“Today peace faces a new danger: the climate emergency, which threatens our security, our livelihoods and our lives. That is why it is the focus of this year’s International Day of Peace. And it’s why I am convening a Climate Action Summit.” - UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. - Shri Ram Shaw
Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The United Nations General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.
The United Nations Member States adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 because they understood that it would not be possible to build a peaceful world if steps were not taken to achieve economic and social development for all people everywhere, and ensure that their rights were protected. The Sustainable Goals cover a broad range of issues, including poverty, hunger, health, education, climate change, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, environment and social justice.
Climate Action” is a call for immediate action by all to lower greenhouse emissions, build resilience and improve education on climate change. Affordable, scalable solutions such as renewable energy, clean technologies are available to enable countries to leapfrog to greener, more resilient economies.
2019 Theme: “Climate Action for Peace” - The theme draws attention to the importance of combating climate change as a way to protect and promote peace throughout the world.
Climate change causes clear threats to international peace and security. Natural disasters displace three times as many people as conflicts, forcing millions to leave their homes and seek safety elsewhere. The salinization of water and crops is endangering food security, and the impact on public health is escalating. The growing tensions over resources and mass movements of people are affecting every country on every continent.
Peace can only be achieved if concrete action is taken to combat climate change. Speaking to people of the Pacific islands in New Zealand in May, UN Secretary-General António Guterres had said, “nature does not negotiate” and emphasized four key measures that Governments should prioritize in order to reach carbon neutrality by 2050: tax pollution, not people; stop subsidizing fossil fuels; stop building new coal plants by 2020; focus on a green economy, not a grey economy.
“It is possible to achieve our goals, but we need decisions, political will and transformational policies to allow us to still live in peace with our own climate.” Guterres had said.
On 23 September, the United Nations is convening a Climate Action Summit with concrete and realistic plans to accelerate action to implement the Paris Agreement. The Summit will focus on the heart of the problem – the sectors that create the most emissions and the areas where building resilience could make the biggest difference as well as provide leaders and partners the opportunity to demonstrate real climate action and showcase their ambition.
1 Week, 5 Summits, 17 Goals: Tackling Global Challenges Together - Every September, the Member States of the United Nations meet at the General Assembly in New York to discuss the critical issues of global concern. This year, in addition to the general debate, world leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate in a series of summits and high-level meetings to boost action on climate change and accelerate progress on sustainable development, aimed at securing healthy, peaceful and prosperous lives for all. Underpinning the action week are the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by all world leaders in 2015. The 17 interconnected Goals are a universal call to action to end poverty and hunger, expand access to health, education, justice and jobs, while protecting our planet from environmental degradation.
23 September: Climate Action Summit
23 September: High-Level Meeting On Universal Health Coverage
24-25 September: Sustainable Development Goals Summit
26 September: High-Level Dialogue On Financing For Development
27 September: High-Level Midterm Review Of The Samoa Pathway
17 Goals that matter most: No Poverty; Zero Hunger; Good Health and Well-Being; Quality Education; Gender Equality; Clean Water and Sanitation; Affordable and Clean Energy; Decent Work and Economic Growth; Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; Reduced Inequalities; Sustainable Cities and Communities; Responsible Consumption and Production; Climate Action; Life Below Water; Life On Land; Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions; Parterships.
(The writer is a Delhi-based journalist.)