Sep 202019
International Day of Peace

International Day of Peace, 21 September 2019

The United Nations (UN) was founded to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” Now, 75 years later, will we reaffirm our commitment to collective action, centered on a vision of a peaceful and prosperous world for all?

The global economic cost of violence now exceeds 14 trillion USD per annum. By the end of 2018, over 70 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations. If current trends persist, by 2030 more than half of the world’s poor will be living in countries affected by high levels of violence, and the aspirations of millions for a better life will go unmet.

Recent research and analysis, from the World Bank and the UN among others, has demonstrated that neither economic growth alone, nor securitized and militarized approaches, can bring sustainable peace. In an interdependent world, increasingly impacted by the self-inflicted scourges of climate change and inequality, we need to redouble our collective efforts to prevent violent conflict by addressing its roots, and in structuring our response to crisis in ways that support local capacities, respect human rights and align with long-term plans to build sustainable peace.

International Day of Peace

The coming year provides many opportunities for Member States to recommit to peace, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Summit; the 2019 Climate Action Summit; the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Women’s Conference; the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325; and the review of the Peacebuilding Architecture and impending report by the UN Secretary-General on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace. As Member States gather for the 74th UN General Assembly, our organizations devoted to building peace around the world call on the international community to:

  • Move from commitments to action on peace in the 2030 Agenda and across the three UN pillars: One of the main achievements of the 2030 Agenda was to commit to a radically different approach to development, particularly in conflict-affected and transitional environments. Fostering people-centered social, economic and political inclusion, ensuring access to justice and human rights, strengthening the social fabric and delivering good governance have repeatedly been shown to be essential to achieving prosperity and peace, universally and at all levels of development. We call on Member States to accelerate their commitment to peace, the gateway to achieving the SDGs.
  • Align crisis response with longer term prevention and peacebuilding efforts: If we are to move beyond late-stage, reactive, expensive and often ineffective responses to complex crises, including where climate change and migration are factors, governments need to fully embrace a commitment to preventive action by fostering resilience. Resilient societies are just and inclusive, where the relationships between individuals, their communities and the state are based on trust and the respect, protection and fulfillment of everyone’s human rights, and where there are robust mechanisms for addressing inequality, difference and grievances. When a crisis response is nonetheless required, we call on relevant actors to structure and implement such interventions in a way that does no harm, is people-centered and holistic, and explicitly aligns with longer term efforts to sustain peace.
  • Protect and support civil society in fostering sustainable peace: Social, political and economic changes that contribute to increasing peace are more robust if they are owned, implemented and sustained by local actors, including youth and women. Nevertheless, civil society inclusion continues to be under threat around the world, with onerous restrictions imposed on the ability of civil society groups to be effective, speak out and access funding. We call on Member States to recommit their support for and partnership with local and community actors, and for the UN system to model inclusion in all its local and global processes.
  • Think local and act global: recommit to multilateralism as a safeguard for the most vulnerable: National implementation alone will not suffice to achieve the SDGs or to address the global challenges of climate change and inequality. This is particularly the case with issues of peace, where fostering the external drivers of peace, justice and inclusion requires concerted action by states, as duty holders, to strengthen adherence to international humanitarian law, support responsible trade, reduce arms flows, and promote constructive financial, tax and investment practices. Member States should also seek to strengthen a rules-based system that creates a more effective enabling environment that privileges the long-term peace, development and human rights of all people and communities.

