Peoples and the international community across the African continent, celebrated yesterday, 21st September 2016, the “International Day of Peace”, dedicatedby the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution 55/282 as "a day of non-violence and cease-fire.” The declaration is an invitation addressing all countries and their people to cease hostilities on the one hand and to invest in education on peace, tolerance and non-violence on the other.
The theme of this year’s International day of Peace Day highlights the 17 Sustainable Development Goals – the SDGs – as Building Blocks for Peace. In this context, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Message underlined that “Conflict often starts when people compete over limited resources. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is our blueprint to prevent such conflicts from arising by making sure no one is left behind.”
As part of the celebrations, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC), in collaboration with the Government of Togo and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), organised a panel conference on the theme: "Culture of Peace and Disarmament: Pledge to Sustainable Development in Africa".
The event constituted a platform for exchange and discussions between panelists and participants composed of government representatives, members of the diplomatic corps and representatives of international organisations, administrative and political authorities, as well as civil society organisations and journalists.
The conference which was moderated by Mrs. Olatokunbo Ige, Director of UNREC also served to educate and impart knowledge to all participants on the importance of peace and disarmament in a development context. Discussions, which were led by eminent representatives of the diplomatic corps and experts in the field, focused on the following three topics:
• "Peace and Security: What Strategy for Enhancing Control of the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons in Africa? " by Mr Mohamed Karim Sherif, the Egyptian Ambassador in Togo;
• "Challenges for Sustainable Development in Africa" by Mr. Nicolas Kazadi, Senior Economist at UNDP Togo;
• “The Role of Socio-Political Actors in the Consolidation of Peace and the Promotion of Tolerance, Non-Violence and Acceptance of Differences in the Dynamics of Sustainable Development” by Dr Wolou Sourou of the University of Lomé.
With the desire to promote a resounding message of disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation for a world of peace echoed across the Continent, UNREC formally invited all Africa-based United Nations Country Teams as well as national authorities to actively celebrate the International Day of Peace as well as the Disarmament Week, which is celebrated from the 24th to 30th October 2016.