Ranjan K Baruah
(With direct inputs from UN/WHO publication and feedback may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org)
No positive change or transformation is possible without peace on earth. Peace is a must if we want to see positive changes for human beings and all other living beings. The recent pandemic has already brought many challenges around the world. We have lost many near and dear ones which means peace is missing in many parts of the world. We have seen great wars and many conflicts around the world and the recent pandemic has affected more or less each and everyone one of us.
The current pandemic is known for hitting the underprivileged and marginalized groups the hardest. By April 2021, over 687 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered globally, but over 100 countries have not received a single dose. 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, which only cost more lives instead of saving them: 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. The situation is of course different in different countries.
Despite this entire situation we must maintain peace and live in peace with nature and also with each other. We have seen lockdowns that have contributed positively towards the environment but that is not guaranteeing that climate change is stopping which means we must work out more and keep fighting to combat climate change because combating climate change is also important if we need peace on earth. What we need is a green and sustainable global economy that produces jobs reduces emissions and builds resilience to climate impacts.
Like many other events or international days each year, the International Day of Peace (IDP) is observed around the world on 21 September. The UN General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire. 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 United Nations Secretary-General's appeal for a global ceasefire last March, in February 2021 the Security Council of the United Nations unanimously passed a resolution calling for the 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. The theme for this year is "recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world". The IDP was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly. Two decades later, in 2001, the General Assembly unanimously voted to designate the Day as a period of non-violence and cease-fire.
The UN's Secretary-General in his message said that "this year's International Day of Peace comes at a crisis point for humanity, conflicts are spinning out of control, the climate emergency is worsening, inequality and poverty are deepening and mistrust and division is driving people apart at a time when solidarity and collaboration are needed more than ever." "We need peace to urgently deliver lifesaving vaccines and treatment for COVID-19, peace to recover from the pandemic and re-build shattered systems and shattered lives and we need to make peace with nature — to heal our planet, build a green economy, and achieve our net-zero targets," he said.
Peace is not possible without the participation of every one of us. Apart from governments, civil society organisations and other institutions must work actively for ensuring peace. There are many organizations engaged in peacebuilding activities but a collective effort is needed to ensure it. In the North-Eastern region, we have seen conflicts for many decades and due to few positive interventions, we have seen that peace is returning to the region. Let us all be part of the peacebuilding process and make our planet a better place to live in.