Global Action to Prevent War - Australia

The Global Action to Prevent War (GAPW) program is a comprehensive set of political, military and social processes that aims to build a global coalition to stop war, genocide and internal armed conflict.

GAPW calls for the establishment of a United Nations system capable of preventing war, genocide and other deadly conflict. It also calls for the mobilisation of an international consortium of civil society organisations to support this objective.

In Australia, Professor Joseph Camilleri, Centre for International Relations, LaTrobe University and Emeritus Professor Stuart Rees, Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, are the conveners for the Australian Chapter of the GAPW network.

Proposed working group for the GAPW Australia project

Professor Joseph Camilleri, Centre for International Relations, LaTrobe University (Vic)
Professor Stuart Rees, Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney (NSW)

  • Ms Joan Anderson, Public Information Officer, Soka Gakkai International (Japan)
  • Ms Bronwyn Armytage, Intern, Department of and Conflict Studies (NSW)
  • Ms Lynda-ann Blanchard, Chair NSW Human Rights Education Committee (NSW)
  • Mr Juan Carlos Brandt, Director, United Nation Information Centre (Asia-Pacific Region)
  • Rev Elenie Poulos, National Director, Uniting Social Justice Australia (NSW)
  • Dr Stella Cornelius, Director Conflict Resolution Network (NSW)
  • Dr Gillian Deakin, Vice-President, Medical Association for the Prevention of War (NSW)
  • Ms Giji Gya, Executive Officer, Medical Association for the Prevention of War (Vic)
  • A/Professor Chris Hamer, Australian Registrar for the World Citizens Registry (NSW)
  • Professor Jim Ife, Director, Centre for Human Rights Education, (WA)
  • Ms Samantha Lee, Chair of the National Coalition for Gun Control (NSW)
  • Dr Ken Macnab, President, Department of Peace and Conflict Studies (NSW)
  • Mr Adam Maine, Intern, Department of Peace and Conflict Studies (NSW)
  • Dr Tim Marchant, Conflict Resolution Desk, DPACS (NSW)
    Father Claude Mostowik, Pax Christi; Sydney Peace and Justice Coalition; Walk Against War Coalition
  • Professor Mary O'Kane, Director, Colombo Plan (NSW)
    Ms Annie Petitt, Policy Officer, Public Interest Advocacy Centre (NSW)
  • Professor Margaret Reynolds, President, United Nations Association Australia (Tas)
  • Ms Janelle Saffin, International Commission of Jurists (ACT)
    Joanna Santa Barbara, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (Canada)
  • Jack Santa Barbara, Associate, Centre for Peace Studies, McMaster University (Canada)
  • Mr Bret Solomon, Amnesty International (Australia)
  • Ms Chaikhin Soon, Soka Gakkai International Australia (NSW)
  • Ms Rosalind Strong, Vice-President UNIFEM Australia (NSW)
  • Dr Sue Wareham, President, Medical Association for the Prevention of War (ACT)
  • Mr Roger Wescombe, Legal Officer, NSW Attorney Generals Department (NSW)
  • Ms Iris Wielders, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney (NSW)
  • Mr Hans van der Bent, Director, Soka Gakkai Australia (NSW)
  • return to top

GAPW –Australia workshops

In December 2003, the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies organised an inaugural meeting to initiate dialogue about the Global Action to Prevent War program in Australia. Minutes of this meeting can be downloaded here.

In March 2004, the Australian Global Action to Prevent War organised a second workshop with the theme Action for Human Rights with Margaret Reynolds, the National President of the United Nations Association of Australia. The document she circulated at this meeting can be found here. The minutes of the meeting can be downloaded here.

return to top

GAPW – Priorities for Australia

  • A comprehensive programme of measures (mainly non-military) for the prevention and resolution of armed conflict, that includes systematic development of the conflict reduction capabilities of multilateral organizations. This strand aims to reduce internal conflict of all kinds;
  • A phased program of global disarmament, conventional and nuclear, accompanied by deliberate augmentation of the peacekeeping capabilities of international organizations. The objectives here are to reduce the possibility of interstate war and genocide and gradually to shift the responsibility for international security to multilateral peacekeeping and legal institutions;
  • Continuing growth of the culture of peace.
    It is envisaged that such a programme would be implemented over the next three to four decades, with the disarmament process divided into four phases of five to ten years each.

