Introduction: Meaning of Peace and Culture of Peace
Madam Chairperson, Nananom, Niimei ke Naamei, Hon. Ministers of State, Hon. Members of Parliament, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Distinguished Guests, Rev. Ministers, Members of the Media, Ladies and Gentlemen, …
About 48 years ago, (to be precise, on 11th April, 1963) His Holiness Pope John XXIII addressed an Encyclical Letter entitled “Pacem in Terris” (in English “On peace on Earth”) to all Humankind with the following introductory words: “Peace on earth, which all people of every era have most eagerly yearned for, can be firmly established only if the order laid down by God be dutifully observed”. The Pope went on to say that the establishment of universal peace must be done in “Truth, Justice, Charity and Liberty”. Since those words were pronounced by Pope John XXIII, the world has come to realize that indeed there can be no peace unless there is justice, democracy, respect for human rights, freedom and the rule of law. These are the ideals and principles of peace and were accepted by “All of the Member States of the United Nations when they voted for the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace and called for a Global Movement for a culture of Peace (A/RES/53/243).
Culture of Peace is defined by the United Nations as the “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 and 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” (A/RES/52/13)
It is these ideals and principles of peace and, for that matter, culture of peace in the entire world that have inspired us to form an organization which we call Planet Three Peace Programme which we humbly outdoor today.
Vision and Mission of Planet Three Peace Programme and the Fruits of Peace
Following from these ideals and principles of Peace, Planet Three Peace Programme’s vision is to “see the violent stricken planet become peaceful and united for democratic, economic, social and spiritual development”. Our mission is to foster a healthy relationship between the diverse peoples of the world by identifying political, ethnic, religious and social groupings and giving them peace education and information on the need to be tolerant of each other and thereby sensitize them to the dangers and costs of violence and conflicts on the one hand and the benefits and fruits of peace, on the other.
In the light of our vision and mission, Planet Three Peace Programme stands firmly for the promotion and protection of the rights of all humankind irrespective of their creed, colour, class, gender, ethnic or religious background. The organization is a strong advocate of the ideals and principles of culture of peace among individuals, in the family, in the community, in nation-states and between nation states. Again the organization is a strong advocate of the cultivation of people’s duties and responsibilities towards each other as individual members in the family, in the community, in the country and in the global world. Planet Three Peace Programme is also a strong advocate for equity in the distribution of resources of nations without prejudice to party affiliation and creed, colour, class, gender, ethnic or religious association. It is the abuse of these fundamental rights and lack of equity in the distribution of these resources that lead to conflicts.
In contrast the promotion of equity and the absence of these abuses lead to what is referred to as positive peace, which is more than the mere absence of war which is termed negative peace. Positive peace leads to order and peaceful co-existence among people.
Cost of Conflicts and Benefits of Peace
It is tempting to think that peace-making and peace-keeping is an expensive exercise or enterprise. If anyone should think that that is the case let him or her consider the cost of war and all other forms of conflict. The Records have it that between 1990 and 2005 both conflicts and aid to Africa amounted to 284 billion US dollars. In other words, the money lost in conflict could have been used in more effective ways for development. Armed conflicts are costing African economies an average of 18 billion US dollars a year. (Google Search 30/12/2010). Added to these economic costs, is the fact that conflicts of this nature prevent the development of physical infrastructures, the establishment of stable security structures and the development of civil societies. In addition, such conflicts create a cycle of increased conflicts impacting adversely on human and animal life and on the environment. Furthermore these hostilities often destroy food production and supplies and livestock, thus preventing the achievement of sustainable agriculture in the African sub-region.
In Ghana, it is recorded that in 2000 alone the Gonja–Konkomba conflict affected some major crops as follows:
- Cowpea production fell from 39,500 metric tones (in 2000) to 35,929 metric tones (in 2001) i.e. a shortfall of 4,600 metric tones;
- Maize had a shortfall of 7,000 metric tones from 78,800 to 69,878 metric tones;
- Rice had a shortfall of nearly 10,000 metric tones from 72,960 to 63,343 metric tones; and
- Sorghum had 19,000 metric tones shortfall from 72,000 to 53,344 metric tones
These shortfalls converted into cash means millions of cedis to the farmers. To this add the monies the farmers spent on arms and ammunitions for the war and their loss of property. The end result is increase in poverty in the rural areas. Besides these losses, schools and clinics were either closed down, ransacked or destroyed. Immunization programmes were discontinued and hospitals placed under immense strain. “Cross-border battles cause massive disturbances in the settlement of whole communities often displacing them into vast squarter settlements on the edges of towns and giving rise to international refugee crisis” (Tuffour and Obeng Somuah). The cases of Somalia, Dafur, DR Congo, Uganda and Cote d’Ivoire are typical examples of the cost of conflicts.
