I. EDITORIAL - The irresistible will to live
II. THE STATE OF THE WORLD’S CHILDREN, UNICEF Report 2003
III. ISRAEL AND PALESTINE, WHAT FUTURE LIES AHEAD
IV. UNITED NATIONS ASSOCIATION OF NEW ZEALAND FORUM, “The United Nations: Our Hope for the Future”
V. TOWARDS A CULTURE OF PEACE Peace Through Unity’s contribution to the Forum
VI. MESSAGE FROM EMMANUEL PETRAKIS OF THE UNIVERSAL ALLIANCE
VII. THE 3RD WORLD WATER FORUM AND MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE, Kyoto 2003
VIII. NEW MEXICO DEPARTMENT OF PEACE INITIATIVE
IX. IS MORE BETTER?
X. THE GREAT INVOCATION
I. The irresistible will to live
After recent events, especially but not exclusively in Iraq, we can hope that most of us will have no illusions left with regard to how the concepts of democracy and law are being interpreted and used.
However frightening it is to face truth, we will undoubtedly look back
one day on this phase of our history with real appreciation and gratitude
for the lessons it provided.
Because, when lawlessness and military might have gained the power and the will to overrule law and democratic decision making; when such disregard for commonly accepted codes of conduct is reflected right down throughout our entire societal system; then we need to acknowledge that the very structures of the society we seek to protect and maintain are systematically being eroded and destroyed.
With the long-held habit patterns and traditional concepts that held our social systems and cultures together collapsing around us, it is hard sometimes even impossible to see what or who is right any more. The devastation and confusion of the breaking-down process is covering all with dust.
But Nature is always ready to remind us: it is form, not life that dies transforms. Within each seed is the irresistible urge to manifest; a will to live which will break through any confining wall into new freedom and fresh opportunities for fuller expression of that which lies within.
Similarly, throughout the ages, at the core of each civilization and culture, people have come together to share, ponder and accumulate new thoughts, ideas and blueprints, which will, like a seed when ready, become the sapling for yet another civilization. Law, economy, science, religion and art will be lifted up and given new life, substance and meaning by coming generations.
Although the comings and goings of civilizations are in slow motion to that of a human being, we are nevertheless rapidly becoming increasingly aware of the terrifying yet wonderful multidimensional drama which all life in our universe, from acorns to stars, are continuously going through: that of giving birth and being born.
We, like any mother would, must nurture the new and set it on its way; and - like any child - we must again find our feet and proceed anew with the evolutionary journey.
Through the seasons, marked by years and centuries, civilizations and cultures, we are coming to a better understanding of our place within the larger scheme of things; humanity preparing for the role it is to play within this greater whole.
II. THE STATE OF THE WORLD’S CHILDREN
UNICEF Report 2003
In the foreword to this report, written by UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, he reminds governments of the commitment they made at the May 2002 Children’s Summit to changing the world for and with children - “to build a world fit for children in the 21st century”.
The report explores and elaborates on the importance of such a partnership and how it could come about and be developed, within the family circle, the community and school environment and through to full participation in public policy decision-making.
The true and real values of democracy need to be learned and developed from infancy through adolescence: “…responsible citizenship is not something that is suddenly given at 18 years of age. Children, like adults, gain their self-esteem through positive and active engagement with the world. A sense of respect and responsibility for self and others is a value that is lived from the early moments of life and experienced constantly in interaction with the world”.
However, although there are today a greater number of countries than ever before that, at least nominally, are declaring themselves to be democratic, there is deep skepticism and mistrust among the general public of the motives of their governments and their political will to respond to the wishes and needs voiced by voters.
But the report is optimistic that the clock cannot be turned back. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the Convention on the Rights of the Child have “transformed the landscape irreversibly”. Democracy is neither easy nor guaranteed. As Kofi Annan says: “One of the greatest challenges to humankind in the new century will be the struggle to make the practice of democracy truly universal.”
In addition to the report’s yearly economic and social statistical tables
on the countries and territories of the world (with particular reference
to children’s well-being) it also features 3 maps which illustrate the
vision, opinions, needs and wishes of children and young people regarding
a world fit for children (obtained through surveys and polls).
