Every year on the International Day of Peace (September 21), the United Nations calls on warring parties to lay down their arms and observe a 24-hour global ceasefire. The symbolism of a day without fighting is a crucial reminder that conflict can and must come to an end. But peace is about much more than putting weapons aside. It is about building a global society in which people live free from poverty and share the benefits of prosperity. It is about growing together and supporting each other as a universal family. The theme of this year’s Peace Day highlights the 17 Sustainable Development Goals – the SDGs – as Building Blocks for Peace. 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. When the 193 Member States of the United Nations unanimously adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals last September, their message was clear. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IS ESSENTIAL FOR LASTING PEACE, AND BOTH DEPEND ON RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS. We need to protect our planet. And only by working together can we make our common home safe for future generations. All of us can be sustainable development advocates and spread the word about the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. And we can all hold our governments to account for keeping their pledge to the future. Let us all work together to help all human beings achieve dignity and equality; to build a greener planet; and to make sure no one is left behind. On this International Day of Peace, express your commitment to peace by becoming a champion of the Sustainable Development Goals.
— UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon