Zimbabwe joins the world in celebrating United Nations International Day of Peace

Zimbabwe, on Wednesday, 27th September 2017, joined the rest of the world in celebrating the United Nations International Day of Peace in support of the ‘Together for Peace’ initiative.

Commemorated every year on 21 September and with this year's day being observed under the theme "Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All", International Day of Peace is a day set aside for all humanity to commit to peace above all differences and to contribute to building a culture of peace. The event was hosted by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) attended by development partners including relevant government ministries and youth.

UNDP Country Director, Mr Georges van Montfort guest speaker at the event, observed the UN Secretary General speech and reiterated two parts of the message, ‘the need to work for peace everyday and everywhere’ and ‘that peace is the foundation for progress and well-being’.

Mr Georges van Montfort, who has been in Zimbabwe for just about 3 months, noted that peace always ought to be context specific and hence effective participation by all and creation of  relevant spaces of dialogue were instrumental. He emphasised that ‘peaceful societies are not necessarily those devoid of conflict...Infact, conflict is a key aspect of existence and if well managed, can lead to positive transformation at individual and societal level’.

Responding to a question from the audience on ‘inclusivity’, during the question and answer session, Mr Georges Van Montfort, said that the use of key targeting instruments for instance, vulnerability maps, makes it possible for development partners to identify vulnerable groups in sometimes hard to reach zones and also women and girls whose undiluted voice mattered in decision-making and policy design.

UNDP’s programmes in Zimbabwe support technical and advisory to enhance the capacity of national and community-level institutions mandated to promote peace, prevent conflict, facilitate healing and reconciliation through: firstly, targeted support to the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission; secondly, strategy for enhancing conflict prevention and peace building efforts at community level; and third and finally, supports brokering, learning and knowledge partnerships through south-south cooperation to enhance capacity of peace actors.

Among the activities of the day, was entertainment by a four member team- a part of the 200 ensemble, Guitarists for Peace who also performed a song for peace. Additionally, there was an exhibition of peace drawings by school children from St Peters Mbare, Hillbright Science College and Dzivarasekwa High School. From these two activities, it emerged that peace for them was about harmony.