This Friday marks the UN’s International Day of Peace, established in 1981 to strengthen the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. In 2001, the General Assembly unanimously voted to designate the day as a period of non-violence and cease-fire. Each year the day is observed around the world on 21st September – however the day is not recognised in the UK.
The 2018 Global Peace Index (GPI) shows that the global level of peace has deteriorated for the fourth year in a row last year as a toxic combination of terrorism, armed conflict and political division has left the world less peaceful than at any time in the last decade. The GPI, which uses 23 separate indicators from international arms sales to murder rates to calculate the level of violence and tension around the world, fell by 0.27 per cent last year, with Europe and the United Kingdom among those experiencing a deterioration.
Since 2016 the UK has fallen sixteen places to 57 out of 163 countries – placing it behind Albania (52), Serbia (54) and Qatar (56), the gas-rich Gulf state hit last year by a political and economic boycott by its neighbours. Factors such as the terrorist attacks in Manchester and London and political division caused by Brexit were responsible for the UK’s fall.
There are a number of steps being taken globally to encourage peace and in 2015, The United Nations Member States adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They understood that it would not be possible to build a peaceful world if steps were not taken to achieve economic and social development for all people everywhere, and, ensure that their rights were protected. Sustainable Development Goal 16 “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions” calls for promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. A peaceful society is one where there is justice and equality for everyone.
International Voluntary Service offers volunteering opportunities across the global that are sustainable and that promote peace, justice and strong institutions, all of our projects are linked to the SDGs. The primary objectives of IVS are to: 1) Strengthen civil society at home and abroad 2) Foster peace and understanding.
Fostering peace between people is deeply connected to empowering communities, listening to local people, understanding different cultures and putting the needs of those people at the heart of the work. Our projects are not glamorous, they are not a holiday, a gap year or a chance to take a selfie with the locals. Our projects are all identified by those that need them most – the local communities. Our volunteers both in the UK and overseas work in partnership with beneficiaries to ensure that lasting sustainable benefit is achieved. By doing this, we promote peace, cooperation and understanding.
“Promoting peace and understanding may seem a difficult objective in the current climate” said Amy Blake, Director of the International Voluntary Service “however it is highlighted specifically within the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a necessary means to enable governments, civil society and communities to work together to find lasting solutions to the many forms of violence that exist in the world today. We urge people on International Peace Day to make small steps to reduce violence, promote inclusion and encourage respect and understanding toward others”
This year, to mark International Peace Day, we are asking members of the public and politicians to wear a Pin for Peace to show a commitment to the day and to lasting peace between communities world-wide. On 21st September, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will celebrate the day in the Peace Garden at the UN Headquarters by ringing the Peace Bell and observing a minute of silence at 12 noon. We would like as many people across the UK to join us by observing this minutes’ silence to demonstrate commitment to world peace, specifically the absence of war and violence. We firmly believe that one collective voice of peace and stability remains the most important platform for international peace and security.
Peace Pins are available at https://peaceday.eu/
About the International Voluntary Service
The International Voluntary Service is on a mission to foster peace and understanding between peoples and nations and urges people across the UK to stand up and show their support for a peaceful and inclusive world by supporting the UN International Peace Day on the 21st September. Our Pins for Peace have been specifically designed to be worn as a symbol of commitment to world peace, understanding and cooperation.
International Voluntary Service is a UK charity which works hard to promote peace, justice and equality through; peace education, campaigning and the mutual exchange of volunteers around the world. Our aims align with Goal 16 of the UN Sustainable Development Goal ‘to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels’
Peace Pins are available at https://peaceday.eu/
For more information about the International Day of Peace see http://www.un.org/en/events/peaceday/
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