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mayor zaragoza 03 crProf. Federico Mayor
President of the Foundation for a Culture of Peace, Autonomous University of Madrid
Former Director General of UNESCO
Madrid, Spain

 

“Every human being able to create, our hope”

Humanity should be guided by “democratic principles” as enshrined in the UNESCO’s Constitution... in order to “save the succeeding generations from the scourge of war”, as decided by “We, the people...” (first phrase of the UN Charter).

Progressively, the aid to development (which should be integral, endogenous, sustainable and human) was substituted by loans, cooperation by exploitation, the ethical values by market laws and the United Nations System by plutocratic groups (G-7, G-8...G-20).  The World Bank for Reconstruction and Development lost his “name” and the World Trade Organization was founded directly out of the UN System...

The result of all of these neoliberal measures is that the markets had the driving force of world governance instead of the social and political guidelines.

The present situation is extremely complex and needs immediate action, because points of no return can be reached before long if the present trends are not redressed.  At planetary scale, with a complete lack of multilateral democratic governance, the social inequalities, the environment, fanaticism and military actions -as the invasion of Iraq in 2003 without the consent of the Security Council- require immediate measures in order to build up the “new beginning”, as proclaimed in the Earth Charter (2000).

Now more than ever it is necessary to regain the ethical values that were replaced by commercial values.  A “welfare society” is now restricted to 20% of human beings, while the 80% of them, in a successive gradient of basic needs deprivation, live in extreme poverty and thousands die every day of hunger at the same time that 3 billion dollars are invested in military expenditures and armament.

The transition from an economy based on speculation, productive delocalization and war to a knowledge-based economy for global sustainable and human development, is at present more urgent than ever in the past before points of no return are reached.

The transition from a culture of imposition, domination, violence and war to a culture of encounter, dialogue, conciliation, alliance and peace, can now take place because for the first time in history the human beings can express themselves freely and know what happens worldwide.  Even more important is that women -the cornerstone of the new era according to President Mandela- increase their decision-making capacity, with their inherent values, at a rhythm unbelievable two decades ago.

Yes, now the transition from force to word that would be the historical shift of human civilization, can be a reality if processes potentially irreversible are avoided in order not to deprive the future generations from their rights to a dignified life. Immediate action must therefore be decided in three main issues:  extreme poverty and the resulting migration fluxes; environment; nuclear threat and terror.

To this end, to urgently convene an Extraordinary Session of the UN General Assembly to deal with the above mentioned subjects could be the only solution to enlighten the somber present horizons.

In the same session a “road map” for the refoundation of a multilateral truly democratic System (“new UN”) could be the first step for radical changes leading to “the other possible world in which we dream”.

World security -in social and peaceful living terms- would be the main concern, with a reduction in military expenditures and the elimination of the nuclear threat.

Disarmament for development: it is at present a completely ill approach to devote billions of dollars to high military technology with giant benefits for a very restricted number of persons/institutions (Oxfam has recently stated that 85 persons have a greater wealth than the half of humanity, 3.3 billion of people... while most of the peoples live -and die- in inhuman conditions!).

With a renewed multilateral system, the main priorities of the UN (food, water, health, environmental care, education and peace) could be implemented worldwide.
Research and innovation for development should be strengthened. As Professor Krebs said, progress depends on thinking what nobody has thought until now.

“Positive” society is one that becomes no spectator anymore but actor, no silent but voice-raising, no obedient subject but full citizen. Citizens “free and responsible”, acting according their own reflections.  Actors of a “Positive” society are those that take in their hands the reins of the common destiny.

In article 11th of the present draft of the “Universal Declaration on Democracy” that refers to ethical, social, political, economical, cultural and international aspects, it is said that “all dimensions and aspects of economic democracy are subordinated to social justice”.  These are the pillars of “economic peace”, an economy oriented to the benefit of all human beings and not only to some immensely powerful “investors”.

All human beings equal in dignity.  All able to create.  All able to invent the future, to overcome what is impossible today and make it possible tomorrow.

 

Federico Mayor's professional experience

Prof. Federico Mayor Zaragoza was born in Barcelona in 1934. He holds a Ph.D. in Pharmacy from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (1958). In 1974, he was co-founder of the Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (High Council for Scientific Research, or CSIC). Among his other political responsibilities, Professor Mayor has been Undersecretary of Education and Science for the Spanish Government (1974-75), Member of the Spanish Parliament (1977-78), Adviser to the Prime Minister (1977-78), Minister of Education and Science (1981-82) and Member of the European Parliament (1987). In 1978, he became Assistant Director-General of the UNESCO. In 1987, he was elected Director-General of that Organization, and was reelected for a second term in 1993. In 1999, he decided not to run for a third term and, upon returning to Spain, created the Fundación Cultura de Paz, of which he is Chairman.

During the twelve years he spent as head of UNESCO (1987-1999), Professor Mayor Zaragoza gave new momentum to the Organization's mission, "to build the bastions of peace in the minds of men". It became an institution at the service of peace, tolerance, human rights and peaceful coexistence, by working within its areas of authority and remaining faithful to its original mission. Following Professor Mayor's guidelines, UNESCO created the Culture of Peace Program, whose work falls into four main categories: education for peace, human rights and democracy, the fight against exclusion and poverty, the defense of cultural pluralism and cross-cultural dialogue, and conflict prevention and the consolidation of peace.

 

 

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