These multi-country surveys on children, leading up to the 2002 Children’s Summit, were one of the largest ever carried out, and quotes from the gathered material are used extensively in the report, giving also numerous examples of how children and young people are becoming increasingly engaged in partnerships with adults, and with the community as a whole reaping the benefits from such partnerships.
More than 400 young people (as young as ten) from 154 countries attended the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children in May 2002 and also the 3-day Children’s Forum, which preceded it. Here they discussed and shared their thoughts, views and experiences on what they saw as eight key issues: exploitation and abuse; environment; protection from war; children’s participation; health; HIV/AIDS; poverty; and education. The Forum deliberations resulted in the statement “A World Fit for Us” which was then presented to the General Assembly at the opening of the Special Session on the 8th May 2002. On this historic day, children for the first time ever formally addressed the UN General Assembly on behalf of children, giving voice to their vision for a better world.
Touching on each of the eight key issues, the statement describes the world they wish to see in the future and concludes with their pledge on “an equal partnership in this fight for children’s rights”. The paragraph continues:
“And while we promise to support the actions you take on behalf of children, we also ask for your commitment and support in the actions we are taking because the children of the world are misunderstood.
We are not the sources of problems; we are the resources that are needed
to solve them.
We are not expenses; we are investments.
We are not just young people; we are people and citizens of this world.
Until others accept their responsibility to us, we will fight for our
We have the will, the knowledge, the sensitivity and the dedication.
We promise that as adults we will defend children’s rights with the same passion that we have now as children.
We promise to treat each other with dignity and respect.
We promise to be open and sensitive to our differences”
In July 2002 a booklet was published by UNICEF, which contains all the commitments that were part of the Special Session on Children; the Millennium Development Goals, earlier pledged to by all 189 United Nations Member States; the Children’s Statement, “A World Fit for Us”, delivered at the opening plenary of the Special Session by two young delegates; the consensus outcome document of the General Assembly, “A World Fit for Children”, with goals and targets to be met; and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified, acceded to or signed by 192 countries in the 12 years since it was ratified, and the two optional Protocols to the Convention.
In her Introduction to this booklet, Carol Bellamy, Executive Director, UNICEF, states that “together, these documents constitute an essential guidebook for all those working to improve the lives of children and young people throughout the world. In fact, they could well serve as a resource text for all those working for peace and security, as children are at the heart of those efforts, too.”
This important booklet, as well as the “State of the World’s Children 2003” and other information, can be obtained from: UNICEF, 3 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017, USA (www.unicef.org)
“…if we are to change this divided, damaged, conflict-ridden world by
advancing the practice of democracy, if we are to make the world truly
fit for all people we will only do so with the full participation
of children and young people”
- Carol Bellamy
III. ISRAEL AND PALESTINE, WHAT FUTURE LIES AHEAD
The current situation in Israel and Palestine is deeply distressing, it is so easy to condemn, so difficult to find solutions. For people who are genuine in their wish to find fair and lasting solutions there is a need to look at the historical background that has led up to the present situation. It is impossible to come up with mutually agreed solutions unless there is a deep understanding of the very roots of the peoples of this land; their aspirations and their beliefs, their hopes and their fears. There are many factors involved, all are tied up together and this makes the challenge of finding fair and lasting solutions even more difficult. Religious, historical, economic and political factors are intertwined and finding a way forward through this maze will tax the goodwill and wisdom of the greatest leaders.
A recent visit to the area left me confused and sad. The people of both sides feel threatened and angry. The ordinary Israelis and Palestinians are unable to legislate and bring about peace though they all must long for it. Their basic needs are obvious; steady jobs, safe conditions, freedom of movement and freedom to pursue their chosen religion and find an education that will enable their children create a safe world for all to live in. Travelling around in Gaza, The West Bank and in Jerusalem, I could see few of these hopes being fulfilled. We walked past a queue of Israeli buses and thought of the fears of those who may need to travel in them. We met a Palestinian family that had had its home demolished several times and had rebuilt it again and again. We saw a wall being built to separate Israeli from Palestinian, how can this ever bring friendship and peaceful living together. We saw queues of Palestinians at check points, harmless, lovely people just trying to get to work, school or hospital.
