Note No. 6528
18 September 2019

United Nations to Highlight Links Between Climate Action, Peace, During International Peace Day Observance, 20 September

The United Nations will celebrate the International Day of Peace on 20 September.  The theme of the 2019 observance, “Climate Action for Peace”, draws attention to the importance of combating climate change as a way to protect and promote peace throughout the world.

In a video message released ahead of the Day, the Secretary-General said:  “Today peace faces a new danger:  the climate emergency, which threatens our security, our livelihoods and our lives…  On this International Day of Peace, I urge all of you:  take concrete climate action and demand it of your leaders.  This is a race we can and must win.”

The International Day of Peace, traditionally observed on 21 September every year, was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly.  In 2001, the Assembly unanimously voted to designate the Day as a period of non-violence and ceasefire.  The United Nations invites all nations and peoples to honour a cessation of hostilities during the Day, and to otherwise commemorate it through education and public awareness on peace-related issues.

At United Nations Headquarters in New York, activities for the Day will begin at 9 a.m. on 20 September with the traditional Peace Bell Ceremony in the Peace Garden.  Secretary-General António Guterres and Tijjani Muhammad-Bande (Nigeria), President of the seventy-fourth session of the General Assembly, will ring the Peace Bell in the company of Koro Bessho, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, and Melissa Fleming, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications.  Joining them will be United Nations Messengers of Peace Midori Goto and Yo-Yo Ma.  Students will hold the flags of all 193 Member States, as well as that of the United Nations.  At 9:30 a.m., in Conference Room 4, more than 700 high school and university students will hear from the Secretary-General, Ms. Goto, Mr. Ma, Earth Guardians Youth Director Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, and Jayathma Wickramanayake, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth.

Students participating in New York, and by video link from the United Nations Mission in Kosovo, will present projects that illustrate how they have taken action to address climate change and thereby foster peace.  In addition, there will be a joint musical performance by Ms. Goto and Mr. Ma, as well as a dance performance by Premini and Neelakshi Thanan of Ilankai Tamil Mantram New Jersey, a Tamil community organization from Newark.  Kehkashan Basu, the founder of the Green Hope Foundation, will serve as the event’s youth moderator.

The Peace Bell ceremony is open to United Nations grounds pass holders.  The student observance is open to previously registered students and their chaperones. Students attending the observance will be given seating priority.  The Peace Bell ceremony and the student observance will also be broadcast live via United Nations Webcast at

Additional information, including the Secretary-General’s video message, is available in all six official United Nations languages on the International Day of Peace website at

Media contacts:  For the student observance, please contact Brenden Varma, Department of Global Communications, at

For the Peace Bell Ceremony/Messengers of Peace, please contact Jon Herbertsson, Department of Global Communications, at

For media accreditation, please contact the United Nations Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit at

For information media. Not an official record.