Starting the 100 day countdown to the International Day of Peace, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on people around the world to consider how they can help build a ‘sustainable peace for a sustainable future.’
“If we are to build such a future, we must all play our individual part – I urge everyone, between now and 21 September, to think about how they can contribute,” Mr. Ban said in a message to mark the countdown.
The General Assembly first established the International Day of Peace in 1982, eventually settling on 21 September as an annual day of non-violence and cease-fire, devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.
The theme of this year’s observance is ‘Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future.’
“It highlights the fact that we cannot possibly think about building a sustainable future if there is no sustainable peace,” Mr. Ban said in his message. “Armed conflicts attack the very pillars of sustainable development, robbing people of the opportunity to develop, to create jobs, to safeguard the environment, to fight poverty, to reduce the risk from disasters, to advance social equity and to ensure that everyone has enough to eat.”
The UN chief noted that the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), which opens in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, next week, is an opportunity for the world to “fight back.”
“With tens of thousands of politicians, policy-makers, social activists, business leaders and others mobilized for action, Rio+20 can help us to create a global roadmap for a sustainable future, the future we want,” Mr. Ban said.
“We want a future where natural resources are protected and valued rather than used to finance wars, where children can be educated at school and not recruited into armies, where economic and social inequalities are resolved through dialogue instead of violence,” he added.
More than 100 world leaders, along with thousands of parliamentarians, mayors, UN officials, Chief Executive Officers and civil society leaders will come together at Rio+20, from 20-22 June, seeking to renew commitments to find solutions to the world’s most pressing social, economic and environmental challenges, including access to water and sanitation.
“Let us work together to ensure that the Road from Rio leads us to sustainable development, sustainable peace – and a secure future for all,” Mr. Ban said.