By Millicent Senava Mannah
September 21st every year is a day set aside to commemorate peace across the world. In light of this, the Independent Commission for Peace and National Cohesion, popularly known as the Peace Commission, in partnership with Talking Drum Studio, UNESCO, Agiamondo, and other like-minded organizations, yesterday, commemorated International Peace Day with the theme; “Action for Peace; Our Ambition for the Global Goals, Ensuring the Right to Peace”. The auspicious event was held at the Bintumani International Conference Hall, Aberdeen, Freetown.
Each year the International Day of Peace (IDP) is observed around the world on 21 September. The UN General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire. Never has our world needed peace more.
One of the members of the Board of ICPNC, Edward Kpakra, in his opening statement stated that the commemoration is a call to action that recognizes individual and collective responsibility to foster peace adding that fostering peace contributes to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) further underscoring that achieving the Sustainable Development Goals will create a culture of peace for all.
He commended Sierra Leoneans for maintaining the peace in the country expressing the view that they hope to achieve the first place in Africa in the next World’s Global Peace Index also mentioning that for now the country occupies the 3rd place in Africa in the present index.
The Keynote Speaker, the UN Resident Coordinator, Babatunde Ahonsi, said peace is needed today more than ever stating how , war and conflict are unleashing devastation, poverty, and hunger, and driving tens of millions of people from their homes.
He maintained that, climate chaos is all around and how even peaceful countries are gripped by inequalities and political polarization.
The Resident Coordinator revealed that he welcomes the idea of the ECOWAS Secretary General in setting up a dialogue between the two main political parties (SLPP and APC) in the country to resolve differences. He advised stakeholders to make the process genuine and honest.
Babatunde Ahonsi emphasized that conflict prevention is better than peace building. According to him, the aspirations of the vulnerable must be met, as they should leave no one behind.
The US Ambassador, Bryan David Hunt, said there are so many factors hindering global peace ranging from violence, extremists, wars to climate change amongst others emphasizing a more collective and inclusive action towards achieving global peace.
He continued that the war in Ukraine and other parts in the world have created lots of suffering and humanitarian crisis across the world ensuring their commitment to the fight for peace in the country and the world at large.
The EU Ambassador, Manuel Muller, commended the people of Sierra Leone for their actions towards keeping the peace in the country stating how they all have interests in putting an end to aggression, for peace to prevail.
He noted that peace is a collective effort and that everyone should come on board to foster the peace in the world.
The Representative of Agiamondo pointed out that, there is a need for global peace assuring the audience of their commitment towards achieving global peace.
Other speakers made salient contributions and a panel discussion was held on thematic areas related to peace and this year’s theme which climaxed the well attended and organized event.