International Day of Peace: A European Perspective
Why September 21st?
The International Day of Peace, also known as World Peace Day, is celebrated on September 21st each year. Established by the United Nations in 1981, this day is dedicated to peace education and the absence of war and violence. The date was chosen to coincide with the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly, a significant annual gathering of global leaders.
The EU's Commitment to Peace
The interconnected nature of today's world means that conflict in one region can have repercussions far beyond its borders. With one in every four humans living in a conflict zone, the urgency for peace has never been more apparent. The EU has consistently emphasized the importance of a robust rules-based international order and the necessity to invest in peace at the earliest signs of conflict.
Today, the EU's commitment to peace is evident in its extensive conflict prevention and peacebuilding mechanisms. These range from early warning systems to peace mediation. The EU also actively engages in crisis response, deploying both military and civilian crisis management missions to areas of instability.
Furthermore, the EU has allocated a significant budget for peace initiatives. Through its NDICI-Global Europe tool, the EU has earmarked EUR 79.5 billion for development cooperation from 2020 to 2027, fundamentally serving as a peace instrument.
EU's Role in Global Peace
The EU champions a strong, UN-centered multilateral system to address global peace challenges. Promoting effective global governance and upholding the UN Charter are among its top priorities. The EU's European Peace Facility (EPF) enhances its capability to offer military support to partners while adhering to international human rights and humanitarian law.
Moreover, the EU believes in fostering peaceful and inclusive global societies. By breaking down national barriers and promoting people-to-people interactions, the EU aims to establish enduring peace.
EU's Activities on International Day of Peace
On International Peace Day, the European Union, along with its member states and institutions, actively participates in various activities and initiatives to reaffirm its commitment to global peace and harmony.
Theme and Significance
The theme for International Peace Day in 2021, as chosen by the United Nations, was "Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world." This theme is particularly relevant in the context of the ongoing health pandemic. The impact of the pandemic has been especially severe on underprivileged and marginalized individuals and communities. Those caught in conflict zones have faced heightened vulnerabilities, including limited access to healthcare, compounded by discrimination and hatred.
One of the significant aspects highlighted during International Peace Day is the ongoing battle with our environment. The theme underscores the importance of making peace with nature. It calls for fostering green and sustainable solutions in our homes, schools, workplaces, and the broader environment. The emphasis is on eliminating hate in all its forms and spreading compassion, kindness, and hope as the world recovers from the challenges it faces.
European Training Foundation's (ETF) Contribution
The European Training Foundation (ETF) is an EU agency that plays a pivotal role in supporting the European Union's external relations and actions. On International Peace Day, the ETF highlighted its efforts towards making environmental sustainability an integral part of its post-COVID recovery plan, building on the EU Green Deal. The green transition, as emphasized by the ETF, necessitates a close interaction between education and training systems and their environments. This approach ensures that skills development aligns with economic, technological, and social change.
The European Union's activities on International Peace Day are not limited to mere observance. They reflect a deeper commitment to global peace, environmental sustainability, and the well-being of all its citizens. By supporting initiatives like the EU Green Deal and emphasizing the importance of education and training in the green transition, the EU showcases its proactive approach to fostering peace and harmony, both within its borders and globally.
The International Day of Peace serves as a reminder of the importance of peace in our globalized world. For the EU, this day is not just a symbolic observance but a reaffirmation of its deep-rooted commitment to peace. Through its various initiatives, policies, and actions, the EU continues to play a pivotal role in promoting and maintaining peace both within its borders and globally.