Where do solutions come from? Who am I to even begin to suggest ways
forward, certainly I can see plenty of injustice, abuse of human rights,
failure to keep UN resolutions, pain and death. Just condemning these does
not produce the answers. There are many facts that have to be faced. Israel
was set up in a country already populated by people whose roots were there,
a piece of land surrounded by Arab states protecting their own religions
and cultures. The Jewish people have for years suffered abuse and terror
and deserve and must have a safe haven, there is huge sympathy for them.
However, the way to achieve a country that is free from fear must be to
recognise the needs of others around, this is not happening. The Palestinians
also deserve a country in which they can run their own affairs, a state
that is unified and not divided up by Israeli settlements, roads and walls.
Both peoples must be able to live free from fear, this is not yet happening
and sadly recent information indicates that the Israeli Prime Minister
is not willing to support independence for Palestine but only “certain
attributes of sovereignty”. This seems to mean that Israel will continue
to hold overall control of Palestine. With this statement, sadly, suicide
bombing is likely to continue. This lack of foresight by the leaders is
not what the people of both sides deserve.
When an Israeli citizen was asked why Israel needed nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, he replied, “Because we feel threatened and we must defend ourselves”. This fear in the minds of the ordinary Israeli is real enough and suicide bombing does nothing to diminish it. But the Palestinians see no way that they can combat the building of illegal settlements, stealing of land and water and failure to keep United Nations resolutions, now some 68 of them, other than through violence.
Can we turn to the young people for help? Perhaps the answer is “yes”. The students of the universities in both Israel and Palestine seem to be less bogged down by the past though remain well aware of it, as indicated by one Israeli student who said to me, “we must move on.” The courage of the young Israelis who refuse to fight against the Palestinians is a wonderful encouragement to those seeking a peaceful solution. In a letter to Ariel Sharon, they said “ The State of Israel commits war crimes and tramples over human rights, destroying Palestinian cities, towns and villages; expropriating land, detaining and executing without trial, conducting mass demolitions of houses, businesses, and public institutions; looting, closure, curfew, torture, prevention of medical care, construction and expansion of settlements - all these actions are opposed to human morality and violate international treaties ratified by Israel. ---- When the elected government tramples over democratic values and the chances for a just peace in the region, we have no choice but to obey our conscience and refuse to take part in the attack on the Palestinian people.”
There is hope, wisdom and courage is being shown by the young and could be growing everywhere with a new approach and refusal to fight illegal, wrong and unnecessary wars. The Refuseniks of Israel could be peacemakers of the future.
At a church service in Bethlehem where the Palestinians suffer curfews
and many abuses and restrictions to their freedom and way of life, these
words still ring in my ears: “Revenge is weakness because through revenge
hatred enters the heart of man, then evil is treated with evil. But when
evil is treated with forgiveness then it ends and love prevails.”
If revenge by all people who have suffered injustice can be put aside,
and forgiveness take its place, then indeed there is hope. The ordinary
people of the world have woken up from their sleep of contentment and are
saying in an ever louder voice: War and injustice must end.
IV. United Nations Association of New Zealand Forum
“The United Nations: Our Hope for the Future”
Wellington, 26 March, 2003
In March 2003 the United Nations Association of New Zealand arranged and conducted a Forum entitled: The United Nations: Our Hope for the Future, with the keynote address given by Professor Ramesh Thakur, Vice-Rector of the UN University, being called: “The Paradox of Wanting Peace, Waging War”. The forum was held in the conference rooms of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Wellington, and was attended by over 120 people including representatives of government departments and non-government organizations, students, diplomats, members of the Institute of International affairs and of UNANZ.
