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Friday, 19. July 2024

Culture of Peace

A Small Report from the Congress

From September 12th to 14th IPPNW Germany held its 3rd Open Congress for a Culture of Peace in the Urania in Berlin.  For three days 700 participants and experts were debating to identify paths to recovery and to promote constructive proposals for more peaceful world order. More than 50 experts from all over the world gave lectures, from Ecuador, Kenya, Canada, South Africa or Palestine.

The congress aimed to address the four global threats we are facing at the beginning of the 21st century according to the Oxford Research Group:  Climate change, competition over resources, marginalization of the majority of the world and global militarization. (http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/work/global_security/sustainable_security.php)

 In lectures, workshops and discussions the participants and experts analyzed the risks to peace and looked for solutions. With examples of constructive conflict management IPPNW aimed to encourage further actions

Several events broached the issue of the marginalization of the majority of the world. Dr. David McCoy addressed in his workshop “Poverty and Health: The Global Health Watch” health inequality and “the poor health of the poor”. Miri Weingarten talked about the limited access for people from Gaza to medical treatment. Her colleagues Dr. Eyad Rajab El Sarraj and Achmad Abu Tawahina could not attend the congress as Israel had denied them the exit from Gaza. This decision illustrated the topic of the workshop “Israel./. Palestine: Walls versus Bridges”.

The physician and winner of the Alternative Nobel Price Hartmut Graßl gave an impressive and demonstrative lecture on the “Anthropogenic Climate Change” and its risks for human race and biodiversity. He proposed that we should learn until 2050 to use a five thousandth part of  the sun to provide energy to by then 9 billion people. He also cautioned against the decreasing oil resources.

Climate change as a consequence of a regional nuclear war and the resulting famine was brought up by Dr. Ira Helfand. He advocated a Nuclear Weapons Convention in order to prevent a sudden cooling and radioactive contamination of farm land which would be caused by nuclear weapons explosions.

Other workshops dealt also with the risks of global militarization like German military operations in Afghanistan or the militarization of humanitarian aid. Dr. Walter Odhiambo from Kenya held a workshop about firearm injuries. Small weapons violence hits especially poor people from the South and occupies capacities that could better be invested in development and the health system.

The Congress closed with ideas of how a world led by a Culture of Peace could look like. Mary-Wynne Ashford recalled the power of the civil society. In order to address climate change and prevent war she called for the abolition of nuclear weapons and demanded from people to reduce their own carbon footprints. Prof. Dr. Dr. Horst-Eberhard Richter stated that only with openness towards other people we can overcome a culture of war.

You find the the speeches in English on http://www.kultur-des-friedens.de/english/documentation/index.html