THE CULTURE OF PEACE DIALOGUES
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assessment of culture of peace at local level

Assessment of culture of peace at local level
(Coordinator Comment)

It is essential to measure progress toward a culture of peace at the local level if we are to advance. But it should not be reduced to a simple formula, or calling in "experts" to do the job. Instead, it needs to be a process of regular assessment to know if the initiatives we take are successful or not, what works and what doesn't work, and whether we are making progress.

The process of assessment, to be consistent with the basic principles of a culture of peace, needs to be participatory and educational. The people who are concerned with the various areas of a culture of peace need to be those who are engaged in the process of assessment, and they need to be engaged in a participatory way, so that they take part in the decision-making of how, what, and when to make the assessments.

At the level of the town or city, the annual assessment of a culture of peace index can be an important central task for a culture of peace commission.

The assessment should be based on the programme areas identified by the United Nations Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace. This is the only way to attain universally valid results in a subject which otherwise would be politicized and controversial. Seven of the programme areas in the UN document can be applied directly to the municipal level as well as at the national level. The eighth area, international peace and security, does not apply directly and therefore it may be applied as two separate programme areas: 8) security, i.e. public safety; and 9) solidarity with other municipalities on an international level.

It is important that the index initiative be an occasion for outreach and involvement of new people that are not already on the commission or in the city government. This not only ensures that there is no conflict of interest in the process, but it also helps to mobilize and educate new constituencies of the culture of peace. In the long run, this mobilization and education is essential to progress toward a culture of peace.

For further consideration of local assessment, interested readers may wish to consult the chapter on this subject in World Peace through the Town Hall.

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game administrator Mar. 30 2009,06:27
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