Ramesh Thakur’s paper developed the theme of the incidence of war being
as pervasive as the wish for peace is universal. In the 20th century the
paradox was well illustrated “..we tried to emplace increasing normative,
legislative, and operative fetters on the right of states to go to war,
yet the century turned out the most murderous in human history;…
The 21st century has opened with a new kind of war, namely mass terror across boundaries”.
He discussed the findings of the International Commission, of which he was a member, on the right to intervene militarily in a sovereign country on humanitarian grounds: the Commission concluded that state and international agencies had a continuing responsibility to protect people in cases involving large-scale killings or ethnic cleansing.
The speaker personally considered that the United Nations would emerge stronger than ever after the present war in Iraq. The peoples and nations of the world had emphatically put their faith in the UN Forum and processes for deciding on the great issues of war and peace, and its agencies for humanitarian assistance would be in enormous demand to cope with the disaster to the Iraqi people, and because the United States would continue to be strongly criticized by a great section of the world’s peoples for having invaded a sovereign state, and for having rejected a multilateral approach to the issue, which was still seen to be the best way of dealing with potential conflict.
Other speakers at the Forum were: diplomats who spoke of their own countries’ respective positions in the Security Council or of former experiences at the Council; representatives of departments of the Foreign Ministry which dealt with UN work; a Quaker who went to Iraq last year and gave a moving account of the terrible condition in which he found many of the sick children, and the privations suffered by the Iraqi people; and a civil society panel of four people who covered: various aspects of peoples’ involvement with the UN as separate from that of governments; ways to promote a real culture of peace by endorsing a proposal to promote actively the creation of this culture of peace, built upon the foundation of right human relations and the basic oneness of life: it was urged that people support commitment to the Roerich Pact which asks that all educational, artistic and scientific institutions be forever protected in times of upheaval and warfare, as well as in times of peace, and that its symbol, the Banner of Peace should fly over all such centers safeguarding and promoting the spirit, the beauty and the knowledge of humanity; and finally, a philosophic discussion on the reality of matter “Matter, Life and Thought are three zones which are at once perceptible to our experience” “There is a close analogy between quantum processes and our own inner experiences and thought processes”.
A discussion led by Ramesh Thakur examined the implications of on-going conflict in Iraq, North Korea, and India/Pakistan, and the role of the United Nations in helping to achieve eventual stable societies in each of these three areas.
Recommendations from the days’ discussions were agreed upon, and will be followed up appropriately.
A report of the proceedings is being prepared and will be available
at a small cost from the UNANZ office, Box 12 324, Wellington.
Dame Laurie Salas
March 2003 ________________________________________________________________________
V. Towards a Culture of Peace -Peace Through Unity’s contribution to the Forum
The October 1999 UN General Assembly Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace calls on everyone all of us to become actively involved in the all-important enterprise of bringing about a culture which has peace at its heart.
A decade, from 2001 to 2010, has been given us to transform the tumultuous era of conflict and confrontation into one of cooperative and constructive human relationships. And of course, such relationships depend not only on a willingness in principle, but also the will to follow principle by action.
The evidence of our willingness in principle, both on government and people level, has been clearly documented, from the birth of the United Nations onwards. The Charter itself carries the dream of war-exhausted nations, yearning for a world of peace and good neighbourliness.
Since then documents and declarations, statements and resolutions have been piling up within the walls of this international institution, all agreed upon, and all in one way or another outlining how such a global neighbourhood could come about.
The very first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
of 1948 recognises that we are all “ endowed with reason and conscience
and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood”.
In the1978 Final Document on Disarmament UN member states agreed that humanity was faced with the threat of self-destruction, due to “the massive and competitive accumulation of the most destructive weapons ever produced”, and that such an arms race, with its enormous consumption of human and material resources, was not strengthening but indeed weakening international security. The document’s 112 paragraphs programme of action outlines how to go about the task of disarming.
Through the UN system humanity has made promises and pledges to protect its children and young ones from harm and see to it that all their physical, psychological and spiritual needs are met and given priority above all else.
And each UN international conference brought more and more people, not just governments, together around special issues that concern us human beings, our societies, and the planetary environment to which we belong and are responsible for. Out of each of these conferences came declarations and plans of action.
