Established in 1981 by the General Assembly of the United Nations with the unanimous vote of the Resolution 36/67, the International Day of Peace is observed around the world every 21 September.
Since the adoption of the Resolution 55/282 in 2001, the 21 September is also the annual day of non-violence and cease-fire where every countries and all the peoples are invited by the United Nations to respect cessation of hostilities and to commemorate and promote peace with educative and consciousness-raising measures about peace issues.
“The International Day of Peace, […] offers a moment for the peoples of the world to acknowledge the ties that bind them together, irrespective of their countries of origin. It is a day on which the United Nations calls for a 24-hour global ceasefire, with the hope that one day of peace can lead to another, and another, and ultimately to a stilling of the guns” (António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, 13 June 2017)
This year, the International Day of Peace theme is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All” to honour the global initiative TOGETHER that promotes respect, safety and dignity for everyone forced to flee their homes, in a time where 65.3 millions of persons are forcibly displaced because of war and persecution.
TOGETHER was initiated during the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants on 19 September 2016. This initiative gathers organizations of the United Nations and the 193 member States as well as the civil society and the private sector, and organizes a global partnership in support of diversity, non-discrimination and acceptance of refugees and migrants.
“Yet there is more to achieving peace than laying down weapons. True peace requires building bridges, combating discrimination and standing up for the human rights of all the world’s people.
Let us strategize together about what we can do to help them. Let us recognize the many ways in which they contribute to and strengthen their host countries and communities. And let us redouble our efforts to address the root causes of conflict, advance our work for the Sustainable Development Goals, and heighten our emphasis on preventing violence in the first place.” (António Guterres, 13 June 2017)
The International Day of Peace is thus an opportunity to remind that much of the money locked into the military sector could be made available to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, peace and disarmament. This is the “five directions” defending by the GCOMS campaign in which military resources could be rechanneled through the following fields of action:
- Peace, disarmament, conflict prevention and resolution, human security;
- Sustainable development and anti-poverty programmes;
- Climate change and biodiversity loss;
- Social programmes, human rights, gender equality and Green-job creation;
- Humanitarian efforts to assists refugees, migrants and other vulnerable populations.