International Day of Peace, Sept. 21

International Day of Peace: Time to Act Is Now!

Happy International Day of Peace to us all!

Since 1981, the International Day of Peace (IDP) has been observed around the world on September 21st. The U.N. General Assembly declared in 1981, IDP as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire. The ongoing wars in Ukraine, Sudan, Yemen, and elsewhere show us clearly that our world needs peace more than ever.

This year’s theme is Actions for Peace: Our Ambition for the #GlobalGoals. It calls us to get involved in actions that recognize our individual and collective responsibility to foster peace. Fostering peace will help us realize of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals will create a culture of peace for all.

The U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres recently said, “Peace is needed today more than ever. War and conflict are unleashing devastation, poverty, and hunger, and driving tens of millions of people from their homes. Climate chaos is all around. And even peaceful countries are gripped by gaping inequalities and political polarization.”

While the world is also observing the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide this year, IDP 2023 especially encourages all youth to be ambitious in their engagement as positive and constructive social agents, and to help us reach the SDGs and contribute to building sustainable peace. Together we can help to lead our world towards a greener, more equitable, just, and secure future for all.

The International Day of Peace was established in 1981, two decades later, in 2001, the General Assembly unanimously voted to designate the Day as a period of non-violence and cease-fire.

The Global Sustainable Development Report 2023

Since 2019, a progress report has been issued every four years. The latest 2023 Global Sustainable Development Report was issued on the 19th of Sept. at the 2023 SDG Summit which took place during the United Nations General Assembly session to follow-up and review the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The 2023 Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) entitled: “Times of Crisis, Times of Change: Science for Accelerating Transformations to Sustainable Development” finds that at this critical juncture, midway to 2030, incremental and fragmented change is insufficient to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the remaining seven years. Implementation of the 2030 Agenda requires the active mobilization of political leadership and ambition for science-based transformations. This must be achieved globally—leaving no country, society or person behind. The report is an invitation to embrace transformations with the urgency needed to accelerate progress towards the SDGs.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

This year marks the mid-point in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs were defined to bring us closer to having more peaceful, just, and inclusive societies, free from fear and violence. But without the contribution of a wide range of actors including the 1.2 billion young people alive, the goals will not be achieved. So the U.N. invites us all to join the U.N. call to take action for peace: fight inequality, drive action on climate change, and promote and protect human rights.

The 17 SDGs, listed below in short, show the immense amount of work that is needed to bring peace and prosperity in our world.

  1. End Poverty: End poverty in the world in all its forms
  2. End Hunger: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
  3. Health and Wellbeing: Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages
  4. Education: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
  5. Women and Girls: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  6. Water and Sanitation: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  7. Sustainable Energy: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  8. Economic Growth: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  9. Improve Infrastructure: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
  10. 10. Reduce Inequality: Reduce inequality within and among countries
  11. Habitat: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  12. Sustainability: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  13. Climate Change: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  14. Oceans and Marine Life: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  15. Preserve Ecosystems: 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. Peace and Justice for All: 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. Global Partnerships: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development

Sustainable development can only be achieved through a societal resolve, which can come through public education efforts. Educators, therefore, have an important role to play in achieving the SDGs by 2030! The value of education—in its broadest sense—cannot be underestimated.

Happy International Day of Peace to us all!

Compiled by Arun N. Toké, editor.

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