INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE – 21 SEPTEMBER 2003
The International Day of Peace is observed on 21 September each year, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 55/282. In that resolution, the Assembly declared that the day should be observed as
- a day of global ceasefire and non-violence.
- It also invited all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities during the Day.
- It invited Member States, organizations of the United Nations system, regional and non-governmental organizations and individuals to commemorate the Day in an appropriate manner, including through education and public awareness, and to cooperate with the United Nations in establishing a global ceasefire.
The Department of Public Information, working in collaboration with other United Nations Departments, Agencies and Funds, and with civil society organizations and individuals
They have put together a series of events aimed at raising awareness of the potential of the Day and encouraging real ceasefires in areas of conflict.
Measures taken by the Secretariat
The Secretariat has taken a number of measures to encourage meaningful observance of the Day.
- With the support of the Secretary-General, a system-wide steering group, co-chaired by the Departments of Public Information and Political Affairs, met for the first time on 11 March to coordinate action for the Day and ensure its widespread observance. The group is made up of representatives from United Nations Departments (including the Executive Office of the Secretary-General) and Programmes and Agencies, as well as from NGOs and civil society groups. At this forum, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Shashi Tharoor emphasized that broad-based observances could be used as a catalyst for encouraging the global citizenry to observe and enjoy, at least for one day, the benefits of peace. Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast stated that the Day provided an opportunity for governments, civil society and the United Nations to work together for peaceful solutions.
- Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno wrote on 28 April to all Heads of United Nations peacekeeping missions, encouraging them to make arrangements to observe the Day as one of non-violence in their respective mission areas. He noted that initiatives should be coordinated with United Nations Agencies and Programmes, and with national authorities.
- In his message of 30 April to all Heads of United Nations peace-building and political missions, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast said the Day offered an ideal opportunity to engage all segments of government and civil society in activities and events aimed at furthering peace. In those places where there were open hostilities, the ultimate goal would be to achieve ceasefires in addition to other meaningful observances of the Day. In others, activities of reconciliation, peace awareness and understanding could be planned. The Executive Office of the Secretary-General had approved the provision of US$5,000 grants to the political missions so they could advise and coordinate all activities with other United Nations entities in their areas. The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs added that in all cases, activities should be coordinated with the Resident Coordinator, country team, Information Centre Directors and national authorities.
- In collaboration with the Executive Office of the Secretary-General and with A&E Television Networks (AETN), two public service announcements (PSAs) on the International Day of Peace will be produced by 11 August. The PSAs will feature United Nations Messengers of Peace Muhammad Ali and Luciano Pavarotti. Dissemination is assured in more than 70 countries where AETN has affiliates. Those UNICs and other field offices in whose areas AETN has no presence will receive copies of the PSAs if they so request. We will inform you when the production of these PSAs is complete.
- The UN Foundation/Better World Fund has offered to produce a video news release (VNR) to promote the Day. We are hoping to raise awareness of UN peace initiatives through this production and encourage you to contribute ideas on any relevant peace-related issues in your area for the VNR. It will be about 5 to 8 minutes long.
- AETN will devote the Day to programming on peace issues and has already begun working with DPI on programming ideas. You are encouraged to suggest films or other appropriate presentations for inclusion in this International Day of Peace television initiative.· The UN website devoted to the Day <<http://www.un.org/events/peaceday>> has been established and will provide links to UN Departments, Programmes and Agencies, and other organizations. Background information, including relevant documents and a schedule of activities pertaining to the Day will be posted on the website. UNICs and field missions and offices are encouraged to submit information on events and other activities to firstname.lastname@example.org> for posting.
Other scheduled activities
Activities and events, endorsed by United Nations agencies and bodies, other international and national organizations, and supported by governments and civil society, are being planned.
- Secretary-General Kofi Annan will ring the Peace Bell, located in the West Court Garden on the front lawn of the Secretariat Building, on Friday 19 September at 10 a.m. UN Messengers of Peace have been invited to attend. Muhammad Ali has already accepted the invitation.
- An International Day of Peace Vigil, organized by a number of non-governmental organizations and supported by the United Nations, is scheduled to take place on Sunday 21 September. The UN Staff Council is planning the event in the Meditation Room located in the General Assembly Public Lobby at 46th Street & First Avenue. The Meditation Room will be open for participation in the Vigil from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Details of the General Assembly’s commemoration of the Day will be announced when available.
Please contact Sharon McPherson, Peace and Security Section, Strategic Communications Division, Department of Public Information,
tel: 1 (917) 367-2068; fax: 1 (212) 963-9737; or email: email@example.com; or