The Work of the Peace Caucus for Habitat II at Prepcom III

By Jane Milliken and Pauline Cantwell

PrepCom III, New York City, February 5th-16th

Peace is not first and foremost on the minds of delegates of HABITAT II; but, when approached, delegates of caucuses instantly recognize and support the need to reduce military spending and production for the creation of sustainable habitats as well as the need to ban landmines, denuclearize, reduce arms trafficking, and support economic conversion and non-violent conflict resolution. The impending landmine conference in Geneva gave particular political urgency and specificity to our work.

Getting the issues into the fabric of the Global Plan was the challenge of the Peace Caucus. We did this by proposing new language for the documents and by lobbying delegates from the Holy See and countries (particularly the U.S. and Canada) and other caucuses such as Human Rights, Rights of the Child, Resources, Sustainable Development, Women, Values, Youth, and Human Settlements to get these proposals on the document. This was a major educational effort, and we think we succeeded in expanding recognition of these points.

Our other effort was educational/networking: we staged a "Landmine Awareness Day," presented six seminars and organized an event to celebrate the end of French nuclear testing in the Pacific and to honor Australia's Ambassador Butler. Our forums included:

"The Legacy of Landmines" - David Bassiouni - Sr. Policy Advisor Office of Emergency Programs, UNICEF; Tori Skedsmo - Chief of Demining Efforts, UN Peace-Keeping Operations; Lenore Newman - ECAAR (Economists Allied for Arms Reduction)

Four Co-Sponsored with the Resources Caucus:

"Redefining Security" - Kevin Cassidy - Editor, Real Security: Converting the Military Economy and Building Peace; Cora Weiss - International Rep Peace Action and Vice Pres. Peace Bureau International; Michael O'Callaghan -Global Vision Video on Sustainability; Bob Schwartz - Economist and Founder of ECAAR; Jane Milliken - Peace Action

"Security for All--Weapons for None" - William Hartung - Author, And Weapons for All; Saskia Sassen - Author, The Global Cities in the World Economy; Nicky Nzioki - African Caucus; Shirley Chesney - Peace Action; John Maskell - Campaign for the Earth and Co-Convenor of Resources Caucus

"Financing Sustainable Development" - Michael Cohn, World Bank

"Reexamining Global Power Bases for NGOs" - Larry Gell - World Safety Organization and International Agency for Economic Development; Anne Zanes - Peace Links; John Maskell - Campaign for the Earth and Co-Convenor of Resources Caucus

One Co-Sponsored with the Values Caucus:

"Values in the Context of the Universe Story"

In addition to sponsoring our own panel discussions, Shirley Chesney of Peace Action did a marvelous presentation on behalf of the Peace Caucus on a panel discussion on "Peaceful Cities" sponsored by the Human Settlements Caucus.

The success of the HABITAT II Conference really lies in the exchange of practical ideas for building sustainable development; and we must, I believe, humbly realize that we are in the background of these issues. Its uniqueness is the emphasis on best practices: 125 successful habitats which can inspire change. We should try to focus on the best practice models to make our links. And we should introduce our agenda at the Town Meetings being held around the country prior to Istanbul. It behooves us to learn, understand and network with these people and these issues and not try to compete for excessive attention. One step we have taken to connect to other people and groups is through our listserve. This is an open list that you can join by sending an email message to leaving the "subject" blank and writing in the body of the text "subscribe peace-caucus your first name your last name" (without quotes). Our role at the conference, and during the time leading up to it needs to be discussed and clarified. I believe that we have advanced the quiet recognition of Peace so far and established the bottom line:


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