The International Day of Peace is observed annually around the world on 21st of September. The United Nations General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to sternghening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples. The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) wishes to join all Kenyans and the rest of the world in commemorating this year’s International Day of Peace. The 2019 Theme, “Climate Action for Peace” emphasises on the importance of combating climate change as a way to protect and promote peace throughout the world. This occassion therefore provides us with an important platform to educate the public on the challenges of climate change in relation to peace; to mobilize political will and resources to address environmental degradation, and to celebrate and reinforce sustainable development initiatives for the good of humanity.
The United Nations Members States adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 because they understoood 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. The Sustainable Development Goal number 13 “Climate Action” is a call for immediate action by all to lower greenhouse emissions, build resilience and improve education on climate change.
There is a very clear connection between enviromental conservation and peace. The unhealthy competition for and exploitation of natural resources and other environmental factors are linked to conflicts across the world in a variety of ways. The damage and degradation of the enviroment in most cases threatens livelihoods, aggravates tensions and in turn generating or furthering vulnerability to conflict. Severe enviromental damage such as deforestation or soil and water erosion usually fuel tensions as well as inhibit conservation efforts and consequently sustainable development.
Environmental education and awareness is an effective strategy for enviromental conservation and realisation of peaceful enviroments. The awareness on enviromental issues prepares the individual to be able to balance between his/her vital needs and the natural environment. It also increases the human capacity and capability to participate in environmental management and in solving environmental crisis and challenges. Therefore, in our endevour to promote “Climate Action for Peace” we need to create awareness in behavioral change, embracing ethical values to protect and conserve the environment and improve the quality of human life.
The National Cohesion and Integration Commission is a statutory body, mandated to promote equality of opportunity, good relations, harmony and peaceful co-existence between persons of different ethnic and racial communities in Kenya and to advise the Government on all aspects thereof. The Commission, in collaboration with various peace actors across the country, have continued to put in place deliberate efforts and interventions in the peace sector with an aim of enhancing peaceful co-existence, cohesion, integration and realisation of a united nation.
In the lead up to the celebration and marking of the International Day of Peace, we want to urge all peace actors, and in particular the Amani (Peace) Clubs fraternity across all institutions of learning in Kenya, to heed the United Nations call that is directed to each one of us to take both an individual and collective responsibility to tackle climate change. Activities such as tree planting and cleaning our surroundings may be used to contribute towards improving on our environment. Every human being is part of the solution and every positive action, no matter how little, will impact on the enviroment and eventually transform our Nation and the World in general.
Happy International Day of Peace, 2019.
National Cohesion and Integration Commission
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