International Day of Peace 2019 themed on climate change: UN chief Antonio Guterres says peace faces new danger which threatens security, livelihoods and our lives

FP Staff

International Day of Peace 2019: The International Day of Peace is celebrated annually on 21 September and is a United Nations-commissioned global holiday. The world peace body decided to commemorate the day with the aim to spread awareness about war-time evils and preach global harmony all across the globe.

The International Day of Peace is also an occasion to celebrate and appreciate the efforts of those who have dedicated their lives to eliminate bloody conflicts and civil wars across the globe and have upheld peace in a difficult situation, where war was the easier option.

Every year on 21 September, the UN calls on all nations and people to put down their weapons and talk about their commitment to living in harmony with one another.

The UN General Assembly passed a resolution to mark this day, unanimously, in 1981. Until 2001, it was celebrated on the 3rd Tuesday of September. Finally, in 2001, the assembly decided to fix one day, ie 21 September as the date for the celebration of the same. And since then, the day is observed as a period of non-violence and cease-fire.

However, this year's celebrations are comparatively unique, as the United Nation's this year's theme, to the casual eye, is completely unrelated war, conflict, or peace.

This year, the world body is celebrating International day of Peace along the theme of climate change. It aims to draw attention to how a man-made global menace has the potential to adversely impact world peace. Climate change, after all, is expected to become the biggest cause of human displacement, overtaking the current refugee crisis spurred by conflicts like Yemen and Syrian civil wars.

In UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres' own words, "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."

Natural disasters and extreme weather events €" many a direct consequence of climate change €" are displacing three times as many people as conflicts. The competition for resources is creating tensions between peoples and countries, he noted.

Guterres observed that it was no coincidence that the countries most vulnerable to climate change were often those most vulnerable to conflict and fragility, taking Sahel's example.

"Look at the Sahel where we see conflict spreading, terrorism spreading, and one of the key factors of that fact is climate change accelerating drought and accelerating the competition between farmers and herders for scarce resources and facilitating the work of terrorists all around." Guterres will hold the Climate Action Summit on 23 September in New York.

Due to natural disasters, millions of people are forced to leave their homes and seek safety every year. Food security is also hampered due to the extreme changes in soil and agricultural ecosystem, which impact public health. All of these collectively add up to climate change and are necessary to deal with.

Furthermore, this year's International Day of Peace is also special as it is the 20th anniversary of the UN Resolution on the Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace.

The UNESCO's programme on Culture of Peace is an effort to bring continents, nations, communities and individuals together, and help people and countries lacking access to the benefits of education, scientific knowledge, tools for communication etc.

In 2018, the theme for the same was "The Right to Peace €" The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70".

This spoke about the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was a movement to recognise the inherent dignity as an equal and inalienable right of all members of the human race.

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