At the threshold into the 21st century two important documents were agreed upon: one by all UN member states, the so-called “UN Millennium Declaration”, and one by non-governmental organizations and civil society representatives from throughout the world, the “We the Peoples Millennium Forum Declaration and Agenda of Action”. Perhaps these two documents could be seen as encapsulating our collective willingness in principle to create a better global neighbourhood.
Describing the United Nations as the indispensable common house of the entire human family the Millennium Declaration stresses that UN’s capacity to inspire has increased in today’s interdependent and interconnected world.
The declaration also states that human beings should respect each other’s culture, language and beliefs, and that “differences within and between societies should be neither feared nor repressed, but cherished as a precious asset of humanity” A culture of peace, says the declaration, and dialogue among all civilizations, should be “actively promoted”.
These sentiments and commitments are echoed in the “We the Peoples” Forum document, which emphasizes the commitment of us peoples to cooperate with our governments to bring it all about.
And before us, we have about eight more years of a decade earmarked for initiating a culture of peace and non-violence for the children of the world.
Maybe culture is the one word that could synthesize our mutual efforts and strivings to make this world a better and kinder place. Maybe it could help us connect with that source of energy we have in common, so that all the well-documented goodwill might come alive and become real will to good.
Culture, in my understanding, is a word that takes us to a place where quality not quantity is emphasized. Culture makes us look for the beautiful, the magnificent, the best within each other, inspiring and encouraging us to express it in every way we can. In this way life in all its forms is revered - as well as the Giver of that life.
A world famous Russian painter, scientist, archeologist and great thinker from the beginning of the 20th century, Nicholas Roerich, worked tirelessly for what he called peace through culture. In 1935 the historic “Roerich Pact”, was signed in Washington in the presence of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, by USA and all the Pan-American member states.
This pact asks that all educational, artistic and scientific institutions will forever be protected in times of upheaval and warfare, as well as in times of peace, and its symbol - the Banner of Peace - would fly over all such centres safeguarding and promoting the spirit, the beauty and the knowledge of humanity.
The symbol on this banner three spheres surrounded by a circle - is an ancient one, interpreted in many ways and used by cultures throughout the ages and throughout the world. Roerich therefore saw it as the perfect symbol for a future culture in which all cultures are respected, celebrated and united.
While the Roerich Pact may be seen as an appeal to governments more than to us people, the Manifesto 2000 pledge, formulated and signed by all then living Peace Prize Laureates, was perhaps more directly aimed at raising public awareness on the need for the commitment of us all to live by values indispensable for creating good neighbourhoods. It has to date been signed by more than 75 million people.
Based on the foundation of this pledge all our many campaigns, projects, resolutions and strivings towards building a better, fairer and more enlightened world can be united, and this unity be made visible through the banner of peace, which carries a symbol belonging to us all.
Peace Through Unity would therefore like to propose: that all institutions concerned with education on all levels, all places of worship and of cultural significance, local government and government ministries etc. be informed of the Roerich initiative, the Banner of Peace and the Manifesto 2000; and that these institutions be encouraged to sign the following simple statement of commitment and display the banner of peace as a symbol of unity of purpose:
I/we hereby resolve to promote actively, consistently, and in every way possible the creation of a culture of peace, built upon the foundation of right human relations and the basic oneness of all life.
In accordance with Manifesto 2000, I/we make the solemn pledge to: respect all life; reject violence; share with others; listen to understand; preserve the planet; and rediscover solidarity.”
We have laboured long and hard under a culture which has been alienating
us from each other and taught us the skills of war. Yet, our willingness
in principle to create a fairer, more tolerant and peaceful world is well
documented. Plans and tools for action are in place. It is high time we
put heart and soul into bringing about a culture, based on the fundamental
truth of the oneness of all living beings - and for the love of humanity.
So be it.
VI. Message from Emmanuel Petrakis of the Universal Alliance:
Dear friends at Peace through Unity,
Thanks for your publication which I find most informative.
