Disarm! For a climate of peace.
Creating an action agenda.
The International Peace Bureau (IPB), the oldest global peace network with more than 300 organizations in over 70 countries, founded in 1891/92 and winner in 1910 of the Nobel Peace Prize, is preparing for September 2016, a World Congress under the (provisional) title War, Money, Transformation: Disarmament for Development! We expect that it will attract global attention and a large number of participants.
The Congress will act as a high point in the recently-launched Global Campaign on Military Spending (GCOMS). In December 2014, the International Peace Bureau (IPB) announced the beginning of a permanent, global, year-round campaign to tackle the worldwide issue of excessive military spending. In 2013 the world’s governments spent over USD 1700 billion on the military sector. This is money that could instead be spent on creating jobs for young people, feeding the hungry, protecting us all from the effects of climate change, tackling ebola…and much more. IPB has for several years called for annual reallocations of (as a minimum) 10% from the military budgets of all states; and for a process to be started to reduce arms production as well as the international weapons trade.
The campaign builds on over a decade of work done by IPB and others around the theme of ‘Disarmament for Sustainable Development’. It incorporates the Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) – now in its 5th year, whose goals it shares and which is also coordinated by the IPB.
Overall Goal of the Campaign is:
To achieve major re-allocations of military expenditures (especially in high spending countries) to 4 main alternative areas:
a. Peace: disarmament, conflict prevention and resolution, human security;
b. Sustainable development and anti-poverty programmes;
c. Climate change and biodiversity loss – for mitigation and adaptation;
d. Social justice/welfare, human rights, gender equality and green job-creation
— all the above as part of a wider global transformation towards a culture of peace.
The aim of this congress is to bring the issue of military spending, often seen as technical question, into the broad public debate. The enormous global challenges of hunger, jobs and climate could be brought closer to a solution by real disarmament steps – steps that need to be clearly formulated and put into political reality. The objectives of the Congress go even beyond these specific challenges: they concern the connection between, on the one hand, the current global militarization and wars, and on the other, the need for a great transformation¹. To put it bluntly, without overcoming militarism, a socio-ecological transformation with the goal of an equitable international social order will be a failure. This dimension of social change has so far hardly been addressed, neither in the peace movements, nor in the transformation sciences nor in the social organizations that have such a transformation as their goal. This is the other specific challenge of the World Congress.
LOCATION AND DATE
30 September – 3 October, 2016
Venue: the Technical University of Berlin
In preparation for the Congress, in the discussion of objectives and content, the following elements have been developed:
THEMES –and some of our current thinking
- Where we are living it is one planet, but we use it up as if we had three. We are facing a crisis of civilisation, which is even more far–reaching than an ecological and economic crisis.
There is a need for a ‘great transformation’ and among the absolutely necessary dimensions is the reallocation of military expenditure. The transformation implies the end of militarism, and hence the peace movement must play an important and indeed, leading, role.
No such transformation and indeed no sustainable world is possible without moving billions of dollars from war to peace, and without removing the scourge of militarism. These challenges require critical thinking about the western-oriented development models, and a search for the end of the many forms of exclusion. They also demand new definitions of democracy, participation, knowledge and of both science and culture.
The newly-developed Post-2015 SDGs must include the disarmament of an over- armed world. This has implications for how (and by whom) development should be funded. The disarmament process requires the growth of trust and international solidarity in opposition to the model of competition and tension, which risks leading ultimately to apocalypse.
Ecological challenges cannot be solved without stopping preparations for war (which destroys both nature and people). We need to move the money from the most destructive sector to the survival of the biosphere, and with it, the survival of human beings. No solution for climate change without disarmament: cooperation is the main challenge for reaching a CO2-free world. Move the money for renewable energy: overcoming both the carbon and the nuclear eras.
Decent work to satisfy humanity’s needs: moving the money towards a sustainable green economy without growth. Such an economy is impossible with military spending. The task is to find ways to bring military industry towards zero. Quality sustainable economic development and military spending are not compatible. Move the money means offering a future to the youth.
Saving the planet means ending the nuclear danger: move the money from nuclear weapons modernisation to freedom from hunger.
Overcoming armed conflicts: moving the money that is already ‘deployed’ in the hotspots of the world towards prevention and peace research.
