Message of the UN Resident Coordinator in the Kingdom of Eswatini, Ms. Nathalie Ndongo-Seh on the International Day of Peace
Today is the International Day of Peace. This year’s theme, “Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world”, is a call for action to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals despite the challenges that we face as one humanity.
The UN General Assembly declared every 21st of September as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace and observing 24 hours of non-violence and ceasefire around the world.
In his message for this World Peace Day, the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, underscored the importance of restoring peace as the only option to repair our broken world. Indeed, the world is faced with many challenges. COVID-19 has devastated households and national economies and continues to claim the lives of many, including breadwinners. This is happening at a time when conflicts are spinning out of control and inequalities and poverty are growing.
As we heal from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are inspired to think creatively and collectively, in a spirit of generosity and solidarity, 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.
The pandemic has hit the underprivileged and marginalized groups the hardest. Populations caught in conflict are especially the most vulnerable ones. The Secretary-General has appealed for a global ceasefire to ensure that people caught in conflict have access to lifesaving vaccinations and treatments.
To be able to recover from the devastation of the pandemic, we must make peace with one another. We must also make peace with mother nature. We need a green and sustainable global economy that produces jobs, reduces emissions, and builds resilience to climate impacts.
The Kingdom of Eswatini has been known for decades as a country of peace. However, this beautiful nation has been plagued with incidents of civil unrest and protests, which are threatening to reverse the gains made in areas such as health, education, renewable energy and climate action.
As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN Development System in Eswatini and the Government have committed to “a prosperous, just and resilient Eswatini where no one is left behind.” This vision and this strategic goal cannot be achieved without peace.
A peaceful, prosperous and inclusive society cannot be achieved without access to education, health and essential services; without young women and men being afforded the chance to live as they choose; when children are robbed of their right to quality education due to the prolonged closure of schools; when brothers and sisters of the same nation fail to live with one another on the basis of tolerance, respect and mutual understanding; and when the planet’s biodiversity is under threat.
In order to fight a common enemy, which is COVID-19, and recover better from the pandemic, peace must be preserved.
As the UN Secretary-General stated: “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”.
And as Madiba said so well: “Peace is not just the absence of conflict; peace is the creation of an environment where all can flourish, regardless of race, colour, creed, religion, gender, class, caste, or any other social markers of difference. Religion, ethnicity, language, social and cultural practices are elements which enrich human civilization, adding to the wealth of our diversity. Why should they be allowed to become a cause of division and violence? We demean our common humanity by allowing that to happen.”
On this International Day of Peace, let’s re-commit to make peace with one another, as well as with our planet.