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UN releases major study on vital role of disarmament education in promoting peace

UN releases major study on vital role of disarmament education in promoting peace

Miguel Marín Bosch
Aiming to revitalize and update past efforts to promote disarmament education, the United Nations today released a major study urging action on the issue by a wide range of players on the international scene, from global groups to religious leaders.

"There has never been a greater need for education in the areas of disarmament and non-proliferation, especially with regard to weapons of mass destruction, but also in the field of small arms and international terrorism," states the report, which was prepared by a Group of Governmental Experts appointed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan. "The disarmament and non-proliferation education challenge is substantial and requires both immediate and sustained practical efforts by national governments, international organizations and civil society."

The report contains 34 recommendations for action by all of these groups, ranging from the creation of education modules, resource guides and online programmes, to the establishment of peace museums and peace parks.

The Chairman of the Expert Group, Mexico's Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Miguel Marín Bosch, told reporters today that the study would serve to heighten the UN's coordinating role in promoting disarmament education, and would prompt governments to designate focal points to galvanize the input of all players.

Illustrating the importance of bringing this type of education to the grass-roots, he said, "Just think of what a seven- or eight-year old knows about the environment, or a 15- or 20-year old - it's miles and miles away from what he knows or she knows on disarmament and nuclear weapons and small arms." The study's recommendations aim to reverse this trend, he added.