Announcement of the Office of the Commissioner for Volunteerism and NGOs for the International Peace Day
International Peace Day has been celebrated every September since 1981. The United Nations (UN) has chosen this month to coincide with the Organization's Annual General Meeting. Since 2001 it is celebrated on a fixed date and specifically on September 21. As the Day is dedicated to strengthening the ideals of peace, the UN calls on all states to cease fire and avoid violence within 24 hours.
This year, it has become clearer than ever that we are not enemies. On the contrary, our common enemy is a tireless virus that threatens our health, our safety and our way of life. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused turmoil around the world, reminding us that something happening in one part of the world can affect us all.
In March, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on those at war to lay down their arms and focus on the fight against the unprecedented global pandemic. While the message referred to war situations, it is an indisputable fact that cross-border solidarity and cooperation between sectors and generations is needed to win the fight against the greatest public health crisis of our time.
For the United Nations, 2020 was already a year of listening and learning. To celebrate its 75th anniversary, the United Nations has invited millions of people around the world to join UN75 (https://un75.online/), the world's largest debate on building a peaceful and hopeful future.
In these difficult times of distancing, this year's International Peace Day is dedicated to dialogue and brainstorming. People are called to unite and share their thoughts on dealing with the pandemic and changing the world for the better. According to Mr Guterres: "Everything we do during and after this crisis must focus on building fairer and more sustainable economies, but also societies that are more resilient to pandemics, climate change and many more challenges facing the world".
The theme for International Peace Day 2020 "Building Peace Together" aims to spread compassion, kindness and hope in the midst of COVID-19. In this way, the United Nations seeks to quell the use of the pandemic as an excuse to promote discrimination and hatred.
As the Office of the Commissioner for Volunteerism and Non-Governmental Organizations, we fully share the urging of the United Nations. We congratulate Civil Society and the Non-Governmental Organizations in general, for their action so far for peace. Especially the role of youth in times of crisis, but also in the global effort to improve the sustainability of the planet, is more crucial than ever. World peace will be achieved only if we win the bet to make the earth sustainable in the long run!!
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