Mid-decade Report, 21/4/05

Uploaded to the Civil Society World Report website

Thanks to everyone who cooperated in this exercise, especially the following for their contributions and feedback: Robert Stewart, Renée Vaugeois, Dr Shall Sinha, Dr Saul Arbess, Paul Nelson, Gabriela Lasko, & Dr David Adams . Coordinated by Tex Albert, sfo ; E-mail

1) PROGRESS. Has your organization seen progress toward a culture of peace and non-violence in your domain of action and in your constituency during the first half of the Decade (2001-2005)? If you have developed any indicators to measure progress, please describe them here. Please write one or two paragraphs.

YES! In Canada one of the most significant civil society initiative to foster effectively a culture of peace and non-violence in a concerted manner has been the launching last November 2004 of the Canadian Culture of Peace Program (CCOPP). This happened at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, concluding nine days of peace conferencing.  The well-reputed author, (The Human Right to Peace), parliamentarian and diplomat, retired senator Douglas Roche, O.C. leads CCOPP as its Honorary Chairman. Mr. Roche was once Canada's Ambassador for Disarmament and elected Chairman of the United Nations Disarmament Committee. The CCOPP interim executive director is Robert Stewart, an active Rotarian as well as a leading peace advocate in Canada. Robert is the founder and director of the Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace (CCTP), which operates primarily as a virtual centre at . It is no doubt a very important online civil society focal point for peace as well as being, in Canada, the principal instigator and organizer of national and provincial peace education conferences.  CCTP has also initiated several e-mail list-servers and online forums to provide tools for communication, networking, dialogue and information dissemination promoting a culture of peace and non-violence. This pro-active result oriented dynamic has been the catalyst for the formation of the, rather more grounded, Canadian Culture of Peace Program, CCOPP. The freshly released CCOPP Stakeholder Network Design states: “The CCOPP intends to translate the UN’s conceptual framework into an active organization that realizes the goals of the UN initiative.  This program will be multileveled, involving national, provincial, and local bodies, and develop international links in aid of its mission.  The program will operate through a variety of different organizational types (educational institutions, businesses, youth groups, churches, etc.).  The CCOPP may operate through new, self-organizing bodies or within existing organizations.

Peace is as much a process as a goal or concept. The visit-counter of the website reports over 1,000,000 visitors since its inception in 1998, and is currently averaging over 50,000 visitors per month, from around the world. These numbers, including visits from other countries, lead us to believe in progress, if only in terms of interest for (or of desire to be informed about) the culture of peace in Canada. As CCOPP gears up we are noticing, from provinces across the country, an increase in active engagement of individuals of different backgrounds and cultural origins, from the stay-at-home mother to the university academic, from activists to scholastics, as well as the religiously inspired. Gradually the CCOPP structure is taking form. The organisation will develop or adopt more reliable indicators of progress of the culture of peace, such as systematic collection and collation of relevant data from stakeholders or through public opinion polls, which should enable, in the second half of the International Decade, better gauging of effective progress in the advancement of a culture of peace and non-violence in Canada. In the context of this current mid-decade report CCOPP has taken on the task of national coordinator for Canadian civil society feedback (Contact: Ms Renée Vaugeois; the collation of this data will be invaluable for the eventual elaboration of a realistic, hopefully none-the-less ambitious and visionary, plan of action, coordinated at a national level while also empowering at community and provincial levels, to foster more effectively a culture peace in Canada during the second half (2006-2010) of the International Decade.

2) OBSTACLES. What are the most important obstacles that have prevented progress? Please write one or two paragraphs.

The newly-formed CCOPP is hopeful that its stakeholders can synergistically become empowered to make a concerted meaningful difference in the relatively, rather frustratingly, little progress perceived so far as elaborated in the quotation below from the CCTP report of March 14, 2005 submitted separately by its director: 

“…The vast majority of politicians and officials in the Canadian Government have little or no knowledge of the Culture of Peace and Non-violence Program.  Little, if any, new resources (financial, informational or human) have been provided to build a Culture of Peace and Non-violence.  This is ample evidence that the Government of Canada has not rushed in to participate.  Furthermore, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO does not see its role as one of leadership. … In short, despite what some may say, we are underachieving our potential to build a Culture of Peace and Non-violence in Canada, and in the world. …”

The CCOPP is a very ambitious project aspiring to foster the culture of peace across the provincial, linguistic, and multi-cultural divides throughout the geographic expanse of Canada. It is the result of the relentless pursuit for a peaceful human society, nationally and globally, by a relatively few courageous and visionary individuals operating so far with little material resources and having to juggle their CCOPP engagement with other occupations. The challenge is to maintain momentum on ‘volunteer’ time. Many in the culture of peace community are speaking of resource fatigue having to continually do more with less.

