UNESCO and the Abat Oliba CEU University (Barcelona, Spain) gathered an International Steering Committee, composed of eminent scholars and peace activists across the world, in Barcelona, on 30 and 31 March 2016. Their common objective was to start the development of a study on peace which emanates from the new research project “Progress and Challenges for the UN Peace Agenda, 70 years after the creation of the United Nations and UNESCO.”
The study will examine the universal notion of peace, which includes the promotion of quality education for all, inclusive knowledge societies, human rights, dialogue and development.
The study will be inspirational and shall bring hope by demonstrating, through concrete cases, how it is possible to move towards sustainable peace. Case studies will include the role of women in peace processes and reflect good practices, successes and failures. Dilemmas and tensions in peace-building efforts over time will also be reflected. And the study will provide innovative mechanisms for peace and aims to inspire the UN and its constituencies to act more proactively and effectively.
In accordance with the Action Plan endorsed by the Committee, two expert meetings with different UN bodies and agencies will be held in Geneva and New York in the coming months. The final study will be published and publicly presented in 2017, on the occasion of the International Day of Peace (21 September 2017).
Initiated in 2015, the research project is a joint initiative of UNESCO and the Abat Oliba CEU University which analyzes peace as the first pillar of the UN’s work and the main objective of UNESCO. The project is coordinated by UNESCO’s Liaison Office in Geneva in close cooperation with UNESCO’s Social and Human Sciences Programme. It contributes to the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022) for which UNESCO was designated as the lead agency by the UN General Assembly.
The concept of peace should be considered broadly, in line with the definition contained in the Declaration and Programme of Action for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence (A/RES/53/243). Peace has to be seen in a pluralistic way and as a process. UNESCO’s convening power was underlined, in particular through its constitutional mandate to build “the defenses of peace” in the minds of men and women and its contributions to promote cultural diversity, human rights and tolerance.
The Barcelona meeting was hosted and chaired by Professor Carmen Parra, Chair of the Solidarity Economy of the University of the Abat Oliba, and member of the Steering Committee of the project.