on the International Day of Peace
Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations
Today we observe the annual International Day of Peace –
a day dedicated to ceasefire and non-violence. Peace is
precious. It must be nurtured,
That is why, each year on the International Day of
Peace, I ring the Peace Bell at United Nations
headquarters. And it is why – every day – I work for
peace. I mediate between antagonists. I sound the
alarm about threats – those we can see clearly, and
others that lurk just over the horizon. I promote
tolerance, justice and human rights, and I campaign for
harmony among countries and peoples.
This year, Peace Day is dedicated to young people. This
month marks the beginning of the International Year of
Youth. Its theme of dialogue and mutual understanding
captures the very essence of peace.
Young people today are at home with global diversity;
comfortable in an interconnected world. Yet they are
also vulnerable to the forces of extremism. So I say to
all governments and our partners: let us do more for
young people. Let us give them a world of peace and
And I say to all young people: join us. Help us to work
for peace. You are impatient. You see what we, your
elders, allow to persist, year after year: poverty and
hunger; injustice and impunity; environmental
With just five years remaining to achieve the Millennium
Development Goals, I ask all, young and old, to help us
to find global solutions to these global problems.
Share your plans and ideas, act with creativity and
passion. Help us fight for peace and prosperity for
What Will You Do to Make Peace Happen?
[Op-Ed] Ban Ki-moon and Jean Ping
Sep 22, 2010 (allAfrica.com/All Africa Global Media via
COMTEX) -- On September 21, the United Nations will
celebrate the International Day of Peace (Peace Day).
Every year since 1982 this day has provided a rallying
point for member states and individuals to join forces
to end conflict.
September 21 has a special meaning for Africans this
year. While declaring 2010 the Year of Peace and
Security at a special session in Tripoli last year,
African heads of state and government said:"...We are
determined to deal once and for all with the scourge of
conflicts and violence on our continent, acknowledging
our shortcomings and errors, committing our resources
and our best people, and missing no opportunity to push
forward the agenda of conflict prevention, peacemaking,
peacekeeping and post-conflict reconstruction. We, as
leaders, simply cannot bequeath the burden of conflicts
to the next
generation of Africans."
Accelerated efforts to make peace happen in Africa in
2010 come on the back of some undeniable advances.
Violent conflicts have significantly reduced since the
mid-90s. Many of the most protracted and violent
conflicts that beset the continent have now been
resolved. Notable victories for peace have been
That said, conflict still remains a painful reality on
the continent today, and it is not just combatants who
are suffering. More people, especially women and
children, are dying from the consequences of conflict
than from direct conflict-related violence. The economic
toll is also devastating. With an average annual loss of
around $18bn as a result of wars, civil wars, and
insurgencies in Africa, armed conflict shrinks a
nation's economy on average by 15 per cent according to
an estimate considered conservative.
Conflict is the greatest impediment to sustainable
development in Africa. Addressing the scourge of
conflict is therefore critical to the achievement of the
United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Put
simply, if we cannot bring conflict to an end, we will
not eliminate poverty. Peace sustains development.
Development sustains peace.
For these reasons, both our institutions, the United
Nations and the African Union, are determined to leave
no stone unturned to end conflict and sustain peace in
Africa. As Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, the respected Indian
diplomat, stated: 'the more we sweat in peace, the less
we bleed in war'.
We have already notched up some important achievements
working together. Nothing illustrates this partnership
better than the unprecedented hybrid AU-UN operation
deployed in the Darfur region of the Sudan and the
support extended by the UN to the AU peace support
mission in Somalia.
Elsewhere on the continent, the AU and the UN are
combining their respective comparative advantages to
resolve conflicts and build new bridges between
communities and countries that once saw themselves as
irreconcilable enemies. Beyond the immediate task of
grappling with current crises, the AU and UN are also
engaged in both the critical, yet often invisible, work
of preventing the occurrence of conflicts in the first
place, and long-term efforts to address the underlying
causes of violence and conflicts.
Furthermore, the two organisations are working closely
together to build strong institutions and tools to
provide the continent with the capacity required to meet
the complex challenges facing it in the area of peace
Ever since its creation, less than a decade ago, the
African Union has been proactively working towards the
resolution of existing crises and the prevention of
conflicts, placing particular emphasis on the
entrenchment of democracy, rule of law, governance and
human rights. The African Union has successfully
intervened to restore democracy on several occasions
during this period.
The African Union draws strength from the collective
resolve of African leaders to bring peace to their
continent. Without political commitment there can be no
peace. But the pursuit of peace should not only be the
preserve of political leaders, national governments and
international organisations. Peace cannot be imposed
from above; it must simultaneously be fostered from
below, through the efforts of ordinary women and men,
civil society and private sector; all of whom stand to
gain from the achievement of peace.
September 21 is an opportunity to involve every
individual in the quest to make peace happen. That is
why this year the African Union has engaged models and
role models, sportsmen and women, the young and the
elderly, musicians, artists, authors and spiritual
leaders to inspire and mobilise Africans to make peace
happen. On Peace Day these persons will all them of them
take practical steps towards the total mobilization of
an entire continent for peace.
September 21 provides an opportunity to bring the call
for peace out of the chambers of the UN and AU Security
Councils, and on to the streets of Africa - to give
voice to the most vulnerable, those who bear the brunt
of violence, who are often left scarred physically,
emotionally and socially.
Their cries, their celebrations and their protestations
will echo back to political leaders meeting in New York
for the review of the MDGs, and to every corner of the
African continent. The people's cry for peace should
convince those at war that the commitment to peace
cannot be reversed, and that the guns must be
permanently silenced, the refugee camps emptied by
people voluntarily returning home, and the classrooms
filled by children determined to learn and fulfil their
Ban Ki-moon is Secretary-General of the United Nations
and Jean Ping the chairperson of the African Union
Message for 100-day countdown to International Day of
Peace, 13 June 2010
One hundred days from today, the world will mark the
International Day of Peace – a day on which armed
conflict is meant to be stilled… a day on which we
appeal to combatants to observe a ceasefire… a day on
which we reaffirm commitment to non-violence and the
peaceful resolution of disputes.
This year’s observance, which takes place on 21
September, focuses on youth and development, under the
slogan: “Peace = Future.”
Young people already play a crucial role in working for
peace. Yet I know they can do even more. So this
International Day comes with a challenge for young
people everywhere: Expand on your work to build peace.
Share your plans and ideas, with creativity and
passion. The world’s concerns will soon be in your
This year, the International Day of Peace coincides with
the Summit I am convening to boost progress towards the
eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Achieving the goals is essential for ending armed
conflict and building sustainable peace. I hope the
voices of young people will be heard at the Summit and
in the run-up to it.
Over the next 100 days, I urge young people to plan
projects that can help create the conditions for peace
in their communities, in their schools, in their
countries. We need your voice and commitment, and we
will share your stories with the world.
As we start the countdown to the International Day of
Peace, we recognize two truths: Only in a peaceful
environment will young people realize their full
potential – and young people have the potential to start
building that peaceful world today.