In the current time of mistrust and violence, with previously harmonious neighbours warring, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is urging all people to reach out to one another as friends and build long-term foundations for lasting peace.
Marking the International Day of Friendship, Mr. Ban noted that whatever the cause or however powerful the animosity, the human spirit must prevail.
“Let us remember the ties that bind us together, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or borders,” he said in his message for the Day. “Let us cultivate solidarity as a single human family on our one and only planet. “
In May 2011, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted the resolution designating 30 July as International Day of Friendship, in recognition of friendship’s potential to contribute to the efforts of the world community to promote dialogue among civilizations, solidarity, mutual understanding and reconciliation.
The resolution invites all Member States, bodies of the UN system and other international and regional organizations, as well as civil society, to observe the Day in accordance with the culture and other appropriate circumstances or customs of their local, national and regional communities, including through education and public awareness-raising activities.
The concept of friendship is one of the founding principles of the UN family. The UN Charter proclaims that one of the purposes of the Organization is “to develop friendly relations among nations,” words that also appear in the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The constitution of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) also stresses the need for peace based not only on the political and economic arrangements of Governments, but on the “intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind.”
This year’s message includes a nod to Mr. Ban’s environmental priority, ahead of a climate summit he is due to host in September. He is inviting Heads of State and Government along with private sector and civil society leaders to showcase initiatives and forge alliances that can help launch a sustainable future.
The summit aims to generate ambitious action on the ground and raise momentum for a new climate treaty in 2015, which is expected to be adopted at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting next year in Paris.