[UN-NGO] The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly to coincide with its opening session. It was observed for the first time in 1982. In 2001, September 21 was adopted by the United Nations for its annual observance. All nations and peoples are urged to honor a cessation of hostilities on that day and to devote the day to strengthening the ideals of peace and non-violence both within and among nations.
The theme for this year’s celebration is: Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future, emphasizing the link between peace and development. World leaders made a commitment to sustainable development at the Rio + 20 Conference in Brazil but we know that there is no lasting development without peace. Acknowledging that the root causes of many conflicts are often directly or indirectly related to natural resources such as water, minerals and forests, good natural resource management plays a central role in building and maintaining peace and provide the context in which people can make concrete plans and take action for a sustainable future.
Since its establishment in 1945, ‘we the peoples of the United Nations’ have vowed “to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours and to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security.” The Charter of the United Nations, in the first article of the first chapter, states its first purpose as: to maintain international peace and security and to that end to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace…” Since that time, numerous initiatives have emerged that are committed to building bridges and networks of cooperation to protect and strengthen existing peace and to restoring peace wherever it has been shattered, whether in a neighborhood, a city, a nation or between nations.
Pope John XXIII’s encyclical, Pacem in Terris, reminds us of the part each of us has to play in building and maintaining peace. We are invited to join our contributions to making the world a more peaceful place to those of people all over the planet. On September 21, throughout the world, people will mark this International Day of Peace with a moment of silence, a” Pause for Peace” and a sign of unity within the global family. Will you join with people in your geographic area and across the world?
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