Resolution on: Peace Education - No Arms Expenditure - Books Not Bombs

published 17 September 2019 updated 17 September 2019

The 8th World Congress of Education International (EI), meeting in Bangkok, from 21 to 26 July 2019, notes that:

(1) Worldwide, more than 1.7 trillion US dollars were spent on armaments and the military in 2017. This corresponds to 2.2 % of the global gross domestic product (GDP) or USD 230 per capita of the world's population. Internationally, trade in heavy weapons has increased. All nine nuclear powers are expanding or improving their arsenals. New types of weapons such as hypersonic missiles, heavy long-range drones, cyber-weapons or autonomous combat systems are being developed or are already in use - there is no functioning arms control system anywhere.

(2) At the same time, we are observing an increase in violence in many regions of the world, which deprives many people of their security. The number of displaced persons and refugees, over 65 million people, has reached the highest levels since the end of the Second World War. The number and complexity of armed conflicts is increasing. This is reflected in an internationalisation of originally internal conflicts as well as threats posed by irregular armed groups.

(3) Making the world a safer place will not require increased spending on more and more modern weapons, but a new international disarmament initiative and control of arms exports. The financial resources released must be used to accelerate the achievement of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals and to enable massive investment in education and social security systems. Multilateral institutions such as the United Nations and their subsidiary organs must be strengthened politically and provided with sufficient resources to fulfill their peacekeeping and peace building tasks.

(4) The mission/core assignment of education should be to study the world based on the question: How can we live together in a common world? Each curriculum must take shape from that core assignment, in order to be able to contribute to a peaceful society.

(5) The 8th EI World Congress, therefore,

(i) recalls the 2009 Education International declaration ‘Schools Shall Be Safe Sanctuaries’, which condemns violent attacks on schools and educational institutions and calls for the protection of teachers, pupils, scientists, students and other education workers;

(ii) encourages all affiliates to support the Safe Schools Declaration and campaign for governments to sign and fully implement the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict, working in partnership with other affiliates and civil society whenever possible;

(iii) underlines the demands of the resolution on ‘Education, Peace and Justice in Conflict Areas’ from the EI World Congress in Ottawa 2015 to promote conflict resolution and education for peace and justice;

(iv) reaffirms the resolution on the ‘Promotion and Protection of Standards and Values in the World’ from the EI World Congress in Ottawa, 2015. It emphasizes that quality education based on values can make invaluable contributions and that the bulk of the work to build tolerance and peace will take place in the classroom;

(v) underlines the importance of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 16 to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development;

(vi) reaffirms the protection rights enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and condemns the use of minors as soldiers;

(vii) welcomes the United Nations Treaty of 2017 to ban the development, production, testing, acquisition, stockpiling, transport, stationing and use of nuclear weapons and calls on all states to accede to it;

(viii) opposes the recruitment of young people for armed forces by National Defence or Army personnel within the school premises. Teachers and other education personnel must be given the formal authority to refuse the recruiters access to the school grounds.

(ix) opposes all publicly funded research directed at further developing weapons of all kinds, and, calls instead, for the expansion of peace and conflict resolution research and related teaching;

(x) opposes unconstrained military spending and the expansion of the military industrial complex;

(xi) underlines that building tolerance and peace is an assignment for the entire society. Governments must do everything that lies in their power to support schools in this so that ways can be found to realise the important role schools have to play.