The concept has been developed over the last six years through extensive consultation and redrafting, involving a large number of advocates and experts. Key figures in the development of project in the United States have been:

  • Former Ambassador Jonathan Dean, now with the Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Dr. Randall C. Forsberg, Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies
  • Dr. Saul Mendlovitz, Dag Hammarskjøld Professor of International law, Rutgers Law School, and Co-Director, World Order Models Project
  • Dr. John Burroughs, Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy.
    GAPW has established a broadly based international Steering Committee and a US National Committee, and is in the process of developing several other national chapters.
  • Details of the programme may be found at

return to top

GAPW in Australia

GAPW offers a large number of individuals and organisations in Australia with a strong interest in issues of demilitarization, disarmament, peacebuilding, conflict resolution, and peacekeeping:

  • an opportunity to link their activities to a programme for the global elimination of large-scale organised violence
  • a greater capacity to network within Australia and internationally
  • an intellectually credible platform from which to advocate far-reaching changes in Australian government policy and practice

What might be key priorities in getting GAPW off the ground in Australia?

In the light of Australia’s current situation, a strong case can be made for GAPW initiatives in the areas of disarmament, conflict resolution, peacebuilding, crisis prevention and peacekeeping, Equally, initiatives are needed to strengthen the international rule of law, democratic governance (nationally and internationally), and multilateral institutions, all of which can help to settle disputes peacefully and eliminate the causes of armed conflict.

More specifically, GAPW in Australia should address the following issues:

  • developing a coherent Australian programme aimed at the long-term elimination of weapons of mass destruction – it would have three prongs:

    • unilateral initiatives (terminating all security links with the United states which directly and indirectly support its nuclear weapons arsenal)
    • advocacy in bilateral relations and in major international forums, in collaboration with like-minded countries, for the phased reductions of all WMD capabilities
    • joint initiatives with Asian and Pacific neighbours
  • strengthening the UN’s security role (including reform of UN Security Council, more effective peacekeeping, peacebuilding and crisis prevention arrangements, and a sounder financial base for the world body and its various agencies) and devising appropriate forms of Australian support and involvement (including the development of appropriate skills in the armed services, the police force, the civilian bureaucracy, and relevant professions and NGOs)
  • enhancing Australia's support for stronger global and regional mechanisms for the enactment and maintenance of international law by the international community, leading towards an eventual system of democratic world governance
  • ensuring strong diplomatic, financial and organizational support by Australia for the International Criminal Court (and lobbying for greater support by Asian governments, including signing and ratification of Rome Treaty)
  • detailed scrutiny of Australia’s defence policies, capabilities and planned purchases to see how they could be brought into line with the main benchmarks of the GAPW programme (perhaps some modelling indicating the economic and social costs of war, and of Australia’s military expenditure)
  • support for an enhanced regional (Southeast Asian and Pacific) capability for peacekeeping, crisis prevention and post-conflict reconstruction that is tailored to the needs, aspirations, and cultural sensitivities of these societies, and is in accordance with UN norms and authority
  • research and education highlighting the ‘civilianization’ of war.

What might be GAPW’s contribution to this rather large agenda:

  • Public advocacy (including representations/submissions to political parties, more effective interventions in media, circulation of GAPW Charter inviting the endorsement of political [MPs], religious and other community leaders)
  • Research (adapting GAPW proposals to Australia’s specific circumstances
  • Education (injecting the GAPW agenda into schools and other educational institutions)
  • Networking (establishing more effective liaison nationally and internationally)
  • return to top

GAPW Working Paper

This working paper aims to initiate dialogue about GAPW in an Australian context. It provides an overview of the Global Action to Prevent War project, highlighting its bases in the language of non-violence, engagement of the UN and collaboration with civil society. This paper attempts to tease out starting points for discussion in this regard. Specific analyses of notions of peacemaking, peacebuilding and peacekeeping; and the role of regional security and civil society organisations form the detailed discussion of this working paper. Since the Canberra Commission report was released, just as the current government was taking office, there has been little public voice on disarmament issues in Australia. Regional neighbours however - from Thailand to Japan - are sustaining a public voice. This working paper reviews Australia's past commitment to global non-violence and concludes that initiating a dialogue around Global Action to Prevent War may re-ignite past enthusiasm.

An earlier draft of this working paper formed the basis for discussion during the inaugural Global Action to Prevent War – Australia meeting on 4 December 2003, at the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies.

DPACS Working Paper No. 04/1, Lynda-ann Blanchard, Joining the GAP: Australia and the Dialogue on Global Action to Prevent War.

The UN GA Resolution 57 337 on the Prevention of Armed Conflict

For more information on the Global Action to Prevent War, please have a look at the international GAPW website.

return to top

International Correspondence

Response from Australian civil society groups, including the representatives of Global Action to Prevent War, to the March 2005 report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, ‘In larger freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all’.

Letter to GAPW International, December 2003

return to top