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Saturday, May 18, 2024

International Day of Peace is September 21

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The General Assembly of the United Nations was established in 1945. It provides a forum for the 193 Member States to hold multilateral discussions of international issues including world peace and security. In 1981, the General Assembly designated September 21 as an International Day of Peace.

In 2001, the UN General Assembly voted unanimously that the day should be commemorated as a period of nonviolence and cease fires of any military activity. I could not find the actual resolution in the UN Library website in order to determine if the resolution were passed before or after the devastating attack on the World Trade Towers in New York on Sept. 11 that year. It is far easier to vote to commemorate the concept of peace than to cause peace to happen.

In 2015 all the UN Member States voted to adopt 17 Sustainable Development Goals that were to be the building blocks for peace. They were designed to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives of everyone living on planet Earth. It was hoped that the goals could be achieved by 2030 and that the achievement of these goals would help insure world peace.

The goals are:

  1. End Poverty in all its forms everywhere.
  2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
  3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all.
  4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
  5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
  6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
  7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
  8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
  9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
  10. Reduce inequality within and among countries.
  11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
  12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
  13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
  14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
  15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
  16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
  17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global Partnership for Sustainable Development.

A report is issued each year on the progress being made to achieve these goals.

The authors of the 2023 report cited the climate crisis, the war in Ukraine, a weak global economy and the lingering effects of the COVID 19 pandemic as significant obstacles to achieving the goals by 2030.

Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations has said, “Unless we act now, the 2030 Agenda will become an epitaph for a world that might have been.”

Some say that peace can be found through strength. Others say that peace can be found through justice. I’m hopeful all people agree that peace is a worthwhile goal.

I was taught the United Nations was formed to promote world peace and prevent wars. But I never learned about the actions of the UN or that September 21 was designated as International Day of Peace. I found the 2023 report to be interesting.

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Sue Jelinek
Sue Jelinek
Sue Jelinek welcomes story ideas from ship to shore. Contact her at jelinst@sbcglobal.net.
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