Besides all these the future of children is destroyed, by using them to serve not only as combatants but also as medical labourers, cooks, domestic bodyguards, spies and even sex slaves (Brett and McCallin 1996 cited in Tuffour et al. 140). In short, conflict is destructive of physical, natural and human resources as well as the psyche of generations of people. Costs of conflicts, such as domestic violence between husbands and wives, parents and children, brothers and sisters; sexual violence such as rape, economic distress such as homelessness and poverty; or slavery such as forced labour, kidnapping and the like are not measurable in economic terms. But these are terrible because they cause psychological trauma and loss of personal, cultural and group identities, social cohesion and political disorders whose damaging effects may be beyond repairs for a long time to come. Whereas conflict in its various forms is destructive and inhibits development, peace is investment and promotes sustainable development. As the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development of 1992 in Rio-de-Genero put it: Sustainable development is about long term conditions for humanity’s multi-dimensional well being. Human beings are at the center of concern for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature. Thus, if conditions are not conducive for the human development, that is if there is no peace, it will be impossible to achieve the goals of sustainable development.
The goals of sustainable development as identified by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992 include: Economic growth; efficiency and stability, full employment, equity and security, education; health; participation in national and political affairs by the people and respect for cultural identities of religious, ethnic and national groups and healthy environment for humans; rational use of renewable natural resources and conservation of non-renewable natural resources. The condition for achieving these goals is peace. Peace, therefore is the vital means for achieving sustainable economic, political, social and environmental development everywhere in the world.
Planet Three and its objectives
This observation explains why our organization is called Planet Three Peace Programme. As pointed out already our vision is to see the violet stricken world, more peaceful and united for democratic, economic, social, spiritual and environmental development that is sustainable. Our objectives follow from this vision and are informed by the eight programme areas identified by the Global Movement for a Culture of Peace, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999. The eight programme areas are:
- Culture of peace through Education;
- Sustainable Economic and Social Development;
- Respect for all Human Rights;
- Equality between women and men;
- Democratic participation;
- Understanding, tolerance and solidarity;
- Communication, Free Flow of Information and knowledge; and
- International Peace and Security
These eight programme areas shall be followed to the letter. Planet Three Peace Programme has added four more to these objectives. They are to
- Help to prevent violence before, during and after elections;
- Discourage tribalism, favoritism and nepotism in all spheres of life;
- Ensure accountability among politicians, technocrats and civil servants; and
- Assist the police to achieve effective promotion of peace and order without the use of physical force.
Strategies and Activities for Achieving the Objectives: Advocacy Pedagogy and Practice of Peace Culture
To achieve these objectives Planet Three Peace Programme intends to use the tools of Peace Advocacy and Lobbying, Peace Education in and out of school, Public forums, Formation of Peace Clubs, Peace Games, Peace Group Dynamics, Cinema, Video and Drama presentations, Workshops, Participation in Concrete Peaceful Resolution of Conflicts; Dialogue and establishment of Conflict Management Groups at the local levels. Needless to say, some for these strategies and tools for ensuring culture of peace are already in use by some civic society organizations. But some of these organizations are not even aware that their work involves culture of peace. Our aim therefore is to encourage such organizations to strengthen their efforts in the pursuit of building peace culture by helping the organizations to acquire the skills of what we refer to as Pedagogy of Peace Culture.
Pedagogy of Peace Culture which is the prominent tool for building peace culture skills takes a cue from Paulo Freireian Pedagogy of Liberation. This pedagogy encourages both the young and the old to liberate themselves from the orthodox educational method which places emphasis on mechanical memorization of ethnocentric ideas, knowledge and techniques without questioning. In contrast Pedagogy of Peace Culture will promote the principles of respect for everyone’s independence and dignity as an ethical imperative rather than as a favour done to learners by teachers.
The argument being made here is that peace education is key to the achievement of peace culture, because peace education does not only equip people with the tools and knowledge necessary to effectively understand the nature and essence of peace; it also addresses the roots of physical, psychological and structural violence and promotes values, attitudes and skills that are conducive for building peace and non-violence, social justice, equality, civil responsibility, co-operation and caring democratic society (Olawole, 2006).
In Ghana, the Ministry of Education has realized the absolute need for peace and conflict studies to be mainstreamed into the syllabuses of Educational Institutions. The government of Ghana is signatory to the UN Decleration and Programme of Action for Culture of Peace (A/RES/52/243) and firmly believes in negotiating for the settlement of conflict and is aware that sustainable peace could only be achieved through laying concrete foundation for tolerance, respect for human rights and the rule of law within our societies. The government’s position is that the hydra–headed nature of conflicts in the country calls for a continuous process of peace education. What is needed to achieve the policy of Peace Education is the right method of teaching the children. Planet Three Peace Programme promises to provide this pedagogy.
