Disarmament for Sustainable Human Development
Former Director-General of UNESCO, Federico Mayor Zaragoza, now President of the Fundación Cultura de Paz, has launched an excellent new initiative Disarmament for sustainable human development:
It is morally unacceptable that every day over 20,000 people die of hunger while close to5 billion dollars are invested in military expenditures and armament. A judicious reduction of these enormous and disproportionate figures would be enough to quickly and substantially increase endogenous, sustainable and human development worldwide; to take care of the environmental intergenerational legacy, ensuring that the irreversible deterioration of the habitability of Earth does not take place; to promote international cooperation in order to implement the major priorities of the United Nations (food, water, health, ecology, education, peace), and therefore make the “new beginning” advocated by the Earth Charter possible.
It is time for action, because points of no return can be reached. We have multiple diagnoses, and now it is time to implement, without delay, appropriate and timely treatments. The “democratic principles”-that with such accuracy and vision are defined by the Constitution of UNESCO “to guide humanity”- must be embodied, as a personal and collective essential reference for every day behavior and political frameworks
The new era of peace will mainly emerge from the undeferable transition from force to words, from a culture of imposition, domination and violence to a culture of encounter, dialogue, conciliation and peace. Instead of “si vis pacem para bellum”, “si vis pacem para verbum”. Tomorrow can be too late. Practical polices and strategies -so well established in the United Nations Declaration and Plan of Action for a Culture of Peace, 1999– must be applied without delay.
It is necessary to reiterate that if there is no evolution there will be revolution, and that the difference between these two words is the “r” of responsibility. Let us stop following the irresponsible and, urgently, facilitate the transition from an economy based on speculation, production delocalization and war to an economy of sustainable and human development, led by a democratic and efficient multilateralism.
The best solution –though the immense inertia of those who have always exercised absolute power is not easy to overcome- is disarmament (including, of course, nuclear), applying a fair part of the huge means devoted to security to the development of all countries, so equal dignity and quality of life become a reality in all of them.
With only 10% reduction per year and country of the funds at present invested in defence and armament sector, the security worldwide will remain unaffected, while the main UN priorities could be implemented right now before reaching points of no return, as we are dealing with processes that could become irreversible. It must be emphasized that such development strategy would also likely result in a general improvement of economy on a global scale, contributing to deal with the severe migration and social problems that we currently face.
As the Secretary General Ban-Ki-Moon has declared, “the world is over-armed and peace is under-funded…We believe the transformation of society can only be achieved when handling conflict differently and reallocating military expenditure”.
Disarmament for development: that simple. The solutions exist. Immediate action is required to comply with our intergenerational responsibilities. The re-foundation of the United Nations is urgently needed.
We must follow the International Peace Bureau on the “Disarmament for development” initiative and raise countless voices for justice and peace both in person and digitally. A colossal mobilization could enlight the present somber horizons.
In such a way, “We, the peoples…” will, at last, take the reins of the common destiny in our hands”!
UN High Level Forum for a Culture of Peace
New York, 1st September, 2016.
The International Peace Bureau (Geneva)
The Global Movement for a Culture of Peace (New York)
The Foundation for a Culture of Peace (Madrid)
(To see the list of signatories at present: