International Day of Peace: Global peace remains the EU’s main goal
Today, two billion people – a quarter of the globe’s inhabitants – live in a conflict-affected area.
The long-running violent conflict in Syria has killed more than 350,000. Killings of entire villages and massive human rights violations occur regularly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In Yemen, 10 years of fighting have pushed millions into hunger. Gang violence continues to claim hundreds of lives in Haiti. Myanmar, Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Sudan experience deadly internal conflict.
With widespread allegations of systematic torture, rape and summary execution of civilians, the Russian aggression in Ukraine has caused tens of thousands of casualties and displaced more than 12 million Ukrainians so far. By disrupting food supply chains Russia’s actions have destabilised the global economy and jeopardised global security. By degrading the security environment in Europe, its actions attack settled international norms such as the territorial integrity of states and the self-determination of peoples, and threaten the very foundations of the international order.
International Peace Day is an occasion to recall the need for a global peace and security commitment by all. Despite multiple crises fuelling global insecurity – climate change, water shortage and demographic pressure – the EU must keep on working to achieve global peace.
How is that so? Global peace requires a strong focus on preventive action. Once violent conflict erupts, there are often few viable options to end it peacefully. Assessing the underlying structural factors and deep-seated dynamics that lead to violence helps avert the worst.
As a force for peace and reconciliation for over 70 years, the EU has developed a vast conflict prevention and peacebuilding toolbox ranging from early warning to peace mediation. The EU continues to engage in crisis response, deploying military and civilian crisis management missions and operations to fragile environments. The EU has instruments for stabilisation and peacebuilding to help ensure sustainable peace.
The EU invests heavily in peace. NDICI-Global Europe, the EU’s main tool to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable development, is a peace instrument at its core. It channels EUR 79.5 billion into development cooperation between 2020 and 2027.
As a lead proponent and defender of a rules based international order, the EU believes that overcoming the global challenges to peace requires a strong, UN-centred multilateral system that is fit for the world of tomorrow. Promoting effective global governance and upholding the UN Charter is at the heart of the EU’s priorities for the 77th session of the ongoing UN General Assembly.
The EU is committed to supporting the resolution of violent conflict through peaceful means. Preventing conflict, building peace and strengthening international security will at times require coercive measures as well. In an era of strategic competition and complex security threats, the EU set up its European Peace Facility (EPF), which expanded its ability to provide military support to partners in compliance with international human rights law and international humanitarian law.
Finally, by fostering peaceful and inclusive societies around the globe, bringing down barriers between nations and developing people-to-people engagement, the EU contributes to build lasting peace.