Statement on International Day of Peace 2019

Statement delivered by the UN Resident Coordinator ad interim in observance of International Day of Peace 2019

  • The Chair, Right Honorable Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, Speaker of Parliament of the Republic of Ghana
  • The Chairman of the National Peace Council, Most. Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante
  • Representatives of MDAs
  • Representatives of the diplomatic corps, colleagues from the UN, the civil society
  • Members of the Press
  • Invited Guests
  • Ladies and gentlemen

It is a real pleasure for me to be here this morning as we gather to commemorate this International Day of Peace together. In doing so, we are in communion, with the rest of the world, since each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the globe on 21 September. This day is a moment for all of us to reflect on the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. I would like to commend the National Peace Council for organizing this event and making sure that we do not forget the importance of peace in our lives.

And we often forget. We all too often take peace for granted. How many of us, before going to sleep in the evening, think about how lucky we are to be enjoying longstanding peace here in Ghana? We forget about peace when we have it, and that is the danger because peace needs to be actively protected. Losing it can happen so quickly and so easily has history taught us many times.

Honorable chair, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, for the United Nations, peace is central to everything that we do. Let us not forget that International Peace Day was created after the second world war exactly to avoid the possibility of another catastrophic war like that. That is why in the Charter, in the preamble and the first chapter, the word ‘peace’ appears ten times.

The choice of the theme “Peace: Our greatest resource” for today’s event clearly emphasizes the high value we place on peace.  For many years now, Ghana has demonstrated to the rest of the world that it is the beacon of democracy and peace within our troubled sub-region. The United Nations is indeed proud of Ghana for this achievement and remains committed to working with its partners, such as the National Peace Council, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice and the security services to uphold this credential.

The future of this country depends on it. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development made it very clear: “there can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.” These linkages between peace and development invite us to also think about peace in a more holistic way. Peace is not only the absence of war.

Hon Chair, ladies and gentlemen, the global theme of this year’s International Day of Peace is “Climate Action for Peace”. It is meant to be a wake-up call for all of us about the linkages between climate change and peace. Climate change poses clear threats to international peace and security. Natural disasters displace three times as many people as conflicts, forcing millions to leave their homes and seek safety elsewhere. The growing tensions over resources and mass movements of people are affecting every country on every continent.

This is why the UN Secretary-General is convening a Climate Action Summit next week, on Monday 23 September in NY, to address some of these issues and call for concrete actions by member states. 

Hon. Chair, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, since most of us in this room will not be in NY next week, at this point, allow me to let you hear directly from the Secretary General by reading his message on the occasion of the International Day of Peace.

[I quote] ...

Peace is at the heart of all our work at the United Nations.

And we know peace is much more than a world free of war.

It means resilient, stable societies where everyone can enjoy fundamental freedoms and thrive rather than struggle to meet basic needs.

Today peace faces a new danger: the climate emergency, which threatens our security, our livelihoods and our lives.

That is why it is the focus of this year’s International Day of Peace.

And it’s why I am convening a Climate Action Summit.

This is a global crisis.

Only by working together can we make our only home peaceful, prosperous and safe for us and future generations.

On this International Day of Peace, I urge all of you:

take concrete climate action and demand it of your leaders.   

This is a race we can and must win.

[End of quote]

Thank you very much for your commitment to peace. Don’t leave it behind when you leave this room but spread it around you today and everyday, to consolidate the cherished culture of peace that exists in Ghana.

Speech by
Author
Ms. Abibatou Wane-Fall
Chief of Mission, IOM
Ghana (resident), Togo and Benin
IOM
Ms Wane-Fall
UN entities involved in this initiative
UNDP
United Nations Development Programme