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AFCDRP MAIRES POUR LA PAIX FRANCE

The 20th Century has been the setting for two world‐scaled conflicts, which used unprecedented means of destruction. In front of the catastrophic humanitarian, environmental, and economic consequences of those wars, human beings were confronted with a radical change in the way they considered conflicts: peace keeping became a categorical imperative. This analysis ‐ conflicts’ prevention being a condition for the survival of the human species‐ governed the creation of the European Union, and the United Nations at the end of the Second World War. Unfortunately, for more than four decades now, “the fact that crisis are stacking up, leading to a planetary systemic crisis”, as said by Jacques Degroote, President of Algonesia Technologies, confirms this analysis, and shows that the solutions that were suggested until now are not up to our actual needs.

Result of reflexions led within the United Nations and UNESCO, the concepts forming a culture of peace show which kind of actions could be endeavoured to answer effectively to these systemic crisis and to find efficient methods to govern, but also to solve and prevent conflicts. However, those paths remain mostly unexplored. The notion of culture of peace was clearly identified during the 1980s. In 1986, the Seville Statement on Violence, written by international scientists, highlights that war isn’t determined by genes, human nature, or instinct, but is a social invention. The scientists’ conclusion is meaningful: “The same species who invented war is capable of inventing peace”. Jean Monnet already said that!

Later, the International Congress on Peace in the mind of men (Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast, 1989) gave an unambiguous recommendation to UNESCO: “(...) help construct a new vision of peace by developing a peace culture based on the universal values of respect for life, liberty, justice, solidarity, tolerance, human rights and equality between men and women”. United Nations and UNESCO answered by adopting several resolutions which gave a legal framework to this concept1, each Member State being responsible of its implementation in their institutions.

Culture of peace is constituted of eight action areas formally identified by UNESCO and United Nations:

  1. Fostering a culture of peace through education
  2. Promoting sustainable economic and social development
  3. Promoting respect for all human rights
  4. Ensuring equality between women and men
  5. Fostering democracy and democratic participation

1 See http://afcdrp.com/ressources/textes‐de‐reference/

  1. Advancing understanding, tolerance and solidarity
  2. Supporting participatory communication and the free flow of information and

    knowledge

  3. Promoting international peace and security (among others, implementation of the

    Non‐Proliferation Treaty, signed and ratified by France)

Those action areas cover most local authorities’ responsibilities. For this reason, AFCDRP‐ Mayors for Peace France (French Association of Municipalities, Departments and Region for Peace) saw since its foundation that culture of peace was a precious tool to strengthen local authorities’ daily management efficiency, and provide meaning to it.

Relying on an international network of more than 2'250 local authorities on the European Continent, and more than 6’500 in the world2, all mobilized on this theme, AFCDRP invites to adopt a new approach to action for peace, linked in particular with the development of new kinds of human relationships, which include new environment friendly economical activities, as recommended by the Rio Conference for sustainable development in 1992.

Tourism, an important activity for Europe, gives an example of opportunities coming from this new economy, and those opportunities could take on various shapes. This approach is based on common‐sense ideas: tourist trade is incompatible with armed conflicts.

Moreover, AFCDRP‐Mayors for Peace France Network allows creating crucial links between citizens. Culture of peace acts as a facilitator for creating a sense of European citizenship, and strengthening the most needed education to the Republic’s values, for instance through actions in the field of decentralized cooperation. The network gives the opportunity to better understand the issue of European exchanges in order to develop citizens’ initiatives.

AFCDRP‐Mayors for Peace France is a tool for cooperation, sharing, pooling and permanent training. It invites each member‐local authority to implement Local Programs of Action for a Culture of Peace (LPACP). Those protean programs are real guidelines, suitable for local management realities. They generate synergies between local services, encouraging transversality while pooling resources efficiently. It is also a matter of imagining new sources of income by taking a fresh look to work and its organization at all levels (from local level to international level). To sum up, a LPACP is a practical and concrete tool for a systemic approach to local actions to serve the citizens.

AFCDRP‐Mayors for Peace France is the French chapter of Mayors for Peace, an international network created by the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 70 years ago, those two Japanese cities became symbols of the necessity of mobilization for peace and disarmament. A specific Treaty, the Non‐Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which became part of French law after our country accessed to it in 1992, states in its Article VI that “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control”. In order to pursue those negotiations, in December 2014, 158 States, among them

2 Mayors for Peace has 6 585 member cities in 160 countries/regions as of March 1st, 2015. It is registered at the United Nations under Special Consultative Status of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) since 1991.

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the United States and United Kingdom, gathered in Vienna, Austria, to closely study the humanitarian consequences of nuclear arsenals. Those arsenals carry such destruction power that they devaluate human beings and pave the way for all kinds of excesses and crisis.

In an interconnected world confronted to unprecedented environmental issues (the core issues to be discussed at COP 21 [Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change] are an example), these subjects are the responsibility of local authorities with respect to public safety and health, therefore to local tranquility. More and more people become aware of these new challenges.

Based on this diagnosis, AFCDRP‐Mayors for Peace France offers an amount of knowledge and experience to which it becomes essential to participate and contribute. Several local authorities, along with political and civil society leaders such as Henry A. Kissinger, Michael Douglas, and organizations such as UNESCO, UCLG, ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) are already doing so.

AFCDRP offers several concrete actions that each of its members and partners can use according to its local realities. It goes from a single day of training to a technical assistance for the conception and realization of important exhibits, or of strategic LPACPs.

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