Besides Pedagogy of Peace Culture will not only liberate peoples’ minds from memorization of prejudices and pride; it will also provide active involvement of people in simultaneous learning and practice of peace-building through dialogue between learners and facilitators, and between learners and people in conflict situation.
The philosophical foundation underpinning our pedagogy of culture of peace derives from the emergent ethics of care. The salient point of the ethics of care is that nurturing or caring ought to be the dominant principle guiding how humans should behave towards each other. This philosophy springs from the work of Ruddick (cited in Tuffuor et al, 2010) who has emphasized the importance of a Feminine perspective in ethics. It is however important to note that the ethics of care has a universal implication. It is not only women who are naturally caring; both men and women ought to understand and take caring as an attribute of all humans, irrespective of colour, creed, religion, ethnicity or gender.
Accordingly pedagogy of culture of peace shall emphasize the cultivation and practice of Empathy, Sympathy and Mutual care. In effect our philosophical principle for the building of peace culture through pedagogy of peace culture combines ethics of care and the situationalist ethics which emphasizes “altruistic concern” for each other.
The reason for adopting this principle of pedagogy is that peace education is about building healthy, nurturing, supportive and enduring relationships among people. The successful establishment of such relationships leads to the genuine cultivation of culture of peace.
Planet Three Peace Programme and Institutions for Conflict and Peace Research and Studies
Madam Chair, before I end my address I would like to emphasize one very important point. That is, Planet Three Peace Programme is not yet another Institution for the formulation of academic theories, research and training in conflict and peace. There are already hundreds of such academic institutions around the world. According to UNESCO figures there are at least 680 peace research and training institutions around the world. We are not here to compete with such institutions. Indeed we don’t even have the capacity to do that. Neither do we intend to become one more of such institutions. But of course theories, tools and research results produced by academic institutions on Conflict and Peace will be used critically to promote our vision and mission of peace culture around the world.
Conclusion: The Future of Peace in the World
Madam Chairperson, ladies and gentlemen, in conclusion I say unto you: For those committed to peace and to the culture of peace for that matter the time is now. The ever present threat of global warfare and the continuing destructive conflicts between ethnic groups, political factions and religious groups and the rising domestic conflicts at home between men and women, parents and children, due to the maldistribution and exploitation of resources of all kinds - economic, social, political, cultural and environmental are leading the world to catastrophe. It is precisely the overwhelming nature and the threat of these forces to human–kind and to the future of this planet that has motivated our resolve, as Planet Three Peace Programme to pursue the peace programme activities I have talked about.
It is our hope that this programme’s activities will contribute to sustainable global peace and consequently sustainable global political, economic, social and environmental development. Indeed, as Mahatma Ghandi once said, it is possible to live in peace. We are therefore encouraged to join the worldwide peace movement and we are very certain that Planet Three Peace Programme will receive moral as well as material support from each and every one here present and the many peace loving people out there.
Madam Chairperson, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I thank you all for giving me this opportunity to present to you and to the public at large Planet Three Peace Programme, its objectives and mode of operation. We are happy to say, Planet Three Peace Programme has come to stay and to work for the attainment of real transition from a culture of war and violence to a culture of peace and non violence for sustainable development. To this end we say “Deus Nobis Lumen” to wit God be our Guide.
Thank you all
Prof. Dominic Kofi Agyeman
Olawale, A. T. (2006). Integrating Peace Education into Tertiary
School Curricula. Benefits to ECOWAS, paper presented at the LECIA/UNDP Consultation on Peace Education in Ghana, V.R.
Pope John XXIII. (1963). Pacem in Terris (On Peace on Earth) –
Social Teaching of the Church Paulines Publications
Africa Nairobi (Kenya)
Tuffuor, K. A. & Obeng-Souwuah, A. (2010) Security and
Development in Africa: The Need to Invest in Peace Education, in Oguaa Journal of Social Sciences (JOSS) Vol.5 No.1
U. N. (2010). Report on the Decade for a culture of peace: Final Civil
Society Report on the UN International decade for a culture of peace and Non-violence for the children of the World (2001 – 2010)
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- 07-Dec - STATEMENT ON ELECTION VIOLENCE PRESENTED AT A NEW CONFERENCE BY PLANET THREE PEACE PROGRAMME (P3PP) IN ACCRA ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2012. [MOHAMMED AFFUM (EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, P3PP)]
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- 21-Sep - PLANET THREE PEACE PROGRAMME AND MON ROI INC. PRE-LAUNCHES 2ND WORLD YOUTH CHESS FOR PEACE 2012
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- 18-Mar - Takoradi Flour Mill Supports Planet Three Peace Programme's Road safety awareness campaign
- 29-Jan - INUAGRATION OF PEACE CLUB AT NSUTAM D/A JHS
- 09-Dec - PLANET THREE PEACE PROGRAMME LAUNCHES ROAD SAFETY CAMPAIGN