By Janet Sankale
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has reiterated his call for a global ceasefire and asked the world to halt all hostilities for 24 hours to commemorate the International Day of Peace.
“As a human family, we face a stark choice – peace or perpetual peril. We must choose peace,” he said in his message.
The United Nations head stated that this year the International Day of Peace, whose theme is, “Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world”, comes at a crisis point for humanity.
“Covid-19 has turned the world upside-down. Conflicts are spinning out of control. The climate emergency is worsening. Inequality and poverty are deepening, and mistrust and division are driving people apart at a time when solidarity and collaboration are needed more than ever.”
He further stated that by working in solidarity for a lasting, sustainable peace, which he described as “…not a naïve dream… a light in the darkness”, the world can tackle the problems facing it.
“We need peace to urgently deliver lifesaving vaccines and treatment for Covid-19. We need peace to recover from the pandemic and re-build shattered systems and shattered lives. We need peace to level the playing field and reduce inequalities… to heal our planet, build a green economy, and achieve our net-zero targets,” Guterres added.
Last February, the Secretary General’s appeal for global peace in the face of the rampaging pandemic and its devastating effects prompted the Security Council to unanimously pass a resolution in March calling for UN member states to support a “sustained humanitarian pause” to local conflicts.
“The global ceasefire must continue to be honoured, to ensure people caught in conflict have access to lifesaving vaccinations and treatments,” a message posted on the UN’s website to mark the day stated.
“In 2021, as we heal from the Covid-19 pandemic, we are inspired to think creatively and collectively about how to help everyone recover better, how to build resilience, and how to transform our world into one that is more equal, more just, equitable, inclusive, sustainable, and healthier,” it added.
The International Day of Peace, also recognised as World Peace Day, is observed globally on September 21 as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence and provides a moment for cessation of violence and conflict throughout the world.
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted resolution 36/67 of November 30, 1981, establishing the third Tuesday of September as the International Day of Peace. Later, in 2001, UNGA declared September 21, 2021, as the International Day of Peace.
The UN urged the world to celebrate peace by standing up against acts of hate online and offline, and by spreading compassion, kindness, and hope in the face of the pandemic.