2021 Peace Day: Commonwealth Secretary-General applauds efforts to build social cohesion

(CU)_World Peace Day was observed across the globe on Tuesday (21 September), as countries like Afghanistan deal with some of the darkest days, seeing the worst form of violence, brutality against women and children. Back in 1981, the United Nations first declared the International Day of Peace on the third Tuesday of September. However, starting from 2002, the day to celebrate International Peace was eventually changed to September 21. 

Under the theme of ‘Recovering Better for an Equitable and Sustainable World’ this year, the UN called on the international community to think creatively and collectively on transforming our world into one that is more just, equal, inclusive, sustainable and healthier.

On this day, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland, shared a video message in which she highlighted some of the efforts of the Commonwealth Secretariat, as well as the member states of the association, in building sustainable peace and harmony. 

“On this International Day of Peace, the Commonwealth celebrates the commitment of our 54 members to a Charter that underscores the primacy of democracy and development for achieving sustainable peace and security,” she said, while reaffirming the Commonwealth’s values of respect, tolerance and understanding, which she noted to have “cemented the cooperation and connections across our shared history, language and institutions”. 

Underscoring the effects of the pandemic on social unrest, inequality and economic downturn, the Secretary-General noted that global peace has been challenged and even deteriorated over the past year. According to Scotland, the cost of violence and social unrest amidst the global health crisis is estimated to be over US$2.4 trillion in purchase power parity. She noted that while this is “a monumental setback”, the Commonwealth is encouraged by the collective resilience of its member states. 

Calling on over 1.2 billion young people across the association to take up this “generational challenge of our time”, the Secretary-General said: “It is encouraging to note the immense contributions of many men and women and Commonwealth organisations who have risen to meet the challenges of building social cohesion and promoting peace and reconciliation through the turbulent eye of the pandemic.”

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