Celebrating the 40th anniversary of John Lennon and Yoko Ono recording the anti-war anthem Give Peace a Chance with the Plastic Ono Band, the United Nations announced today that the proceeds from the release of a commemorative single will garner funds for its peacebuilding efforts in countries emerging from conflict.
Yoko Ono – the former Beatle’s wife and artistic collaborator – along with his sons, Sean and Julian Lennon have partnered with music industry giants, EMI and Sony, to give the net profits from the sale of the song to the UN Peacebuilding Fund (PBF).
The special anniversary edition digital single will be available to download from iTunes through the end of the year.
“I am delighted to see that a song so closely identified with the pursuit of peace, will shine a light on the United Nations’ peacebuilding efforts and financially support PBF projects,” said UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) Chairperson Ambassador Heraldo Muñoz of Chile.
The song was written in 1969 during the late Mr. Lennon’s and Ms. Ono’s famous week-long “bed-in” protest against the Viet Nam War, in which they lay on their honeymoon bed and courted the world’s media at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel.
Profits from the song – sung by over 500,000 people at the anti-Viet Nam War demonstration later that year in Washington, DC – will benefit the PBC, which was established in 2005 to bolster countries in their bid to rebuild after conflict, reconcile divisions and prevent them from relapsing into bloodshed.
Mr. Muñoz told reporters in New York that the Peacebuilding Fund paid for projects in countries emerging from conflict, so as to show people a quick peace dividend, as opposed to larger, development-oriented projects.
He thanked Member States, including middle-income countries, which had contributed well over $300 million to the Fund, but stressed that, for the mechanism to be truly effective, other sources of money were needed.
“We want private individuals, philanthropists to assist in this effort that belongs to all of us,” said Mr. Muñoz. “Yoko Ono has been a fundamental moving force in allowing this gift to the United Nations peacebuilding effort, and I thank her personally for what she has done.”
So far, the Fund has provided financial help for the countries on the Commission’s agenda – Sierra Leone, Burundi, Central African Republic (CAR) and Guinea-Bissau – as well as some 14 other countries that were emerging from conflict.