Press Release

Secretary-General: We Can and We Must Push for Peace

14 September 2023

Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks at the Peace Bell ceremony, in New York on 13 September:

Peace is the most fundamental job we have.  And it is not solely the responsibility of Governments or Presidents.  Peace is a job that belongs to each and every one of us.

But, as we gather today, peace is under assault across communities, countries and regions.  And peace is also under assault within the hearts and minds of people by the dark forces of disinformation and hate speech.

Drop by drop, the poison of war is infecting our world.  Placing millions in the line of fire.  Eroding human rights and the security and wellbeing of all people.  And reversing hard-won development gains.

But, we can all do our part to change that and nurture the seeds of hope, by rallying together to tackle the common challenges we face.

Challenges like poverty, hunger, discrimination and inequality. Challenges like those posed by rapid breakthroughs in technology -- including artificial intelligence -- which must be managed carefully to ensure that humanity is helped, not harmed.  And challenges like climate change, pollution and epic biodiversity loss.  For people and planet alike, we can -- and we must -- push for peace.

Pushing for peace means focusing on prevention, dialogue and mediation to heal divisions, defuse conflicts and ensure every community has a stake in a shared future.  Pushing for peace means rallying around the tools that support global trust and solidarity -- including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Charter.

Pushing for peace means addressing discrimination and racism. It means rescuing the Sustainable Development Goals and expanding opportunities for women and girls.  Pushing for peace means accelerating our battle against climate change, ending our addiction to fossil fuels and investing in renewable energy.  It means amplifying facts and science over lies and hate.  And pushing for peace means supporting activists, young and old, in their calls for progress.

Now more than ever, we need global solidarity, collective action, commitment and mutual trust.  Let us all pledge to be part of this push for peace.

Before I ring the Peace Bell, please join me in a brief moment of silence to reflect on the meaning and necessity of peace -- and what each one of us can do in our own way to deliver peace to our world.


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