Saturday, October 15, 2016

AGNIREPORTIPB2016 By Azril Bacal

The Triennial IPB's Berlin Congress
(A Brief Report)
Azril Bacal, För. AGNI, IPB member
Uppsala, Sweden, 14 October 2016

The support of AGNI, a Swedish association geared towards international and inter-cultural understanding, enabled me to attend the World Congress of the International Peace Bureau (IPB) about “Disarm! For a Climate of Peace: Creating an Action Agenda,” which took place at the Technische University of Berlin, 30 September – 03 October 2016. IPB had international support for this historical event from: Friends of the Earth- International, the Nobel Peace Center, PAX CHRISTI, ITUC, WILPF, INES, IALANA, Global Campaign for Peace Education (I have been a member of the “expert group in peace-education, since the Hague Appeal for Peace and Justice in the 21st Century (HAP’99), Transform!, EUPRA, the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, War Resisters’ International, CODEPINK, Muslim Peace Fellowship, IPRA-SDC  (security & Disarmament Commission), and from other organizations engaged in peace work, research and education. AGNI has in the past supported local peace initiatives such as Uppsala Network for a Culture of Peace (1999-2002) and Uppsala Social Forum (2002-2010), and currently supports the film-forum project to assert the “equal value of all human beings” (Studiefrämjandet, financed by the cultural office of Uppsala Municipal Council). The International Peace Bureau is a global network dedicated to the vision of a “World without War.” IPB is a Nobel Peace Laureate (1910) - and 13 of its officers have been recipients of that Prize. IPB’s 300 member organizations in 70 countries and many individual members constitute a global network that brings together expertise and campaigning experience for a common cause, with Consultative Status at the United Nations. It is also lodges the Secretariat of the NGO Committee for Disarmament (Geneva). The main program of IPB focus on Disarmament for Sustainable Development, of which the Global Campaign on Military Spending (GCOMS) is a key part. According to most estimates, the gathering with about 700 to 1000 participants from 75 countries, who attended a wide range of sessions: plenaries, panels and workshops, as well as other events and cultural programs. Speeches by experts, activists, politicians, scholars and others members of civil society provided both inspiration and understanding. The event provided a new impetus to the disarmament and wider peace movements at a critical time in human history. Amela Skiljan, IPB Congress Manager, and Reiner Braun, IPB Co-President, wrote that over 250 people from countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Pakistan were not able to get a visa to join us in Berlin, expressing their regret and their not acceptance of these circumstances, which underlines the need to construct a Global Peace Movement. They thanked the participants for coming to Berlin in order to discuss, share, experience, celebrate and elaborate the Action Agenda to Disarm - for a Climate and Culture of Peace! In the link below you find photos and videos of the speakers, as well as an excerpt of the Action Agenda, with regular updates of the materials. In addition to the activities listed on the program, there were side events. For instance, a workshop on “Disarmament Education: Imperative for Peace” on October 3rd, organized by the International Institute on Peace Education (IIPE) with a focus on Nuclear Abolition. Ban Ki-moon said that: “The world is over-armed and peace is under-funded.” Instead of wasting 1,700 billion dollars on military budgets, one could invest such vast resources into building cultures of democracy, justice, peace, non-violence, reconciliation, climate change mitigation, preservation of bio-diversity, human security, disarmament, conflict-prevention, transformation and resolution and human rights.

There was consensus among participants about the vital role of women and of peace education to build cultures of democracy, justice, peace, non-violence and reconciliation to prevent war, in peace-building, conflict-resolution, post-conflict situations and reconciliation. To illustrate the value of peace-education in the real world, Amada Benavides, Fundación Escuelas de Paz, Bogotá, Colombia, a colleague and friend who attended the IPB congress in Berlin, is currently training 80 peace-educators in San Vicente del Caguán, FARC guerrilla´s strategic center until now.

First impressions and documentation of the IPB World Congress:
-          Speeches, videos and all future material on www.ipb2016.berlin
IPB also presented its own Action Agenda for the coming years at the final plenary (see separate news item). Conference reports, speeches, videos etc. are being posted day by day on the Congress website:https://www.ipb2016.berlin/. For even more information and behind the scenes captions, follow our social media channels such as Twitter:https://goo.gl/I6TqE1 and Instagram:https://goo.gl/wxXVcT (from www.ipb.org)

There was a special event: “Abolishing War/Peace Movement Futures: Panel with IPB Presidents and former Presidents, including Maj-Britt Theorin (IPB President 1994-2000) and Tomas Magnusson (IPB President 2006-2013) from Sweden. Lisa Clark from Italy was elected as the new IPB Co-President.
Sources:
-Colin Archer
Secretary-General
International Peace Bureau
41 rue de Zürich
1201 Geneva
Switzerland
+41-22-731-6429
Skype and mobile details on request
secgen@ipb.org
www.ipb.org
www.gcoms.org
www.ipb2016.berlin
www.makingpeace.org
-Amela Skiljan, IPB Congress Manager and Reiner Braun, IPB Co-President.
Final Note: To begin with, and in order to share the information and action agenda of this memorable event at the local level (Uppsala), the following actions are already in motion:  (1) To print a report in AGNI’s newsletter, (2) to briefly verbally report at the Mission Church (a progressive local church) and last but not least, (3) to explore the interest and possibility to organize in the next future a meeting  with a student association, at the Peace and Conflict Research Institute at Uppsala University.

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