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Events calender - Sunday, 21/09/2008
PINA Partnership with FemmLink on Pacific Partnership for Peacebuilding

From Fiji & Rotuma, to the Cook Islands, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. From Samoa, Tonga Aotearoa/New Zealand to New Caledonia and up north in the Marshall Islands the Pacific
People Building Peace Network called on the Pacific family across the ocean to link up in a region wide commemoration of the International Day of Peace, Sunday, 21 September.

September 21st of every year is declared by the member states of the UN as The International Day of Peace. The UN in 1981 declared a resolution sponsored by Costa Rica that
the third Tuesday of September, coinciding with the opening day of the UN General Assembly, as the International Peace Day devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among
all nations and peoples. The day provides a unique global platform inviting all governments, organizations of the UN, regional and non-government organizations, to commemorate the International Day of Peace through
public awareness and education. It is a global invitation to all nations and people to honor the day with a 24 hour of non-violence and ceasefire.

The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) with its local Pacific partners, Pacific People Building Peace (PPBP), once again in 2008 took on this special responsibility to bolster the voice for peace in the Pacific.

According to Mosese Waqa the Interim Chair, Regional Steering Group, Pacific People, the network was delighted that the voice for peace in the Pacific would be amplified this year, with a new partnership initiative with the leading news agency in the region, Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) to promote the principles, mission and purpose of the International Day of Peace through the development, production and distribution of a media toolkit which was offered a link between Pacific Peacebuilders and Pacific Media Professionals, coordinated by the GPPAC/IDP regional media focal point, femLINKPACIFIC

Why? Over the last few years, there has been a concerted effort by Peacebuilders in our region to organise activities for September 21st. From the launching of Peace Gardens, to the staging of Peace Vigils, civic education programmes, as well as Peace Walks and Peace Talks  these activities have taken place at every level of Pacific society, from the home to the community to the nation. While many public events have received media coverage, we are also mindful that much of the valuable work for peace remains invisible.

And according to Joseph Ealedona, the President of PINA, this was also an opportunity to consider the need to document efforts of Peacebuilders and journalists and other media professionals, during our region’s recent conflicts: “In our region, civilians, and journalists, members of our own association have faced the worst of times during the conflicts that have plagued countries in our region, yet they have put their lives at risk to bring you the stories of hope and peace.”

2008 International Day of Peace was also an opportunity to remember those who have lost their lives but let us also celebrate the peacemakers, those who are determined to continue to persevere in addressing the root causes of conflicts and human insecurities, as a way to build sustainable peace - from the home to the community to the national and regional level.ww

About the International Day of Peace

The UN International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by resolution 36/67 of the General Assembly to coincide every year with its opening session in September. In 2001 through resolution 55/282 the day was strengthened to be fixed annually on 21 September and to become a day of global ceasefire and nonviolence, an invitation to all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities for the duration of the Day. Lastly, the resolution invites all Member States, organisations of the United Nations system, regional and non-governmental organisations and individuals to “commemorate, in an appropriate manner, the International Day of Peace, including through education and public awareness, and to cooperate with the United Nations in the establishment of the global ceasefire.”

At the most basic level, the day calls for 24 hours of worldwide ceasefire and nonviolence. It exists to give people a chance to call for peace, individually or collectively.

This means different things in different places:
In countries that have known an extended period of peace, it is first and foremost a day for people on which to truly appreciate how fortunate this is, that it is important to work to maintain peace, and that it should never be taken for granted. It is also a day to educate yourself about all those not so fortunate who are living in conflict areas, and to express solidarity with them. It is a day to let political and communal leaders know that peace should take a central position in their policies. In conflict areas, 21 September also offers some concrete possibilities. It might provide a symbolic moment to start peace processes or negotiations. It gives added force to a call for peace and ceasefire. When the ceasefire is honoured, it provides an opportunity to access areas that might otherwise be closed off, to bring people their food, medicine or other necessities. Above all, it is a day for hope. A day of freedom from fear, a day to lead a normal life. For us all, it is a day to let those fighting for peace in their own homelands to know that millions worldwide celebrating the day support them in their struggle, that they are not forgotten.

The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) is a worldwide civil society network that promotes the importance of conflict prevention and peacebuilding. It was established in 2003 after then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in his 2001 report ‘Prevention of Armed Conflict’ said ‘(..) I urge NGOs with an interest in conflict prevention to organize an international conference of local, national and international NGOs on their role in conflict prevention and future interaction with the United Nations in this field.’ 

GPPAC is structured through fifteen regional networks, which are led by civil society network organisations working on conflict prevention and peacebuilding that believe in the idea of networking and cooperation. Each brought together civil society organisations active in conflict prevention and peacebuilding communities in order to articulate challenges to and recommendations for strengthened conflict prevention practices in their region and eventually on how together to make a difference.
Since the UN Global Conference, From Reaction to Prevention: Civil Society Forging Partnerships to Prevent Violent Conflict and Build Peace, at the UN Headquarters in New York in July 2005 where the GPPAC Global Action Agenda was presented to governments, regional governmental organizations, the UN and other civil society organizations, GPPAC has entered its implementation phase. For both the regional and global levels workplans have been developed for the period 2007-2010. A focus has been chosen for the several strategies, amongst which awareness raising, which aims to; ‘(..)Gain public support for conflict prevention and peacebuilding to achieve a sea change in both policymaking and in fostering a genuine culture of prevention in communities. Activities will focus initially on celebrating the UN International Day of Peace around the world each year on 21 September.’  

GPPAC has been actively encouraging and documenting the celebration of the International Day of Peace by GPPAC members around the world. Through these celebrations, GPPAC hopes to raise awareness about possibilities for peace and importance of the prevention of conflicts to turn violent.

For updates on both past and future activities, please check out
www.gppac.org and www.peoplebuildingpeace.org

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