GAAMAC Chair statement on International Day of Peace 2020

21 September 2020
Today, we celebrate, commemorate and raise awareness about the importance of peace and a culture of non-violence.

This special day is also the opportunity to reiterate our full support for the UN Secretary-General’s Appeal for Global Ceasefire. Again, we call on all armed actors, state and non-state, to use dialogue instead of violence and to engage in ceasefires and negotiations to solve all relevant issues that need to be addressed.

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed existing vulnerabilities in our societies and has raised unprecedented challenges to communities around the world, especially to those in conflict areas. The crisis has also exacerbated political, economic and social divisions, deepened the gender gap and triggered a rise in discrimination, hate speech and incitement to violence.

Once again, this is a reminder that investing in prevention is much more efficient and less costly. Responding only when crises are already ongoing is often too late and inefficient. It also has a higher human and financial cost. When it comes to atrocities, no society is immune. Therefore, sustaining and promoting peace requires early action and continuous efforts from all stakeholders: states, civil society and the private sector, with the support of regional and international organizations.

The road to an inclusive and sustainable peace is complex, context-specific and cannot be achieved alone. In this time of pandemic, we should also not forget that our planet requires a vibrant attention and should be included in the prevention agenda.

More than ever, given the complexity of many situations, we shall act together and mobilize all the possible goodwill to address the root causes of violence and engage together in prevention efforts, now. The GAAMAC community, united in prevention, remains committed to promoting solidarity, human rights, international cooperation and impactful joint action to make peace a reality on the ground.

Dear friends, partners and colleagues, today, as a community of commitment that I have the honour to chair, we can indeed contribute to designing a more peaceful, a more just and more dignifying post-COVID-19 world by working together to strengthen the capacities of our societies to prevent.

Prevention must be seen happening on the ground. Let’s do it together. We can make a difference.

Ms. Mô Bleeker is Chair of GAAMAC and serves as Special Envoy for Dealing with the Past and Prevention of Atrocities at the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), where she has been working in different positions since 2003.

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