New York

17 September 2021

Secretary-General's message to the Virtual Student Observance of the International Day of Peace

Dear students from around the world.

On this special observance of International Peace Day, we salute the voices, vision and commitment of young people in shaping a more peaceful world.

You are leaders, changemakers and advocates in our societies.

You’re speaking out against violence, discrimination and inequalities.

You’re calling for an end to conflicts.

You’re leading the charge for urgent action on climate.

And when COVID-19 struck, you stood up to volunteer in your communities — and support your peers through a difficult and isolating period in history.

Your activism is making your communities — and our world — better, safer, and healthier.

As we mark the International Day of Peace, we need you more than ever.

Conflicts are raging. The planet is on fire. Inequalities and poverty are deepening. And the pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the world.

Today, I ask three things of you.

First: Join the United Nations’ call for a global 24-hour ceasefire — and for all parties to conflict to commit to a lasting, sustainable peace.

Second: Keep pushing governments and other leaders to close the vaccine gap between rich and poor countries.

And third: keep sounding the alarm on the climate emergency engulfing our planet.

As we seek peace among and within nations, we need to seek peace with our planet, too.

Extreme weather, melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and polluted air and water threaten our very existence.

As we prepare for the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow, keep pushing governments for a commitment  to net-zero emissions by mid-century.

Bolder, more ambitious 2030 climate plans.

No new coal plants after 2021. 

Phasing-out fossil fuel subsidies. 

And support for developing countries as they transition to green economies.

Dear students,

As we envision our world after the pandemic, we cannot go back to what it was.

With your help, we can recover better and stronger.

We can transform economies.

And we can plant the seeds of peace and progress for our human family.

Thank you for celebrating peace with us today, and every day. I count on your continued support as we work together to build a more equitable and sustainable world for all.