The Ministry for Peace

 

The current goals of the mfp (www.ministryforpeace.org) are three-fold:

A. To work towards the establishment of a Ministry for Peace (or a Minister for Peace in the first instance) either in the executive body or in the parliamentary body. The primary role of the Ministry for Peace would be to bring the application of non-violent solutions to conflict situations to bear during the political process with respect to both foreign and home affairs.

B. To explore, in the current absence of a Ministry for Peace, aspects of the work a Ministry for Peace would perform when it is established.

C. To assist in the establishment of an international movement to establish Ministries or Departments of Peace in governments throughout the world

 

The current means of achieving goals A and B are two-fold:

1. The formation of an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG). The purposes of this group would be to:

       Provide interested MPs with a forum for discussing conflict situations and their non-violent solutions;

       Introduce MPs to experts on different aspects of the subject. The experts would present a short talk (around ten minutes) and the MPs would continue the meeting by pursuing the topic in whatever manner they considered appropriate;

       Explore current specific conflict situations in both foreign and home affairs;

       Inform MPs as appropriate with respect to what is being done both in society at large and in government departments with respect to avoidance of violence.

The establishment of the APPG on Conflict Resolution matters is now well advanced and it is anticipated that the first meeting will take place in February 2007.

2. The holding of a series of public meetings, usually in the House of Commons or at Portcullis House. The purpose of these meetings is to:

       Explore those topics which would be the domain of a Ministry for Peace, by means of inviting experts to impart their knowledge and views,

       Provide a forum for the general public to become acquainted with the goals and work of the mfp and to participate in discussions,

       To provide relevant presentations and discussions in a location which is easily accessible to interested MPs.

These meetings have ben taking place regularly. Future meetings are on February 21, March 21, April 25, May 23, June 20 and July 11. See the end of this article for details of the next meeting.

 

The means of achieving goal C is:

Working with the American-based organisation called Peace Alliance which has this goal.

 

The Peace Alliance (www.thepeacealliance.org )

Two years ago an international conference was held to promote the establishment of Ministries and Departments of Peace worldwide. 11 countries were represented including the US, Japan, Canada and Australia. It was decided to hold a conference every year, in different parts of the world. The second was held in 2006 in Vancouver and was a big success. The international movement is called the Peace Alliance.

There are 23 countries represented in the global alliance. Thirteen of these have active campaigns including UK, US, Australia, Canada, India, Japan, Italy, Congo, Costa Rica, Nepal, Republic of the Philippines, Soloman Islands, Uganda. The others have people exploring the possibilities.

 

America

The Campaign to create a US Department of Peace was launched in early 2003 although a Bill to create a DoP was first introduced to the House of Representatives five years ago. Today there are 77 cosponsors (75 in the House and 2 in the Senate) with a full time staff. They have a dedicated leadership team, and committed workers organizing, educating and lobbying in 435 congressional districts in all 50 States. They have completed 8 regional conferences around the country and have exposure through radio, television and newspaper articles and have letters to the editor on a daily basis. 16 city councils, representing a collective population of 3.75 million, have passed resolutions in support of the legislation.

Jim McClusky

 

Ministry for Peace meeting

The next meeting, hosted by Elfyn Llwyd MP, will be on Wednesday, 21st February from 7 - 9 pm in the Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House, SW1. (Portcullis House is above Westminster tube station. Turn left out of the station, and left again at the corner onto the Embankment. Use first entrance with revolving doors) :
"What lessons can be learned from British NGO's working to transform violent conflicts?"
Speakers:
Carolyn Hayman, Chief Executive, Peace Direct*
Andy Carl, Executive Director, Conciliation Resources*
Claire Hickson, Head of Advocacy and Communications, Saferworld*
* Peace Direct, Conciliation Resources and Saferworld are all members of the NGO Peace and Security Liaison Group
RSVP diana.basterfield@ministryforpeace.org