Inter-American Center for Peace and Security (ICPS)

Viktor Sebek served as the Executive Director of the Advisory Committee on Protection of the Sea (ACOPS), set up by former British Prime Minister Lord Callaghan in 1952. He developed and coordinated policy aspects of global environmental projects in sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia, Central and South America and the Russian Federation. He also acted as an advisor to European local authorities in the 1980s and 1990s, and as a consultant to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the European Commission, and various UN agencies. In 1997, he organized the Conference on Ocean Security in the US Congress, and its sequel in Swedish Parliament in 1998, which were precursors to the Ocean Security Initiative (OSI), which was established in 2005. Dr. Sebek serves as the President and CEO, aiding the organization in its vision to further develop and promote the global concept of ocean security.




Abstract: The Cartagena based Inter-American Center for Peace and Security (ICPS) is a policy resource venue for exchange of ideas leading to Improvement of understanding and engagement of equals in the Americas  welfare, peace, security and opportunities for Americans. Create and further exchanges between the Americas and other regions of the world, with special emphasis on the South/South cooperation. ICPS created the Cartagena Dialogue as its main vehicle for these exchanges to strengthen peace and security throughout the Americas and in the Caribbean region by raising standards of living to include adequate nutrition, shelter, healthcare, career/livelihood development. Innovate, inspire and lead programs that deliver quantifiable improvements for targeted populations. Promote inter-American cooperation and exchange between businesses, governments, academics and students to drive sustainable economic development. Advance human relations and values through global exchanges of best practices and insights. Eradicate death and disability caused by land mines and abandoned munitions and fight other forms of conflicts and improve post-conflict situations. Bring awareness and effect change to the indigenous populations starting with preservation of land and natural resources. Respond in proactive and imaginative ways to issues of the day in the Latin American and Caribbean areas, bringing new players, investors and participants to programs and institutions.

Key Words: Security, Americas and Caribbean, Peace, Human Rights, Indigenous, Environmental, Inmigration, Food, Cooperation South-South.

Centro Inter-Americano para la Paz y la Seguridad

Resumen: El Centro Interamericano para la Paz y la Seguridad (CIPS) con sede en Cartagena es un recurso para la política regional, como un escenario válido para el intercambio de ideas enfocadas para mejorar el reconocimiento y la inclusión de los iguales en las Américas; elevar los niveles de bienestar, paz, seguridad y oportunidades para los Americanos; crear y promover intercambios entre las Américas y otras regiones del mundo, con especial énfasis en la cooperación Sur/Sur. El CIPS ha creado los Diálogos de Cartagena como su principal vehículo para tales intercambios, buscando fortalecer la paz y la seguridad en las Américas y la Región Caribe mediante el mejoramiento de los estándares de vida, incluyendo nutrición, vivienda, salud y oportunidades laborales. Promover la cooperación interamericana y los intercambios entre la empresa, el gobierno, la academia y los estudiantes, para lograr un desarrollo económico sostenible. Promover las relaciones humanas y los valores, mediante los intercambios globales de las mejores prácticas. Erradicar las muertes y las discapacidades causadas por las minas antipersonales y las armas abandonadas y combatir otras formas de conflicto y mejorar las condiciones post-conflicto. Crear conciencia y realizar cambios en las poblaciones indígenas, comenzando con la preservación de la tierra y los recursos naturales. Responder de manera proactiva e imaginativa a los acontecimientos diarios en las regiones Latinoamericana y el Caribe, atrayendo nuevos jugadores, inversionistas y participantes hacia los programas y las instituciones.

Palabras clave: Seguridad, Américas y el Caribe, paz, Derechos Humanos, Indígenas, Medioambiente, Comida, Cooperación Sur-Sur.

Inter-American Center for Peace and Security (ICPS)

The Cartagena based Inter-American Center for Peace and Security (ICPS) fills a gap in policy coordination and cooperation on peace, environmental issues, food, health, energy, immigration, security and cultural exchanges, combating drug trade and promoting good governance and human rights, including the rights of indigenous peoples in the Caribbean and Latin America.

This organization which partners with academia, Governments, both national and local, and also the civil society, is currently engaged in a number of projects throughout the world, but with emphasis on the Americas, including the Caribbean.

The current projects include the following:

Promoting understanding between cities and provinces in Colombia with other parts of the world:

ICPS believes that the twinning arrangements involving local authorities at the city or provincial level can lead to better understanding, improve cultural, economic and other ties between different parts of the world. ICPS has helped ensure twinning arrangements between the Department (Province) of San Andres archipelago of Colombia and the City of Braganza in the state of Para in northern Brazil, and also between San Andres and the province of Bohol in the Philippines. Efforts are also under way to twin San Andres province with a number of provinces in Africa, and also the City of Cartagena with cities in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe.

The twining arrangements will result in academic, commercial and cultural links and a visit form the local authority officials and parliamentarians form Belem in the State of Para in Brazil is planned for Cartagena before the end of the year.