Since you ask for thoughts, comments & suggestions as to how lasting worldwide peace can be achieved, here are some of my own ideas, which I ask that you kindly send out via Internet to all concerned individuals or organizations or publish in your journal?
(1) We cannot have peace until we get a fair socio-economic system which
provides for the basic human need of all.
(2) We cannot have peace unless we outlaw all weapons of mass destruction, including personal firearms and convert military factories and industries to peaceful uses (tools for bio-culture, cheap mass production of homes, natural harmless energies like solar etc)
(3) Replace the current system of big political parties, which are totally manipulated by corrupt corporate vested interests, by one of direct democratic control at grass roots i.e. at the workplace, the school, the local community.
(4) Educate people in non-violent living in all schools & educational establishments and via the mass media to make known the Law of Life (such as a loving Creator, harmony, balance, inter-dependence, process, change, cause and consequence etc and their applications to daily living. This includes the training of potential trainers in Life Science/Creative Living.
(5) Local trained volunteers who can go into every problematic home and help individuals and families find harmonious, peaceful solutions to their problems.
In brief we need an alternative society and doing away with the economic, political & social structures which oppress and distort people, making them sick and violent.
This can be implemented by a broad coalition of progressive NGOs agreeing on basic principles and universal values, committed to non-violence and based on consensus. It will seek to empower people to take control of their lives and seek to release funds for self-help economic projects (especially small scale & rural) via a World Service Bank, which will provide small loans as per the Grameen Bank example.
National Armies should be transformed into regional service organizations to deal with emergencies (natural catastrophes, reconstruction, conflicts) using peaceful ways and non-violent socially-oriented interventions. Lethal weapons for army or police use should be replaced by harmless, non-lethal ones, just for self-protection and keeping order.
A basic minimum survival income for all should be established and implemented
as a human right for every person, to be periodically re-adjusted according
to the cost of living. Every person requesting it should have access to
a plot of land on which to cultivate food for himself/herself and family,
against a small nominal rental, with access to agricultural tools and facilities
on a cooperative basis.
Prisons should be done away with, replaced by family and community farms, under supervision, with organic cultivation and a real re-habilitation programme which includes practical social skills, social psychological & spiritual (universal values-based) education, and de-intoxication programmes.
The mobilization of artists for schools and mass media education.
A practical first step by the Progressive Coalition of NGOs would be the local, regional, national & international listing of available resources: used lands, buildings, funds, human skills of volunteers, equipment, goods for recombining these into worthwhile self-help projects.
To widely make known all successful pioneering projects in all these fields, such as Tamera Biotope 1, The Right Livelihood Foundation candidates and projects, the Spirit of enterprise projects, the Social Innovations Directory, pioneering projects in education etc to a wide inter-national public via Internet and all other means.
These proposals have been developed by me via workshops (the Art & Science of Creative Living, Self-Realisation & True Loving), a book (“The Key to the Cosmic Connection”), a Life-Science Correspondence course and a number of study papers, as well as through inspired poetry & channeled writings (“The Book of Hermes Trismegistus”) and other works.
I would appreciate your feedback on these proposals.
“Without a vision, the people perish”
Galvani 6, Athens 11255, Greece,
VII. The 3rd World Water Forum and Ministerial Conference
Japan, 16-23 March 2003
The Forum and Ministerial Conference were organized jointly by the World Water Council and the Government of Japan.
The World Water Council (WWC) is an international water policy think
tank, established in 1996. WWC’s aim is, through regularly convening World
Water Forums, to:
* raise the importance of water on the political agenda
* support the deepening of discussions toward the solution of international water issues in the 21st Century
* formulate concrete proposals, and
* generate political commitment.
This event was attended by representatives from more than 170 countries as well as participants from UN agencies, non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations and civil society at large, including Youth organizations. The meetings took place in Kyoto, Osaka and Shiga, all situated in the Lake Biwa and Yodo river Basin area.
Forum participants met in more than 350 sessions to discuss the many vital topics relating to water, which had been organized around 33 themes, including: climate, supply, sanitation, hygiene and water pollution; cultural diversity; nature and environment; cities; governance; floods, integrated water resources management and basin management; peace; agriculture and food; poverty; financing water infrastructure; and dams and sustainable development.
