A Time for Hope

Article excerpt

The International Year for the Culture of Peace proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations will begin at the end of this year. Now is the time to start preparing to take part

In twelve months we enter the year 2000: what better time to chart a new course, by working together every day to make possible a new society of peace, a society based upon the democratic ideals enshrined in UNESCO'S Constitution: liberty, justice, equality and solidarity?

There can be no lasting peace without sustainable development. There can be no development without lifelong education, without democracy, the sharing of resources to avoid the immense disparities separating the developed from the less developed countries. Within every country, some citizens want for nothing, while others lack almost everything.

The century that is drawing to a close has seen great discoveries and inventions, of which antibiotics and telecommunications are but two, but the logic of force has prevailed at a terrible cost - the lives of millions of human beings, many of them in the flower of their youth. Nothing of value has ever been achieved by violence and coercion.

We cannot continue to be indifferent to the wasting of our resources in the production of weapons to be used against enemies, whether actual or potential. We cannot tolerate the fact that, for economic reasons, thousands of helpless children are victims of sexual abuse or exploitation at work. We cannot continue to allow water to be polluted, forests to be destroyed, the air of our planet to be contaminated. We cannot accept the predominance of one culture over all others; nor can we afford to lose the diversity of the physical and spiritual heritage that we must pass on to future generations. …