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Special Content

Issue no 25, 18-24 September, 2021

International day of peace 2021

Moving Towards a Sustainable and Equitable World


The United Nations was created in 1945, following the devastation of the Second World War, with one central mission: the maintenance of international peace and security. The UN accomplishes this by working to prevent conflict, helping parties in conflict make peace, deploying peacekeepers, and creating the conditions to allow peace to hold and flourish. These activities often overlap and should reinforce one another, to be effective. To mark this sentiment and mission, the International Day of Peace ("Peace Day") is observed around the world each year on September 21.

What is the International Day of Peace?

Established in 1981 by unanimous United Nations resolution 36/37, the General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to "commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples." Two decades later, in 2001, the General Assembly unanimously voted to designate the Day (September 21) as a period of non-violence and ceasefire. On the Day, the United Nations encourages all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.

Within the United Nations, peacebuilding refers to efforts to assist countries and regions in their transitions from war to peace and to reduce a country's risk of lapsing or relapsing into conflict by strengthening national capacities for conflict management, and laying the foundations for sustainable peace and development. Building lasting peace in war-torn societies is a daunting challenge for global peace and security. Peacebuilding requires sustained international support for national efforts across the broadest range of activities. For instance, peacebuilders monitor ceasefires, demobilize and reintegrate combatants, assist the return of refugees and displaced persons, help to organize and monitor elections of a new government, support justice and security sector reforms, enhance human rights protections, and foster reconciliation after past atrocities.

The International Day of Peace:

  1. Reaffirms the contribution that its observance and celebration make in strengthening the ideals of peace and alleviating tensions and causes of conflict.
  2. Considers the unique opportunity it offers for a cessation of violence and conflict throughout the world.
  3. Desires to draw attention to the objectives of the Day

What is this year's theme?

The 2021 theme for the International Day of Peace is "Recovering Better for an Equitable and Sustainable World". The Day this year celebrates the power of global solidarity for building a peaceful and sustainable world. This is the Decade of Action that calls for accelerating sustainable solutions to the world's biggest challenges-ranging from poverty and gender inequality, climate change, marginalisation, and closing the finance gap. The focus is to be on "recovering better for a more equitable and peaceful world, to celebrate peace by standing up against acts of hate online and offline, and by spreading compassion, kindness, and hope in the face of the pandemic."

This year is particularly significant as it is the 20th Anniversary of the UN Resolution on the Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace.

As the UN says, the pandemic is known for hitting the underprivileged and marginalized groups the hardest. People caught in conflict are especially vulnerable in terms of lack of access to healthcare. "The pandemic has been accompanied by a surge in stigma, discrimination, and hatred...the virus attacks all without caring about where we are from or what we believe in. Confronting this common enemy of humankind, we must be reminded that we are not each other's enemy. To be able to recover from the devastation of the pandemic, we must make peace with one another .

And we must make peace with nature. Despite the travel restrictions and economic shutdowns, climate change is not on pause. In the poorest and leastdeveloped parts of the world, climaterelated natural disasters are compounding existing fragility, increasing forced migration and heightening the risk of violence. What we need is a green and sustainable global economy that produces jobs, reduces emissions, and builds resilience to climate impacts,” the UN states.

In 2021, as we heal from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are inspired to think creatively and collectively about how to help everyone recover better, how to build resilience, and how to transform our world into one that is more equal, more just, equitable, inclusive, sustainable, and healthier.

In line with the UN Secretary-General's appeal for a global ceasefire last March, the Security Council in February 2021 unanimously passed a resolution calling for Member States to support a "sustained humanitarian pause" to local conflicts. The global ceasefire must continue to be honoured, to ensure people caught in conflict have access to lifesaving vaccinations and treatments.

In India, NITI Aayog, in partnership with UN in India, has been promoting the localisation of SDGs at the policy level through the GoI-UN Sustainable Development Framework and NITI Aayog-UNDP Partnership Framework for Inclusion and Equitable growth.


Compiled by Annesha Banerjee & Anuja Bhardwajan