Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on September 21 which is also the opening session of the UN General Assembly. The General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. The first official observance of the day was in September 1982.
At the United Nations the day is marked with a special message by the secretary-general, who then rings the Japanese Peace Bell and invites people throughout the world to reflect on the meaning of peace.
“Let us all work together to help all human beings achieve dignity and equality; to build a greener planet; and to make sure no one is left behind.” — UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, 2016
The Day’s theme for 2016 is “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace.”
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals were unanimously adopted by the 193 Member States of the United Nations at an historic summit of the world’s leaders in New York in September 2015. The new ambitious 2030 agenda calls on countries to begin efforts to achieve these goals over the next 15 years. It aims to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.
“The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are our shared vision of humanity and a social contract between the world’s leaders and the people,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “They are a to-do list for people and planet, and a blueprint for success.”
Sustainability addresses the fundamental needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Modern challenges of poverty, hunger, diminishing natural resources, water scarcity, social inequality, environmental degradation, diseases, corruption, racism and xenophobia, among others, pose challenges for peace and create fertile grounds for conflict. Sustainable development contributes decisively to dissipation and elimination of these causes of conflict and provides the foundation for a lasting peace. Peace, meanwhile, reinforces the conditions for sustainable development and liberates the resources needed for societies to develop and prosper.