April 1996

Join the Peace Caucus

To Peace Caucus Members, Caucus Heads, and Colleagues:

We are hoping that you will "pitch your tent" with the Peace Caucus in Istanbul. As one of our Nigerian friends, Dr. Olusegun E. Ojo, stated during a discussion at the February PrepCom, "I came into the Peace Caucus presentation yesterday. . . and I realized that peace has to be the foundation of everything. Without talking about peace at Habitat it's just a waste of time. Habitat is about people and people are about homes. Everything has to start there."

We will try to make the links between peace and financing sustainable cities, focusing on the linkages and interdependence of our issues with the main themes of this conference. We will make our message clear: "No peace--no homes; no homes--no peace."

Peace issues are rarely highlighted in the Global Plans of UN conferences. Habitat II is no exception. It is the mission of the Peace Caucus to assure that this conference acknowledges and addresses the problems of militarization, especially how it robs communities of funding for "adequate shelter for all" and prevents "sustainable settlements development in an urbanizing world."

Our goals are to present the issues of Habitat II along with the peace agenda to the general population in order to influence public opinion and to lobby governmental and non-governmental delegates to assure that the following items are included in the Habitat Agenda:

Our mission is both educational and political. At the Preparatory Committee Meeting held in New York in February, we organized five seminars in collaboration with other caucuses and held a Land Mine Awareness Day. The impending landmine conference in Geneva gave particular political urgency and specificity to our work. Our forums included "The Legacy of Landmines" along with four co-sponsored with the Resources Caucus: "Redefining Security," "Security for All--Weapons for None" (arms trafficking), "Financing Sustainable Development," and "Reexamining Global Power Bases for NGOs." We also organized an event to celebrate the end of French nuclear testing in the pacific and to honor Australia's Ambassador Butler. This event (co-sponsored with the Caucus of Caucuses) which attracted 60 people including many indigenous representatives was held in the lobby of the General Assembly. We finished with a toast of French wine to symbolize the end of the boycott on French products and mango juice in honor of indigenous custom.

We submitted our line-by-line recommendations for changes in the Habitat Agenda and Plan of Action to government delegations, other caucuses, regional groups, and the International Facilitating Group (IFG). We were pleased that the Women's Caucus chose to include most of our items in their recommendations. We actively networked with these groups, urging them to consider including some of our proposals in their papers. The U. S. delegation, headed by Melinda Kimble, asked us to submit specific language from recent summits and promised to introduce language concerning excessive military expenditures; trade of weapons, especially of those that are excessively injurious or indiscriminate in nature; landmines; and non-violent conflict resolution. They urged us to keep bringing up these issues. There was much interest in our lobbying efforts on landmines and we attracted several Africans to our caucus because of this effort.

We are now engaged in the process of making plans for the Istanbul conference, which runs from May 30 to June 14. We are examining the document to determine our lobbying strategy and making plans for presentations there. We plan to do extensive lobbying of target delegations to assure that these issues are not dropped from the final document. It will also be necessary to be present during the negotiating sessions to input our language since this is the first UN conference that allows direct input from NGO's.

Planned Programs for Istanbul

We have requested rooms in the NGO Forum from 3:00-4:45 on the following days:

Friday, May 31, 1996
"Beyond War--The Legacy of Landmines"

Sunday, June 2, 1996
Peace Caucus Meeting with Guest Speakers - Lobbying, Networking, Forum on Best Practices (Refugees)

Thursday, June 6, 1996
Panel - "Security by Other Means"

Saturday, June 8, 1996
Peace Caucus Meeting - Forum on Best Practices (Economic Conversion and Reducing Military Spending)

Monday, June 10, 1996
Peace Caucus Meeting - UN's Agenda for Peace - UNESCO's Culture of Peace

We have also requested rooms in the Government Forum for 3:00-4:45 on Monday, June 3; Wednesday, June 5; Friday, June 7; and Wednesday, June 12, and are planning similar programs to be presented there.

International Association of Peace Messenger Cities Collaborates with Peace Caucus on Forum

We will be doing a program in collaboration with the International Association of Peace Messenger Cities. Al Marder has received confirmation of a meeting hall in Guyumussu in the Conference Valley for Tuesday, June 4 (time TBA). The workshop is "Cities--Their Responsibility to a Culture of Peace."

  1. The following mayors will speak on "best practices" for their cities for FIVE minutes each: Lome, Togo; Yokohama, Japan; Volgograd, Russia,; Krusevac, Serbia; Marzabotto, Italy; New Haven, Connecticut, USA; Quito, Ecuador; Brighton, England. The entire workshop will be moderated by the Mayor of Geneva, Switzerland.
  1. They have requested assistance for interpreting from: English, Spanish, and French. They are inviting the International NGO Community.
  2. Open dialogue with the NGO community. NGO's should address the panel with further ideas on what cities, within their framework, can actually do and how to do it. There should be give and take in a friendly atmosphere since these mayors belong to an organization dedicated to peace between nations AND at home.

Habitat II on the Internet

If you have access to the World Wide Web, you can reach the Habitat II documents and direct links to all the other on-line resources by pointing your Web browser to the following URL (Uniform Resource Locator): http://www.undp.org/un/habitat

If you just have access to the Internet gopher, you can reach the gopher sites for Habitat II, via the United Nations Development Programme gopher, by typing "o" when using the gopher and selecting: gopher.undp.org/unconfs/habitat

The Peace Caucus information will be online at http://www.igc.apc.org/habitat/peacecaucus.

The Peace Caucus also has its own listserve that you could subscribe to by sending an email message to majordomo@igc.apc.org leaving the "subject" blank, and writing in the body of the text "subscribe peace-caucus your first name your last name" (without the quotes).

Please contact Pauline Cantwell at Peace Action (tel: 212-750-5795; fax:212-750-5849) or join us for weekly Caucus meetings on Thursday afternoons by the UN headquarters (check NGO/DPI Bulletin for time and place). Please help us update our mailing lists by providing E-mail addresses, fax numbers, or changes in addresses or phone numbers. In Istanbul we will be staying at the Hotel Byuk Londra Oteli; fax number 011 90 212 245 0671. They are holding a few rooms for those who wish to join us.

Mission Statement
The Work of the Peace Caucus for Habitat II at PrepCom III
Cities Nurturing a Culture of Peace