UNESCO - Panafrican Forum for a culture of peace in Luanda, Angola

Panafrican Forum UnescoA Pan-African Forum jointly organized by UNESCO, the African Union Commission and the Government of the Republic of Angola will gather more than 300 experts. The goal of this Pan-African Forum is to harness Africa’s sources of inspiration and cultural, natural and human resources to establish concrete proposals for building and developing a sustainable peace. The Forum will examine the cultural, natural and human resources of Africa, taking into account that these three components are essential to creating an inclusive and holistic approach to the culture of peace. Peace being the cornerstone of endogenous development and Pan-Africanism.

 

The Forum will be a milestone of the UNESCO’s “Inter-sectoral and Interdisciplinary Programme of Action for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence” and the African Union Campaign “Make Peace Happen” aiming to mobilize all stakeholders—political and civil society.
The Forum will examine cultural sources and resources: including the revisiting of the strength and wisdom of languages, traditions and history by analysing traditional and modern methods of conflict resolution and violence prevention; examining the role of education-not just that which takes place in schools but one that plays out in families and villages-to build peaceful citizens that are driven by ethical values and mutual respect; enhancing creativity and cultural inventiveness, the same one that is able to open new horizons and spaces for dialogue, develop new economic sectors and serve as an engine for development.

The Forum will examine the natural sources and resources that are found across the continent, without being constrained by political borders and that now represent geostrategic challenges and potential sources of conflict and crisis. Whether rivers or oceans, forests or minerals, soil or sub-soil, the preservation and rational exploitation of these natural resources are the key to sustainable development. In particular, we seek to identify the strengths and virtues of cooperation and diplomacy so that relevant stakeholders like governments, local communities and the private sector can effectively manage and share resources, respecting and utilizing modern and indigenous knowledge. The Earth being the source –along with the natural resources that are its fruits - provides an opportunity to develop new economic sectors, “green” and “blue economies”, allowing the preservation of biodiversity and the wellbeing of the seas and oceans. The links between education and employability are also to be highlighted. It is evident today that the quality of education and the qualification of the workforce are major resources for peace and development on the continent.

• The Forum will also discuss human sources and resources with a particular focus on youth. Because while it is certain that armed conflicts have a devastating impact on children and young people, their involvement in the construction and consolidation of peace is an important factor that must be considered since the youth have the potential to act as agents of social, economic and political change. This commitment, when based on values, proves to be a powerful spring for resilience. Civic education, community service, political action, as well as leadership and gender equality, will be central components to the discussion. Finally, the Forum will discuss the role of renowned personalities and their influence on the youth. Whether artists or athletes, icons shaped by the media, these personalities can become transnational role-models for many young people. Traditional leaders who embody African humanism and its values of peace—can serve as models for those young people seeking to build their own life experience. The processes that forge and transmit these values, such as a conversation among friends, in a social network or under the village tree, community radios, TV networks or the Internet, will also be discussed.

• Finally, the agenda of the Forum plans to hold a roundtable on the establishment of a multi-stakeholders partnership for action. Organized with the participation of regional institutions, public and private economic actors as well as representatives of Governments and Civil Society, this session will be the occasion to launch a continental and lasting movement for the promotion of a culture of peace. For this round table and for the Campaign, the stakeholders can now witness the action as their Foundation / Company / Institution / Organization leads to help in building the defenses of peace in the minds of men and women and ensure that peace is a reality : "Make Peace Happen".

Expected results of the Forum include:

• The elaboration of a Plan of Action (recommendations and proposals for actions) for the prevention of violence and the resolution of conflicts in Africa to be submitted to the attention of African Union Heads of States and Governments Summit in May 2013.

• The launch of a regional Movement for the promotion of a culture of peace, under the auspices of UNESCO and the African Union, to sensitize public opinion, particularly youth on the role they have to play to construct and consolidate peace and non violence in their daily life and to mobilize actors in the field, organizations and partners for the conception, financing and implementation of concrete projects at the local, national and regional level.

(Source: www.unesco.org/africa4peace)

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