South-South Cooperation

ICPS believes that south-south cooperation is an important vehicle of sharing information amongst nations of Asia, Africa and South America which have much in common in terms of social, economic and cultural development. For this reason, ICPS joined forces with the presidency of the Philippines and the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources of Kenya in an effort to exchange best practices in response to disaster mitigation and risk management. To this end, the three partners held a side event at the Rio plus 20 conference and concluded a memorandum of understanding which is enclosed here. The next stage of the process will take place at the 18th session of the contracting parties of the Climate Change Convention in Qatar in December 2013.

Promoting closer links between Wider Caribbean and Africa:

Three countries in the Americas boost the largest African diaspora which started centuries ago as a result of the slave routes from Africa to the Americas, These are the United States, Brazil and then Colombia. Apart from Cuba and Brazil, few Caribbean or South American countries have widespread diplomatic missions in Africa. Therefore, even though there is a huge curiosity of populations of the Americas to learn about the continent from which their ancestors came, there is precious little knowledge of Africa in the Americas, especially the Caribbean and South America. On the other hand, many people in Africa are not aware of the large number people of African origin in the Caribbean. For this reason, ICPS whose directors worked and lived in many parts of Africa, has joined  forces with the Province of San Andres and the City of Cartagena, as well as its contacts in South Africa, in an effort to forge  closer links between the two regions. This should spearhead a long term process which will be implemented through conferences held in the first year in San Andres and Cartagena (summer of 2013).

The project will have four focal areas:

  • Promoting cultural links, which is the heart of the project in the sense that links between the two regions are manifested in the strongest way through culture, especially music.
  • Promoting tourism and commercial links
  • Environmental challenges specially climate change, disaster mitigation and risk management and
  • Illegal trade in drugs and lessons learnt from peace processes in Africa and the Caribbean (especially Central America and Colombia).

The Governor of San Andres Province, her Secretary of Interior and Director of Culture of the City of Cartagena joined CIPS in initial discussion with the Presidency of Colombia and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss the initial stages of the project, and an agreement has been reached with allies in South Africa to have this country coordinate linkages in Africa, together with Kenyan Ministry of Environment on environmental  issues.

Allies in Colombia also include AMUNAFRO (Association of mayors of afro origin) and the University of Cartagena which hopes, as a result of this process, to open a chair in African and Afro studies. Indeed, academic exchanges will become one of the lynchpins of this program. A further ally is the world congress of mayors of African origins which will be held in Cali and Cartagena in the summer of 2013, back to back with this event.

This process is also expected to result in further increase of twining arrangements between African and Caribbean nations.

Sport and Culture as Tools to fight Juvenile Crime in Cartagena

In common with many other cities of developing world, including Colombia, the City of Cartagena is fighting problems of increasing absenteeism of young people from schools, the huge increase in the number of bands called “pandillas”, involvement of young people in drug trade or use, large number of underage mothers, and other similar phenomena. It is generally agreed that the root cause of this problem, in addition to the large number of displaced people (the largest in the Americas) is poverty and lack of infrastructure providing young people with an opportunity to express themselves in cultural or sport hobbies after school.

On the basis of ample experience of one of its lead partners, the Barcelona/Medellin/Washington DC organization entitled “Ideaborn”, which already carried out similar projects in Central America and in Africa, ICPS has promoted development of a programme to use culture and sport as tools to fight crime in the City of Cartagena. This large multidisciplinary project involves departments of interior, education, culture, sport, prisons, legal services and many others. The fundraising from external parties has already begun and the project is expected to start shortly, In parallel, similar projects are now being planned for Medellin and also for Makati, one of the conglomerate of cities which make up Metro Manila. ICPS has a particularly strong relationship with central Government and civil society in the Philippines, the only country in Asia with Hispanic cultural heritage.

Promoting Sustainable Tourism:

ICPS is aware that tourism, especially responsible, sustainable tourism, can contribute hugely towards better understanding amongst nations, especially as this economic activity has grown in to the world´s largest single industry. Cartagena de Indias is one of most attractive destinations in the Caribbean and the number of foreign tourists is constantly on the increase. ICPS was therefore pleased to join forces with Scripps Network (owners of Travel Cannel) to make a pilot video programme on Cartagena, with special emphasis on its history and musical diversity. The program is currently being edited in the United States in the hope that it will trigger a series of similar programs in other regions of Colombia and elsewhere in the Caribbean and South America.

Promoting National identity through music

ICPS is aware that fostering national identity and pride through deeper understanding of musical culture is an essential component of  education in South America. Most of the countries have very diverse musical culture and it is quite common for the population in one region to have no knowledge whatsoever of  music in  other regions. For this reason, CIPS started a project in 2911 bringing together talented young musicians from different parts of Colombia with a view to playing together music from the parts of the country they never visited and whose music they never played. Part of the project is educational and your musicians gave master classes to groups in Cartagena which ordinarily only play music of African origin. The project will continue.

This article was published on October 17th: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty in Global Education Magazine

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