21 September 2016 - Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals were unanimously adopted by the 193 Member States of the United Nations at an historic summit of the world’s leaders in New York in September 2015. The new ambitious 2030 agenda calls on countries to begin efforts to achieve these goals over the next 15 years. It aims to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.

The Sustainable Development Goals are integral to achieving peace in our time, as development and peace are interdependent and mutually reinforcing.

“The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are our shared vision of humanity and a social contract between the world's leaders and the people,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “They are a to-do list for people and planet, and a blueprint for success.”

Sustainability addresses the fundamental needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Modern challenges of poverty, hunger, diminishing natural resources, water scarcity, social inequality, environmental degradation, diseases, corruption, racism and xenophobia, among others, pose challenges for peace and create fertile grounds for conflict. Sustainable development contributes decisively to dissipation and elimination of these causes of conflict and provides the foundation for a lasting peace. Peace, meanwhile, reinforces the conditions for sustainable development and liberates the resources needed for societies to develop and prosper.

Every single one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is a building block in the global architecture of peace. It is critical that we mobilise means of implementation, including financial resources, technology development and transfer, and capacity-building, as well as the role of partnerships. Everyone has a stake and everyone has a contribution to make.

The UN Secretary General said:

"Peace is about much more than putting weapons aside. It is about building a global society in which people live free from poverty and share the benefits of prosperity. It is about growing together and supporting each other as a universal family.

The theme of this year’s Peace Day highlights the 17 Sustainable Development Goals – the SDGs – as Building Blocks for Peace. Conflict often starts when people compete over limited resources. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is our blueprint to prevent such conflicts from arising by making sure no one is left behind.

When the 193 Member States of the United Nations unanimously adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals last September, their message was clear.

Sustainable development is essential for lasting peace, and both depend on respect for human rights. We need to protect our planet. And only by working together can we make our common home safe for future generations.

All of us can be sustainable development advocates and spread the word about the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. And we can all hold our governments to account for keeping their pledge to the future.

Let us all work together to help all human beings achieve dignity and equality; to build a greener planet; and to make sure no one is left behind.

On this International Day of Peace, express your commitment to peace by becoming a champion of the Sustainable Development Goals.