Messages from UN Secretary-General
Secretary-General's Message for 2021
21 September 2021
This year’s International Day of Peace comes at a crisis point for humanity.
COVID-19 has turned our world upside-down.
Conflicts are spinning out of control.
The climate emergency is worsening.
Inequality and poverty are deepening.
And mistrust and division are driving people apart at a time when solidarity and collaboration are needed more than ever.
As a human family, we face a stark choice —
Peace or perpetual peril.
We must choose peace.
That is why I call for a 24-hour ceasefire today.
And by working in solidarity for a lasting, sustainable peace every day, we can tackle the issues facing us.
We need peace to urgently deliver lifesaving vaccines and treatment for COVID-19.
We need peace to recover from the pandemic and re-build shattered systems and shattered lives.
We need peace to level the playing field and reduce inequalities.
We need peace to renew trust in one another — and faith in facts and science.
And we need to make peace with nature — to heal our planet, build a green economy, and achieve our net-zero targets.
Peace is not a naïve dream.
It’s a light in the darkness.
Guiding us to the only pathway to a better future for humanity.
Let’s walk the pathway of peace as if our lives depended on it.
Because they do.
Secretary-General's Message for 100-day countdown to the International Day of Peace
13 June 2021
Each year, on 21 September, the United Nations calls on everyone, everywhere, to observe 24 hours of non-violence and ceasefire. Today, 100 days before the International Day of Peace, it is essential to remember that our common enemy is a virus that causes widespread suffering and risks reversing decades of human progress.
That is why, as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, I called on all warring parties to lay down their weapons. These are not normal times, and our responses cannot be routine. The pandemic is not just a health issue. It is having direct and troubling effects on development, peace and security.
Our global ceasefire appeal is resonating in many places and with many different groups. While distrust can make implementation difficult, I have been heartened by the strong support the appeal has received from civil society, which can influence and mobilize people at the grassroots.
This year’s theme for the Day, “Shaping Peace Together,” reflects the reason the United Nations was founded. Throughout this year, to mark our 75th anniversary, the United Nations is asking people to engage in a global conversation about how to tackle the greatest global challenges together, from climate change and poverty to racism and gender inequality.
Let us use these dialogues, as well as the International Day of Peace, to exchange ideas on how to achieve a global ceasefire, heal our planet and turn the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity for peace. Let us build back better for more inclusive and peaceful societies.