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Planning for the International Day of Peace

August 16, 2012

By Laura Winninger, UNA-SNY intern

“I urge everyone, between now and 21 September, to think about how they can contribute. Let us work together to ensure that the road from Rio leads us to sustainable development, sustainable peace…and a secure future for all.”

With these words Secretary General Ban Ki-moon encouraged the global community to give thought to how global peace can be achieved, after international representatives had tried to agree on a framework for sustainable development in Rio de Janeiro. As these two aspects, development and global peace, are indeed increasingly intertwined, the celebration of the International Day of Peace, on September 21st, will particularly emphasize sustainability this year.

Following the Rio+20 Conference in June, “Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future” is the theme chosen for this year’s observance of the International Day of Peace, reminding people that there can be no sustainable future without a sustainable peace and that sustainable peace must be built on sustainable development.

One of the most striking examples for the peace–sustainability correlation is certainly the high number of conflicts caused or fuelled by valuable natural resources, such as diamonds, gold, oil, timber or water. Good natural resource management and sustainability play an important role in resolving these conflicts, building peace and, in the long run, in contributing to “The Future We Want”.

On the International Day of Peace individuals and communities should be inspired to celebrate achievements for peace that have been won throughout the year, and to renew their commitment to pursue the goals of a more peaceful and sustainable world all year long.

In order to implement these aims as well as to share ideas with likeminded people, numerous events are being organized.  They give people the opportunity to learn more about current projects as well as about how they can actively contribute to “global peace”.

Annually the Peace Bell, a Japanese present to the UN, is rung in the framework of a ceremony, including a speech of the Secretary-General and a statement from the President of the Security Council at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

The UNA Southern New York State Division is working with others to plan an event with UNA and with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Affairs.  Information will be posted soon on the UNA-SNY calendar:  http://www.unasouthernny.org/calendar.html

The non-profit ATOP Meaningful World, in collaboration with the Bronx Museum of the Arts, is organizing a celebration to honour especially young people who supported peace in local communities and act as role models for their fellow citizens.

Having these initiatives and many more around the world aimed at contributing to a peaceful and sustainable future, we should use the opportunity to join them. Millions of people are still afflicted with the scourge of war every day, so it is our duty to raise awareness and to endorse projects in order to build a solid basis for “The Future We Want”.

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