On 21 September, International Day of Peace, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said “Peace is at the heart of all our work at the United Nations. And we know peace is much more than a world free of war. It means resilient, stable societies where everyone can enjoy fundamental freedoms and thrive rather than struggle to meet basic needs.”
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.
Speaking to some 700 high school and college student leaders, he explained that peace “is not only about peace among people, but peace between people and the planet”, lamenting that “we have been at war” with nature.
Climate change has posed clear threats to international peace and security, with natural disasters displacing three times as many people as conflicts; forcing millions to flee their homes in search of refuge.
Secretary-General António Guterres (fourth from left) attends the Peace Bell at the annual ceremony held at UN headquarters in observance of the International Day of Peace (20 September 2019).
Growing tensions over resources, mass movements of people, and endangered food security are escalating and affecting many countries. This is a global crisis. Only by working together can we make our only home peaceful, prosperous and safe for us and future generations.
“On this International Day of Peace,” the Secretary-General said, “I urge all of you: take concrete climate action and demand it of your leaders. This is a race we can and must win.”