Unfortunately it is relatively easier to justify and raise funds to repair and rebuild after destruction from violent conflicts, and even to spend on violent methods of conflict resolution, than to have resources committed to build peace and prevent violence.

It is imperative that the Canadian Culture of Peace Program mobilizes soonest the required operational resources from government, corporate and private sectors to facilitate effective implementation of the program. Peoples, nations, must in effect truly give the culture of peace a chance, recognising that it is vital for a sustainable future for all, and governments must take the lead by committing the necessary resources for fostering peace; national peace commissions must formed and ministers of peace appointed as per our Proposals 1 and 2 made below at section 6) ADVICE. 

3) ACTIONS. What actions have been undertaken by your organization to promote a culture of peace and non-violence during the first half of the Decade (2001-2005)? Please include any actions taken to celebrate the International Day of Peace which occurs every year on September 21. We would also appreciate a photograph that illustrates your actions, preferably sent by e-mail, if not by post. Your report may be from one to ten pages in length.

The CCOPP has been in existence for barely five months to date. However, it has been capitalizing on the network of contacts developed by the CCTP, as well as new expressions of interest, linking people all over the country to generate a fresh impetus for the culture of peace, as more and more stakeholders take stock of the relative lack of progress midway through this International Decade for the Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the children of the world 2001-2010.

Since last November 2004, meetings with participants from various provinces have been held as well as with potential institutional collaborators, like the University of Alberta in Edmonton, the University of Calgary, McMaster University in Hamilton and Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax.

The CCOPP Stakeholder Network Design has been elaborated, as mentioned above, through a collaborative, mostly online, effort of a CCOPP Working Group from across the country. As far as we can ascertain this particular stakeholder network design is a unique and innovative method of linking those involved in activities related to a culture of peace, in Canada and abroad, to provide the support structure for effective cooperation. Needless to say we all have lessons to learn from one another and too often local or small groups operate in relative isolation and may be more prone to discouragement from the frustration of slow progress. CCOPP therefore intends to be instrumental in ensuring that both the resources and moral support are available to those active in the advancement of the culture of peace.

CCOPP is actively coordinating Canadian civil society input into the Decade’s World Report and will be collating the data to elaborate its own plan of action for the second half of the Decade.

Also various online groups and e-mail lists have been set up, as well as online polls conducted thus providing tools for communication, networking, dialogue and information dissemination promoting a culture of peace and non-violence. Several issues are attended to in this way linking people from all over the country, thus facilitating synergies to address creatively various topics of interest or concern, for example the CCOPP Stakeholder Network Design, celebration of peace week, bullying and youth violence, resource raising, media and free flow of information to promote a culture of peace, interreligious dialogue, and even the drafting of this report.

Apart from meetings of standard format, CCOPP actively applies to the extent possible “Open Space Technology” (OST) protocol, basically seeking to encourage synergistic, even visionary, dynamic by allowing those interested to participate freely while creating optimal conditions and opportunities for all to make their contribution. CCOPP practices a council-type of governance, with definable/pro-active leadership, valuing highly the following qualities:


4) PRIORITY DOMAINS OF ACTION. Your first and second priority action among the following:

1 - Education for a culture of peace

2 – Free flow of information and knowledge/ Understanding, tolerance, and solidarity


Equality of women
Democratic participation
Sustainable development
Human rights
International peace and security


5) GEOGRAPHICAL PRIORITY. If your action is national, the primary and secondary country of your action. If regional, please indicate the region concerned. If international, please indicate "international."

Canada  & “international”

Four other questions are optional and not required for the report, but your response would be helpful.


6) ADVICE. What advice would you like to give to the Secretary-General and the General Assembly to promote a culture of peace and non-violence during the second half of the Decade (2006-2010).

The Canadian Culture of Peace Program (CCOPP) proposes that the UN Secretary General recommend to the General Assembly:

1 - To call on all the member states to renew their commitment to the Culture of Peace and Non-violence Declaration and Program of Action and to encourage them strongly, as a sure sign of that engagement, to appoint in their respective government a Minister of Peace to work collaboratively to advance effectively the culture of peace with a National Peace Commission, a non-governmental organisation composed of representatives of all significant stakeholders to be set up by and answering to national parliament to coordinate the national culture of peace program in liaison with UNESCO and other pertinent UN agencies for the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World, 2001-2010.

