While visiting with Pope Francis at the Vatican on 19 December 2019, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said: “In these turbulent and trying times, we must stand together for peace and harmony.” Mr. Guterres conveyed his “deep appreciation” for the Catholic leader’s “extraordinary service in promoting interfaith relations,” including his landmark declaration with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar on human fraternity for world peace and living together. “This declaration is extremely important when we see such dramatic attacks on religious freedom and the lives of believers,” said the Secretary-General.
International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.