Promoting peace is one of the most crucial components of the effective achievement of the sustainable development goals as it translates to the reduction of poverty, the prevention of conflict, and subsequently ensures the development of tranquil and stable societies. This prompted the United Nations General Assembly, in 1981, to recognize its importance and strengthen the ideals of peace by designating the 21st of September as International Day of Peace. In 2001, the General Assembly unanimously voted to delegate the day as a 24-hour period of non-violence and cease-fire.
Moreover, this day provides an opportunity for governments, regional actors, governmental and nongovernmental organizations to promote kindness and compassion, as well as encourage unified efforts in working towards a more equal, just, inclusive and sustainable environment for all.
Within that framework, the theme of this year's celebration is "Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world,” coinciding with global efforts to recover from the disastrous effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Acknowledging the simple fact that the pandemic has disproportionately affected vulnerable and marginalized communities, increasing existing disparities, as well as the unequal distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, this day provides an opportunity to inspire creative, collective and innovative action to ensure sustainable recovery and the building of resilient communities.
Beyond honouring the cessation of hostilities, the effective commemoration of the International Day of Peace can be achieved through the provision of education and enhancing public awareness on issues related to peace, such as the lack of access to vital healthcare facilities for those caught in situations of conflict.
International Day of Peace is an invitation to all to promote and protect every individual's right to live in peace and security, particularly considering that fragility and conflict is one of the most damaging threats to society, hindering global efforts towards development.
The Geneva Institute for Human Rights affirms its commitment to ensuring a thriving culture of human rights globally, as evident with all the training programs/courses developed by the Institute with the aspiration of addressing the most pertinent human right challenges and accelerating progress towards the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Therefore, the Institute calls on all governments, international stakeholders and individuals to prioritize peace in all initiatives, and cooperate with states, as well as national and regional actors, to implement international conventions focused on the maintenance of peace and security.