In 1981, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly declared the third Tuesday of September the International Day of Peace. In 2001, the assembly unanimously designated the day as a period of non-violence and ceasefire. For years, the International Day of Peace is observed on September 21.
This year’s celebration is unique as it has been demonstrated that humanity faces common enemies that threaten our health, security and way of life.
Covid-19 has pushed the world into disorder and reminded humanity that what happens in one part of the world can impact human beings everywhere.
The pandemic has already had serious socio-economic and political impacts on all countries.
This period reminds us that global cooperation is pivotal to fight common threats to global peace–an embodiment of the purposes for which the UN was formed.
This year’s International Day of Peace is dedicated to nurturing dialogue and collecting ideas.
The world should unite and exchange thoughts on how to steer clear of the tide, heal the world and make it a better place.
The theme—Shaping Peace Together—calls upon humanity to give compassion, kindness and hope in the face of Covid-19. It is about coming together as people of the world to use the virus to counter discrimination or hatred.
The UN already designated 2020 as a year of listening and learning from people worldwide, including Malawi.
To mark its 75th anniversary, it launched a global conversation on how to build a peaceful and prosperous future that people want.
Join the conversation by taking a one-minute UN75 online survey (www.un75.online).
In Malawi, over 22 000 people have added their voices to the dialogue that runs until December 31, calling for more jobs, more equality, better access to healthcare services, better access to quality education, improved environment and less conflict.
In Malawi, the International Peace Day is being commemorated under a localised theme: Shaping Peace Together for Malawi.
Cases of discrimination and unequal access to health have been reported. Implementation of Covid-19 preventive measures has proved challenging as some sections have openly defied them as limiting their human and economic rights.
For Malawi, exchanging ideas come at the right time when there is a new team in the government. It is time to nurture dialogue over a culture of confrontation and divisions along cultural, religious or ethnic lines.
Dialogue and exchanging of ideas provide an opportunity to deal with impunity that promotes violence against vulnerable groups, such as women and persons with disabilities.
They also avail the opportunity to realize that, as a society, we need to support the right to protest while seeking to prevent violence.
It is encouraging to note that most protests in Malawi are nonviolent.
In line with the principle of leaving no one behind, dialogue and exchanging of ideas constitutes the opportunity to consider women as active social and economic agents that can make decisive contributions to community resilience, social cohesion and peaceful coexistence.
A moment for dialogue and exchanging of ideas could not have come at any better time than when the country is in the process of establishing the Malawi Peace Commission to implement the peace policy.
The policy is a framework for peacebuilding and conflict transformation that fosters collaborative partnerships between the government, civil society and different actors for sustainable peace.
As we mark the UN’s 75th anniversary, our world is becoming ever more connected–a world where, as the late Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld observed, “the weakness of one is the weakness of all and the strength of one is indirectly the strength of all.”
A culture of peace in Malawi will have, no doubt, a positive impact on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Malawi’s commitment to peace also has the potential to positively impact on the region and the global community to address the challenges upon us and, together, build a more peaceful, just and sustainable world.