament and demilitarization.
III. CONCLUSIONS AND COMMITMENTS
68. The ideas, hopes, experiences and potential for transformation that the
participants shared in the Expert Group Meeting and articulated in their
report are some of the raw materials from which a culture of peace can be
fashioned. While facing the harsh realities of violence and war, participants
saw their efforts as components of the larger, global struggle for peace waged
by millions of women throughout the world. The conclusions of the Meeting are
a clear indication that there is much of a practical and a theoretical nature
that women can contribute to a culture of peace. The participants were, in
fact, convinced that these contributions are at once among the best hopes and
the most urgent necessities for achieving the tasks of transformation. They
reaffirmed their commitments to these tasks and to the on-going global process
in which they see themselves taking part. Some of them will engage in
specific common endeavours. All will become part of intersecting networks
through which the global women's peace movements are weaving a culture of
peace. They will contribute to and monitor the recommendations of the two
meetings. They will continue the current efforts described here and undertake
new endeavours in order to bring into being the principles set forth here
through their own consistent continuous and carefully planned actions. They
urge UNESCO to give the highest priority to the realization of a culture of
peace and women's contributions to it.
a/ General Assembly resolution 34/180.
b/ Adopted by the General Conference at its eleventh session,
14 December 1960.
c/ Report of the World Conference on Human Rights, Vienna, 14-
25 June 1993 (A/CONF.157/24 (Part I)), chap. I.
d/ General Assembly resolution 48/104.
e/ United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 189, No. 2545, p.137 and
vol. 606, No. 8791, p. 267.
f/ See Commission on Global Governance, Our Global Neighbourhood
(Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1994).
g/ General Assembly resolution 49/184.
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