By Laura Slessor
September 21, NAIROBI—Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Kenya joined the East African Ramgarhia Board, the United Religions Initiative (URI), the United Nations Environmental Programme, the Interreligious Council of Kenya and other partners to celebrate the International Day of Peace 2019 at the Hindu Temple in Pangani, Kenya.
Held under the theme “Climate Action for Peace,” the event also commemorated the 550th Birthday of Guru Nanak DevJi (1469 –1539) the founder of Sikhism and the first of the ten Sikh Gurus. The event brought together several other organizations such as the Kenya Interfaith Network, Mother Earth Network, All African Conference of Churches, Baha’i International Community, Unity Earth, and Africa Media Initiative, all of whom agreed to form a joint partnership in the pursuit of peace.
The Chief guest H.E Rev Dr. Samuel Kobia, Advisor of the President of Kenya on Cohesion, Peace, and Conflict Resolution pointed to a longstanding adage saying that as humans, we need to consider ourselves not owning the earth but rather, that we need to know that we have borrowed it from our grandchildren. Other speakers included Mr. Iyad Abumogli from the United Nations Environmental Programme who said that Climate Change has been identified as the major threat to humanity and that sustainable development cannot be achieved without first building peace. He added that the values of peace and tolerance are a top priority at the United Nations.
Ambassador Mussie Hailu, URI’s Regional Director for Africa and Representative at African Union and UN office in Africa took the opportunity to announce that the Women of the War Victims of Northern Uganda would be the recipients of the Africa Peace Award 2019.
Speaking at the event, GPF Kenya Executive Director Mr. Daniel Juma Omondi stressed the importance of shared values in achieving sustainable peace and added that it was time to move from religious tolerance to religious cooperation.
The Global Peace Foundation which has a Special Consultative Status with the UN ECOSOC and is affiliated to the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) joins other partners to commemorate the International Day of Peace annually. Each year, the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on September 21. The General Assembly declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and its people. This year’s theme was “Climate Action for Peace,” drawing attention to the importance of combatting climate change as a way to protect and promote peace throughout the world. Peace can only be achieved if concrete action is taken to combat climate change. In a speech read on his behalf, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, “Nature does not negotiate.”