UN Joint Statement: Commemorating the International Day of Peace
Kampala, 21 September, 2013 - Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. Today Uganda joins the rest of the world to commemorate the day as stipulated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1981. The International Day of Peace is dedicated to strengthening the principles of peace, both within and among all nations and people.
Uganda, like many African countries, has suffered more than two decades of war which have had adverse effects on communities especially children, women and young people leaving many traumatised.
The theme this year ‘Education for Peace’ provides an opportunity to reemphasize the need for peace education as one of the channels through which a culture for building peace can be realized. It is therefore important to recognise the crucial role of education as a foundation and sustainable channel in building a peaceful nation.
Over the years, a number of regions in Uganda have been affected by conflict and war. The United Nations in Uganda commends the Government of Uganda for spearheading the continued peace talks with the rebel groups in northern Uganda which have resulted in permanent peace in the region not to mention the improved security in the Karamoja region as a result of the successful disarmament programme spearheaded by the Government.
“If we want the nation to be a better place, there is a need to invest in education for peace,” Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, UN Resident Coordinator in Uganda, mentioned. “Peace education should be extended to everybody and in so doing, resolving conflict through violence and war will reduce,” she added.
Education, both formal and informal, is the key to uniting nations and also brings human beings closely together. This is therefore the reason why peace building and education is recommended for the areas that were most affected by conflict in Uganda. To provide a lasting solution, the United Nations in Uganda has supported the Ministry of Education with inculcating peace building and education into the primary teacher’s curriculum as well as primary school level. Teaching peace and conflict resolution in schools builds a foundation for a culture of peace, which later translates into a long term strategy for avoiding conflicts.
Under UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) leadership on education issues, as the Co-chair of the Education Development Partners Group, the United Nations in Uganda continues to work closely with the government to support education in post conflict districts thereby encouraging children to enrol in school, stay in school and complete school. The agency embarked on Go-to-School, Back-to-School, Stay-in-School (GBS) campaigns in 28 post conflict and least performing districts of the country with support from the Peace building and Education programme, to consolidate earlier gains made through strategic support to quality basic education. This has led to an increase in enrolment and in the overall improvement in the quality of teaching and learning.
Important to note too is that conflicts deter development, break down social fabrics and leave communities languishing in poverty. In response, various development partners and the UN continue to support those affected by the conflict in the past years by empowering communities to resolve conflicts through peaceful means.
This year, the International Day of Peace celebrations will be held in Moroto District to celebrate the achievements made so far in ensuring this region of the country also enjoys peace as well as highlight the challenges that remain to map a way forward.
For more information please contact:
Michael Wangusa, Communication Officer, UN Resident Coordinators Office
Telephone: +256-417-112 100; Cell phone: +256-772 – 651 465