Culture of Peace: Are we making progress?

This month’s bulletin gives us an idea of where progress is being made (or not being made) towards a culture of peace if we compare it to the CPNN bulletins of 2015.

On the good side

Progress is being made at  a grass-roots level by social movements for sustainable development and food sovereignty, often led or inspired by women and indigenous peoples.  Often this involves the return to traditional practices.

On the bad side

The national governments of the world, gathered in Paris, did nothing to reduce the global dependence on fossil fuels which makes development unsustainable, contributing to pollution and global warming.   Despite technical advances which begin to make renewable energy cheaper than fossil fuels, a large portion of technological innovation and development planning continues to favor the old unsustainable energy systems.

On the good side

Increasingly there are political movements against the policies of austerity that have been imposed by international financial institutions and national governments, policies that have accelerated the concentration of the world’s wealth in fewer and fewer hands.

On the bad side

The rich continue to get richer and the poor to get poorer, both within and between countries.  This is not just.  And it is not sustainable!

On the good side

Wise men and women tell us that the scourges of terrorism and displacement of peoples (refugees) cannot be defeated by more violence and xenophobic barriers, but we must address the roots of these problems by rejecting the culture of war and adopting policies corresponding to the culture of peace.

On the bad side

Influenced by the mass media and political demagogues, many people, perhaps a majority in many countries, continue to support policies of violence and xenophobia.

On the good side

After decades of civil war, Colombia is arriving at a peace accord with participation of the entire country and, in fact, all of Latin America.

On the bad side

Wars and civil wars, often fueled by the most developed countries, continue to plague much of the rest of the world.

In sum, are we making progress?  It would seem that we are developing the base for a future culture of peace, but it will not come easily because at the higher levels of the world, things are getting worse.  Where is the United Nations in all this?  What if it could be reformed to really represent “we the peoples”, as stated in the opening lines of its Charter?  Imagine what it would be like if the Security Council were composed of representatives of the mayors of the world.  Do you think they would want to maintain nuclear weapons?  Or to make peace by bombing people?  Look, for example, at the recent approach of the mayors of Madrid and Paris!

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