International Day of Peace 2019

Remarks delivered by Turhan Saleh, UNDP Resident Representative on behalf of  Aeneas Chuma, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator


Senior Government Officials,

Development Partners,

Members of the Media,

UN Colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am speaking here today on behalf of Mr. Aeneas Chuma, UN Humanitarian Coordinator and Resident Coordinator in Ethiopia. 

Let me begin by congratulating the Ministry of Peace and the UN family for jointly organizing this important event.

The International Day of Peace is marked each year across the world on the 21st of September. This year, the theme of the Day is Climate Action for Peace.

‘Climate Action for Peace’ brings a clear message: the global climate emergency is a threat to security and stability. Ethiopia like all nations, is affected by climate change. In a context of a growing population, degraded land, water and forest resources, extreme weather events, and more frequent and severe disasters, it is possible to imagine increasing disputes over dwindling resources fuelling climate-related conflict.   Many people may be forced to move from their homes as well, as the environment becomes too hostile to support life and livelihoods.  This, in turn, could trigger significant instability both within and across borders.

It is, therefore, clear to the UN that peace can only be achieved if concrete action is taken to combat climate change. UN Secretary-General António Guterres once said ‘nature does not negotiate’ and emphasized four key measures that Governments should prioritize in order to reach carbon neutrality by 2050: tax pollution, not people; stop subsidizing fossil fuels; stop building new coal plants by 2020; focus on a green economy, not a grey economy. 

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We need to pay heed to this advice.  Indeed, today, 23 September, marks day when the United Nations is convening a Climate Action Summit to urge all nations to come up with ambitious plans to implement the Paris Agreement. The Summit will focus on the heart of the problem – the sectors that create the most emissions and the areas where building resilience could make the biggest difference – as well as provide leaders and partners the opportunity to demonstrate both their commitment and their ambition.

Today, the United Nations, working with the Government of Ethiopia, calls on all Ethiopians to reaffirm their commitment to climate action, peace and development. 

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Peace cannot exist, however, without tolerance.  If we respect each other’s right to be different and view diversity as a strength – irrespective of where we come from, the ethnicities we represent, the languages we speak, the faiths and traditions we hold, the history we have, and the ideas and opinions we espouse – we can build a strong culture of peace.  And this culture of peace will yield many benefits in shared prosperity, greater unity and progress in many fields. 

The alternative is simply not an option because, after all is said and done, peace is the bed rock of our human civilisation and our national existence.

I wish you all an inspiring International Day of Peace!

Thank you.




Speech by
Turhan Saleh
Resident Representative
Photo of Turhan Saleh
UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Environment Programme
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women