2 – To request the UNESCO Director General to take all appropriate measures to initiate and coordinate meetings as required of the government ministers of peace and national peace commission executives in order to advance effectively a concerted international culture of peace program of action.

3 - To decide that the World Peace Forum 2006, to be hosted by the City of Vancouver, B.C., Canada from 23rd to 28th June 2006 will be the major international event to generate new impetus for effective application of the Culture of Peace Program in the second half (2006-2010) of the Decade and that subsequently regional peace forums will be organized leading to a second World Peace Forum in 2010, all to be coordinated by UNESCO and the respective host countries.

4 – To ask the member states to encourage and facilitate participation of representatives of all stakeholders, actively fostering a culture of peace, in the national, regional and global events promoting the culture of peace.


7) PARTNERSHIPS AND NETWORKS. The UN Programme of Action calls for the strengthening of "partnerships between and among the various actors for a global movement for a culture of peace." Please describe here the partnerships and networks in which your organization participates.

National Canadian network of stakeholders, fostering a culture of peace, being developed by the Canadian Culture of Peace Program and other such networks with compatible mission in the country, e.g. UNESCO National Commission, Council of Canadians, service clubs such as Rotary and Lions, religious and lay organisations such as Inter-community service for Franciscan Animation and the Secular Franciscan Order, the World Peace Forum Society, parents associations, YW and YMCA’s, as well as educational institutions such as universities, colleges and schools.

  CCOPP core group members have been closely involved to assist the University of Alberta in establishing an innovative comprehensive teaching, research and learning program that will further facilitate the advancement of a culture of peace, community outreach and civil society implication being key aspects of the program.

A special partnership that the CCOPP is privileged to have is with the inspiring professional in persona presenter of Gandhi’s messages of peace and non-violence, Dr Shall Sinha. An active CCOPP Core Group member residing in Edmonton, invited to make presentations in several countries, Dr Sinha in effect, astoundingly, brings to life Gandhi as CCOPP's own unique ‘Ambassador for Peace’!

Considering that CCOPP will be celebrating its first anniversary only this year, at this stage it has only few budding international collaboration efforts such as with International Peace Research Association, The Nonviolent Peaceforce, Franciscans International, Global Partnership for Prevention of Armed Conflict and more significantly in the context of this World Report, the ‘Culture of Peace Foundation’ Fundación Cultura de Paz. Also, in response to requests for collaboration, contacts have been established in the following countries: Haiti, Brazil and Uganda. CCOPP is open to collaboration within international networks either on a multi-lateral or bilateral basis, globally or regionally. Of course any assistance in this respect from UNESCO, the UN or other organisations will be welcome and greatly appreciated.


8) REFERENCE. Who told you about this site? (Please provide this information for our own networking, and your answer will not be put on line).

Dr David Adams


9) PLANS. What new engagements are planned by your organization to promote a culture of peace in the second half of the Decade (2006-2010)?

Develop the CCOPP Stakeholder Network and further organize regular provincial, national and other peace conferences as well as CCOPP stakeholder network assemblies and peace leadership or other relevant training or information sessions.

The following action areas are being developed or have been initiated: CCOPP Marketing Strategy (how to ‘sell’ the Culture of Peace and Non-violence Program), Culture of Peace News Network – Canada and Media Literacy/Culture of Peace campaign, the CCOPP Interreligious Dialogue, the CCOPP and Government Relationship Building Dialogue, the CCOPP and Business (Corporate) Relationship Building Dialogue, the Canada and United States Culture of Peace and Non-violence Relationship Building Dialogue, the Canada and United Nations Relationship Building Dialogue.  More online forums will be set up for all of the remaining U.N. Culture of Peace and Non-violence Action Areas (i.e. Equality Between Men and Women; Understanding, Tolerance and Community; Democratic Participation; Sustainable Economic and Social Development; Respect for All Human Rights; International Peace and Security) as well as online forums for the ten remaining Provincial/Territorial Culture of Peace Programs.

Work also continues as per the CCOPP Initial Action Plan, as well as efforts pursued to fill in Peace Education gaps and raising of resources Also see

CCOPP Core Group members are actively liasing with, or are involved in, major upcoming events such as Global Conference on the Prevention of Armed Conflict, July 19-21 2005 in New York, Earth Charter + 5, November 7-9, 2005 Amsterdam, World Peace Forum 2006, 23 –28 June, Vancouver B.C., and the International Peace Research Association's 21st Biennial Conference, University of Calgary, June 26-30, 2006.




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