By Shadrach Aziz Kamara
In commemorations of the World Peace Day, the Independent Commission for Peace and National Cohesion (ICPNC) in partnership with Talking Drum Studio, UNESCO and Agiamondo has on Thursday 21st September 2023 commemorated the World Peace Day, with the theme: “Action for Peace; Our Ambition for the Global Goals, Ensuring the Right to Peace”.
The ceremony took place at the Bintumani International Conference Hall, Aberdeen, Freetown.
Speaking on behalf of Board Members, Mr. Edward Kpakra said that the commemoration is a call to action that recognizes individual and collective responsibility to foster peace in the country, adding that fostering peace will lead to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He continued that achieving the Sustainable Development Goals will create a culture of peace for all. He furthered that Sierra Leoneans should maintain the peace in the country, adding that they hope to achieve the first place in Africa in the next World’s Global Peace Index. Mr. Kpakra disclosed that Sierra Leone currently occupies third place in Africa in the present peace index.
In his keynote addressed, the United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator, Babatunde Ahonsi, said that peace is needed now in the country more than ever before, adding that war and conflict have severe consequences. He furthered that climate chaos is all over the world, adding that even the peaceful countries are gripped by inequalities and political polarization.
He revealed that the idea of the ECOWAS Secretary General in setting up a dialogue between the two main political parties SLPP and APC in the country is to resolve the differences, adding by calling on both the SLPP & APC stakeholders to make the process genuine and honest. According to the Resident Coordinator, conflict prevention is better than peace building, adding that the aspirations of the vulnerable must be met, as they should leave no one behind.
In his part, the U.S Ambassador Bryan David Hunt, said that there are so many factors hindering global peace ranging from violence, extremists, wars to climate change amongst others, adding that a more collective and inclusive action is needed in achieving global peace. He continued that the war in Ukraine and other parts in the world have created lots of suffering and humanitarian crisis across the world and ensuring their commitment to the fight for peace in the country and the world at large is very important.
The EU Ambassador Manuel Muller commended the people of Sierra Leone for their actions towards keeping the peace in the country, adding that they all have interests in putting an end to aggression, for peace to prevail. He pointed out that peace is a collective effort and everyone should come on board to foster the peace in the world.
Other speakers made meaningful contribution and a panel discussion was held on the thematic areas related to peace.