Based upon the outcome of these discussions, the 3rd World Water Forum’s Secretariat drafted a preliminary Summary Forum Statement. This draft statement (available on http://www.world.water-forum3.com/ ) will be open for comments until 30 April, after which a final statement will be prepared for the G-8 meeting in Evian, France in June this year.
In its draft form the Summary Forum Statement commits participants to meeting the goals and targets of the Millennium Declaration, the International Freshwater Conference in Bonn (December 2002) and the World Summit on sustainable Development. It points to the central and indispensable place of freshwater in all our lives, the role it plays in developing and sustaining economic growth, social stability, poverty alleviation and sustainable development. The statement identifies key water issues including safe and clean water for all, governance, capacity building, financing, participation, regional priorities, global awareness, political support and local action.
In relation to partnerships, participation and dialogues, the statement calls for the empowerment and involvement of local people, local authorities, the research community, farmers, industry, women and minority groups in the development of basin and aquifer strategies, agreements and institutions. Stakeholder representatives and local authorities should be given permanent and official roles in decision making and implementation, and community knowledge, practices and rights should all be included in water management. It is recommended that governments start or continue reforms of public water institutions, and that good governance, cost-efficiency, transparency and accountability be emphasized. The statement also makes several recommendations with regard to protecting and restoring ecosystems and aquifers.
Among the meetings preceding the Ministerial Conference, which officially opened on 22nd March, were the closed Senior Official’s Meeting and the Dialogue between Participants and Ministers.
During the closed session some delegates proposed among other issues the inclusion of: water as a human right; the recognition of water as being indispensable for human security, household and community neighbourhood strategies, national adaptation coalitions and mechanisms to cope with climate vulnerability, and best practice guidelines for water service. However, in the Dialogue between Participants and Ministers, it was noted with regret that the draft Ministerial Declaration failed to acknowledge the human right to water and poorly reflected the priorities generated in the Forum.
At the closing session of the Ministerial Conference, the Chairs’ Summaries drew attention to some of the important issues that had been discussed, among which were: indigenous peoples’ rights; the effects of climate change and armed conflict on water and ecosystems; gender issues; the need for financial assistance for developing countries to sustainably manage water and protect ecosystems, and the effect of HIV/AIDS on all areas of development, including water. The Ministerial Declaration recognized the need to intensify water pollution prevention, and to protect and use in a sustainable manner ecosystems that naturally capture, filter, store and release water.
At the closing ceremomy Ryutaro Hashimoto, Chair of the National Steering Committee, presented the three winning organizations of the Water Action Contest with US$15,000, for effective grassroots actions in the field of water: the Gansu Research Institute for Water Conservancy, China; Technology Transfer Division, Bombas de Mecate, Nicaragua; and Voluntary Action for Development, Uganda.
VIII. NEW MEXICO
DEPARTMENT OF PEACE INITIATIVE
In July of 2001, Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio proposed to the United States House of Representatives that there be a Department of Peace. The idea inspired honoured elders Chris Griscom, founder of the Nizhoni School for Global Consciousness, and Mary Lour Cook to organize a New Mexico Department of Peace.
The Department of Peace is a network of people committed to finding ways to be together that inspire us to remain civilized. The group’s intention for our State is to find and maintain the high ground of humanity, good will, respect, and hope. It promotes a culture of non-violence and mutual security a culture of people getting along with each other. Practicing peace is a core principal of the Department of Peace.
The objectives of the Department of Peace are:
* To establish peace as an organizing principle for human and civic relationships in New Mexico;
* To coordinate efforts that use diplomacy, negotiation, mediation and other peacemaking skills;
* To honour the interconnections between the arts, cultures, and communities;
* To facilitate resources and training for conflict resolution for communities throughout the state, especially to those who cannot afford professional services;
* To create a central clearing house for written and electronic materials pertaining to all aspects of peacemaking;
* To enhance democratic values by supporting New Mexicans to voice their issues using diplomatic methods;
* To advocate avenues for economic and social change that realize the life affirming benefits of peacemaking;
* To educate citizens and the media on issues of peace;
* To study and track the relationship between the use of diplomacy and reducing criminal behaviour, domestic violence, drop-out rates, costly litigation, and expensive incarceration
The logo for the Department of Peace is an ancient symbol found all over the world used most recently by the Russian artist Nicholas Roerich to symbolize an International Pact for the Preservation of Culture. States establishing a Department of Peace are welcome to use this as their logo.