Disarmament means democracy and participation – we need to show why and how. Not least this implies developing a gender perspective both on the military system, and on the models of peacemaking and development being promoted to replace it.
- The Global Campaign on Military Spending is more than simply about cuts in the military budget, it is also:
a. Conversion to a civilian-oriented economy
b. An end to military research
c. Technological development to actively promote peace
d. Creating work for humanitarian solutions and sustainability in general
e. Development cooperation and prevention and resolution of violent conflicts
f. Demilitarisation of minds – new ways of thinking for all
11. Ultimately the project implies an alternative use for resources: Money for investing in a society of justice and sustainability. Elaborating comprehensive visionary descriptions of the path we need to take. Building a culture of peace.
In our current plan, the conference will include:
- The IPB photo-exhibition (100 panels, text in German and English)
- A separate, interactive exhibit focusing specifically on the themes of the congress.
- Cultural activities from around the world – including local Berlin-based artistes.
- Possibilities for other NGOs to hold side meetings and workshops
- ‘Market stalls’ area
- IPB Triennial Assembly – main gathering for members and partners
While the theme contains many references to economics and politics, our aim is to draw in people from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds. Speakers will come from the social sciences, esp. economics and politics, as well as the peace movement, and other civil society sectors…. There will be bishops and journalists, community organisers and film directors. We shall seek out figures both from the highest levels of society and grassroots voices, creative thinkers and cultural figures. The active participation of Peace and Alternative Nobel prize winners and “elder statesmen/women”, who have been involved in peace and disarmament will be a major attraction.
An international congress “Declaration” is intended and will be carefully prepared some time in advance, with input from the Preparatory events.
SUSTAINABILITY OF THE CONGRESS/FOLLOW UP
Enhancing cooperation at international and national levels is a stated goal. Several avenues are proposed:
- Through greater involvement in the annual GDAMS (Global Day of Action on Military Spending).
- Intense online and offline evaluation and reporting of contributions, including book production.
- The establishment of an international observer group of scientists, Nobel laureates and peace advocates, to monitor military spending and international militarization from a critical perspective, as well as issuing warnings and raising their voices in the media (watchdog function).
The IPB is trying to attract partners and partners from the international labour unions as co-organizer. We seek broad support that goes far beyond the peace organizations — for example, organizations from fields such as human rights, environment, development and social welfare. A collaboration with religious / faith-based organizations would be a great asset to the Congress.
The objective is to ensure participation from at least 40 countries. A particular focus will be on attracting participants from the “Global South”, including the so-called emerging economies. We plan to invite representatives from organisations from conflict/crisis/war regions. We especially wish to attract young participants, notably students working on relevant subjects.Target numbers: 1000-1500.
PREPARATION IN PHASES
The aim is to prepare the Congress by arranging several regional meetings dealing with specific, regionally-relevant topics within the whole complex of issues.
Structures of the organisational work:
a. international programme committee, dealing with the programmatic work.
b. an international preparatory committee, responsible for the fundamental strategic and organizational issues.
c. a local preparatory committee in Berlin.
d. other preparatory bodies such as a media group are to be developed in the course of preparation.
PUBLICITY AND MEDIA WORK
We aim for intense media coverage of the whole process of preparation (online and offline). Both traditional methods of public relations and modern/social media are to be used intensively. A newsletter will be published and a dedicated congress website set up.
The financial framework for the entire Congress is estimated at around 200,000 euros.The bulk of the money will be used to support funding for travel and subsistence expenses of participants who (or whose organizations) are not able to cover their own costs.
IPB can only cover a tiny fraction of these costs from its own resources. Financial support from foundations, organizations and individual donations is absolutely necessary.
41 rue de Zurich
1201 Geneva, Switzerland
Tel: +41-(0) 22-731-6429
Berlin Congress Secretariat
International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility (INES)
Contact person: Lucas Wiri, Programme Director
Phone: +49 (0) 30 31 99 66 86; Fax: +49 (0)30 31 99 66 89
Berlin, 05.11.2014 – revised 10 March 2015.
Reiner Braun, IPB Co-President (Berlin)
¹see WBGU Flagship Report 2011, German Advisory Council on Global Change