Note from editors |

The Urge to Maintaining Peace Amidst the Mistrust and Division in the Age of Pandemic

Note from Editors | 21 September 2020
General Assembly Holds Plenary Meeting
General Assembly Holds Plenary Meeting on 3 September 2020 in Ne York City. The UN General Assembly has declared The International Day of Peace as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire. Photo courtesy of United Nations/Eskinder Debebe/NOW!JAKARTA

Entering the last quarter of 2020, international communities across the globe are still in the struggle to combat the common enemy, the Covid-19 disease which had cost us nearly almost one million lives and other multidimensional impacts on the social to the economy that already threatened many who can’t afford refuge during the ongoing crisis since the coronavirus outbreak became a global concern and disruptions worldwide.  

This year, the challenge is unimaginable during the unprecedented times which drive the United Nations to call for an action to shape peace together using the moment of the annual commemoration of International Day of Peace (Peace Day) on 21 September. The UN General Assembly encourages countries to observe the day by adhering to "24 hours of non-violence".

Last year, PeaceDay addressed the environmental crisis through a campaign on ‘Climate Action for Peace’. This year, it has been clearer than ever that we are not each other’s enemy. Rather our common enemy is a tireless virus that threatened our health, security, and very way of life as UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for a global ceasefire.

“Pull back from hostilities. Put aside mistrust and animosity. Silence the guns; stop the artillery; end the airstrikes. This is crucial…to help create corridors for life-saving aid, to open precious windows for diplomacy, to bring hope to places among the most vulnerable to Covid-19,” Guterres stated on his official remarks for the UN.

During a never-ending crisis that has been happening for more than a half of the year, first world country including Europes, Australia, and America signaled the threat of economic recession after months and months of lockdown and disruption of activities that hinder one’s ability to survive life which could implicate to potential following problems including domestic violation, criminal, to hunger. 

“We encourage people to celebrate the day by spreading compassion, kindness, and hope in the face of the pandemic. Covid-19 has reminded us that we are all interconnected and need to work together to overcome global challenges. It is time to put the armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives," Guterres said.

Peacemaking has been never-ending work for those who have been promoting and advocating the campaign in everyday life as the ideal vision of humanities is not something that already achieved with existing conflicts and violence are everywhere before the pandemic occurred. 

2020 Global Peace Index shows that 81 countries have improved the rank index to be more peaceful in 2020 than in 2019.  On the other hand, the is deteriorations as 80 countries were less peaceful in 2020 than in 2019. The data shows that Iceland, New Zealand, Portugal Austria, and Denmark are on the top rank as the most peaceful countries in the world while Afghanistan, Syria, Irag, South Sudan, and Yemen are in the lowest rank as the there are remaining conflict, war, and security crisis in those Middle Eastern and African nations. Indonesia is listed in 49th rank from a total of 163 countries, according to the report by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP). 

The United Nation stated that there is also more to peace than putting aside arms. The intergovernmental organisations stated that true peace depends on societies being inclusive, healthy, and economically stable. It requires a predictable climate, an unpolluted environment, and solidarity across community lines, according to the UN.  
 

International Dialogue

In the new era of social distancing, The United Nations marks its 75 anniversary and invites people everywhere to join UN75, the world’s largest global conversation on building a peaceful and prosperous future. Scheduled to be held in Buea, Cameroon, The UN hopes the participation from a diverse range of communities including youth to promote the ideals of the International Day of Peace from home. 

Covid-19 has exposed the fault lines in our societies, as marginalised communities suffer more than others from the pandemic’s effects. COVID-19-related hate speech and discrimination are on the rise, and even medical workers are being stigmatized.

Through the virtual meeting, our voice is more important than ever, The UN wants to hear the thoughts on how to weather this crisis, heal our planet and build peace by inviting communities across the globe who have access to the internet helping ones who have been struggling due to the impact of the remaining conflict, violence, and ongoing Covid-19 crises. 

On International Day of Peace in 2010, The UN engaged with youth to spread the campaign for peacemaking, empowering the role of the younger generation to create a better world and strive for peace by investing the study on this specific demographic. “We need the drive, ingenuity, and full involvement of young people to achieve the #GlobalGoals. A warm welcome to the next group of Young Leaders who will help lead the way. We count on you to continue advocating and pushing for a better world for all,” Guterres said during 2020 Young Leaders. 

It sounds very utopian when people talk about achieving peace but eventually, a single human being has the role to create collective movements to stand together against attempts to use the virus to promote mistrust and division due to the impact of the pandemic. The evidence of global movement led by youth had been headlining 2020 shown by the action to fights against conspiracy theory, systemic racism, as well as solidarity to build a massive campaign on green recovery. 

The biggest regional coalition in the western world, Europe Union through Vice President Josep Boreell Fontelles said that the outbreak of Covid-19 also exposes more fragilities across the globe, highlighting differences in societies, as well as putting into question the role of multilateralism, EU released.

During the celebration of #ASEANDay, regional youth organisations come together gathered Asian Youth Peace Network, ASEAN Youth Organization, and ASEAN Youth Forum, to build a coalition of youth councils, advisory boards, parliamentarians, political parties, young people in decision making spaces, and young peacebuilders across the region during ASEAN+ Youth Meeting on Peace and Security.

“We must work together to maintain our regional peace and stability not to be dragged into the storm of geopolitical tension or being forced to choose sides. Therefore, we must stay ahead of the curve to maintain our centrality, maintain our relevance and be at the driving seat in turning rivalry into cooperation, distrust into strategic trust,” said Retno L.P. Marsudi Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia on the occasion of the 53rd ASEAN Day in August.

Participate in the survey and join global conversation on un75.online. For more information about the International Day of Peace, visit the United Nations website on un.org.