Signed by:

Accountability Lab

ACT Alliance

African Youth Action Network – AYAN

All Anglophone Union for Peace and Development (AAUPD)

Alliance for Conflict Transformation (ACT)

Alliance for Peacebuilding

American Friends Service Committee

Baha’i International Community

Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum

Bangladesh Model Youth Parliament

Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha (BNPS)

Brain Builders International

Camp for Peace Liberia

Canadian Friends Service Committee

Care and Development Centre

Causeway Institute for Peace-building and Conflict Resolution International

Centre de Défense des Droits de l’Homme et Démocratie (CDHD)

Centre de Documentation et de Formation sur les Droits de l’Homme (CDFDH)

Center for Development of Civil Society

Centre for Human Rights and Climate Change Research, Nigeria

Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies

Center for Peace, Research and Development (CEPRAD Consultancy)

Centre for Sustainable Development and Education in Africa (CSDEA)

Centre of Studies for Peace and Development (CEPAD)

CHALLENGES Int; Action for Sustainable Development

Christian Aid

Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy

Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (CSPPS)

Community Empowerment for Progress Organization-CEPO, South Sudan

Conciliation Resources

Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd

Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace


Council for International Conflict Resolution

Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation

Democracy and Development Associates-Sierra Leone (DADA-SL)

Dirigentes de mi Comunidad (Dicomu)

Empathy Surplus Project

Epikeia Universitary Human Rights Observatory

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Friends Women’s Association

Friends World Committee for Consultation – World Office (Quakers)

FriEnt – Working Group on Peace and Development


Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ

Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC)

Global Peace and Development Organization Foundation

Great Lakes Peacebuilding Institute (GLPI)

Healing and Rebuilding Our Country (HROC-Burundi)

Helping Hand for Survivors (HHS)

Héritiers de la Justice

Human Rights Committee Leskovac, Serbia

Human Rights Observatory of the University of Los Andes

Igarapé Institute

International Alert

International Association of Liberal Religious Women (IALRW)

International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN)


Jewish World Watch

Kenya Economic Youth Network (KEYNET)

Kenya Muslim Youth Alliance (KMYA)

Loyola Institute of Peace and International Relations (LIPI)

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Mennonite Central Committee

Mercy Corps

Ministry for Peace and Reconciliation under the Cross (Mi-PAREC)

Minnesota Peace Project

Modern Advocacy Humanitarian Social and Rehabilitation Association (MAHSRA)

Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights

Nigerian Coalition for the International Criminal Court (NCICC)

Nonviolent Peaceforce

NYU Center on International Cooperation

OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership, Chicago, Illinois

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Initiative, Port Harcourt, Nigeria



Pax Christi International

Pax Christi Korea

Peace Direct

PEACE Foundation Melanesia

Peace Warriors Organisation (PWO) – KENYA

PeaceNexus Foundation


Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Quäker-Hilfe Stiftung

Quaker Council for European Affairs

Quaker Service Australia

Quaker Service Norway

Quaker United Nations Office

Quakers in Britain

Regional Center for International Development Cooperation (RCIDC)

Rwanda Women’s Network


Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled

Search for Common Ground


Self-Help Association for Rural people through Eduction & Entrepreneurship


Sisters of Charity Federation

Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur

Society of Catholic Medical Missionaries

Society of the Sacred Heart

Solutions for Humanity International (SFH)

Somali Conservation organization (SCO)

Spanish Society for International Human Rights Law (SSIHRL)

STAND: The Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities

Success Capital Organisation


The Carter Center

The Center for Global Nonkilling

The Center for International Ethics at Central Michigan University

The Cora di Brazzà Foundation

The Faith and Justice Network of the Mano River Basin Countries (FJN)

The Graduate Institute of Peace Studies, Kyung Hee University (South Korea)

The International Federation for Peace and Sustainable Development

The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Australia

The Stanley Foundation

Trippinz Care Inc

Union des Amis Socio- Culturels d’Action en Développement (UNASCAD)

Unitarian Universalist Association

United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

United Youth for Growth and Development (Advocacy Centre)

Universal Rights Network

VIVAT International

Win Without War

Women for Peace and Gender Equality Initiative (WOPEGEE)

World Council of Churches – Commission of the Churches on International Affairs

World Federalist Movement – Institute for Global Policy (WFM-IGP) World Society of Victimology

Download this open letter in PDF.