In New Mexico, a Memorial lays the groundwork for a Bill. The Memorial
for a Department of Peace Bill has been passed in the New Mexico Legislature.
A statement by the Founders concludes: “The Department of Peace is about
basic humanity and civility. It allows us to respect the inter-relatedness
and spirit of all being. We see no other possibility for sustained life
on our planetary home without the healing force of peace”.
IX. IS MORE BETTER?
Although our world is changing in leaps and bounds, we still in the main measure the wealth and welfare of a nation in GDP, Gross Domestic Product. This system of national accounting, invented by John Maynard Keynes and developed by Simon Kuznets was subsequently adopted world-wide. But Kuznets himself and others after him began to question the wisdom of this way of measuring the well being of a country.
GDP, with its increasing focus and emphasis on material development, has brought with it a constant pressure for growth. More is better. However, there is an increasing realization of the unbalance created within the entire society by this mindset: imprisonment (1 person in 150 are behind bars in Russia and USA) and gambling are today among the fastest growing sectors of the economy, and natural disasters, accidents and man-made catastrophies are all fuelling the security industry. Many people are today asking: should these, together with the widening gap between the rich and the poor and the continuous depletion of our natural resources be seen as contributing to the wealth of our country and viewed as the model of a healthy and “robust” economy?
Dr. Ron Colman is the founder and Executive Director of the Genuine Progress Index (GPI), which is based on the fundamental understanding that social, economic and environmental realities are “inextricably linked”. True long-term prosperity and well being are ultimately dependent on the protection and strengthening of our social and environmental assets, says Colman. If these deteriorate, we are leaving a poorer world for our children.
Recently, 400 leading economists jointly stated: “Since the GDP measures only the quantity of market activity without accounting for the social and ecological costs involved, it is both inadequate and misleading as a measure of true prosperity. Policy-makers, economists, the media, and international agencies should cease using the GDP as a measure of progress and publicly acknowledge its shortcomings. New indicators of progress are urgently needed… The GPI is an important step in this direction”.
For more information on GPI: GPI Atlantic, PO Box 9511, Halifax, NS
B3K 5S3, Canada. E-mail email@example.com website: http://www.gpiatlantic.org
New Mexico Department of Peace Initiative,
PO Box 8454, Santa Fe, NM 87504, USA.
X. THE GREAT INVOCATION
From the point of Light within the Mind of God
Let light stream forth into the minds of men.
Let Light descend on Earth.
From the point of Love within the Heart of God
Let love stream forth into the hearts of men
May Christ return to Earth.
From the centre where the Will of God is known
Let purpose guide the little wills of men
The purpose which the Masters know and serve.
From the centre which we call the race of men
Let the Plan of Love and Light work out
And may it seal the door where evil dwells.
Let Light and Love and Power restore the plan on Earth.
X. LA GRANDE INVOCATION
Du point de Lumiere dans la Pensee de Dieu
Que la lumiere afflue dans la pensee des hommes.
Que la lumiere descende sur la terre
Du point d’Amour dans le Coeur de Dieu
Que l’amour afflue dans le coeur des hommes.
Puisse le Christ revenir sur terre.
Du centre ou la Volonte de Dieu est connue
Que le dessein guide le faible vouloir des hommes,
Le dessein que les Maitres connaissent et servent.
Du centre que nous appelons la race des hommes
Que le Plan d’Amour et de Lumiere s’epanouisse,
Et puisse-t-il sceller la porte de la demeure du mal.
Que Lumiere, Amour et Puissance restaurent le Plan sur la terre