Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks to the Peace Bell Ceremony on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the International Day of Peace, observed on 21 September:
Today is the International Day of Peace. It comes at a time when humanity is in crisis. COVID‑19 has claimed over 4 million lives and counting. The pandemic has shattered household and national economies alike. Conflicts are spinning out of control. Inequalities and poverty are growing. We face a planetary emergency in climate change. We struggle with mistrust in facts and science — and in one another. Each crisis threatens to pull humanity apart at a time when we need solidarity more than ever. Our world faces a stark choice: peace or perpetual peril.
My friends, we must choose peace. It is the only option to repair our broken world. We call on combatants around the world to lay down their arms and observe a day of global ceasefire. We need to focus on fighting humanity’s common enemy, COVID‑19.
We need solidarity to end this pandemic, urgently deliver life‑saving vaccines and treatment and support countries in the long road to recovery ahead. We need to intensify our work to reduce inequalities and end poverty. We need a bold global plan of action to heal our planet and make the transition to a green economy.
Most of all, we need to renew trust in one another. Peace and progress depend on coming together as a human family, united in our commitment to building a better and brighter world. We cannot allow our future to be eaten away by the acids of hatred, division, conflict and mistrust.
It is time to rebuild our world. To make peace with nature and with one another. To lift each other up, instead of knocking each other down. And to live up, finally, to the true promise and potential of humanity.
On this International Day of Peace, let’s recommit to one another. Let’s recommit to the best of humanity.
For information media. Not an official record.