The 7th Element of the SDGs

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"Peace is a journey of mutual respect, tolerance and acceptance and not a designated stop like the grave yard. It is a tangible reality that is attainable rather than a mystical abstract term". Chimezie Udechukwu

Today is the International Day for Peace and I have always held that " graveyard peace is like snow sprinkled with hot water, its end is imminent."

You cannot achieve peace if you don't accept the fact that we have differences which we must embrace and tolerate; and, similarities which we must promote and celebrate.  This is the core of inclusion and diversity at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.

We wake up every day to news of violence in Northern Nigeria, Congo DR, Syria, Myanmar, Cameroun and the litany continues.. this further shows how divisive we have become, how much we have either refused to build or stopped building, using peace as our blocks, towards a safer and cleaner world.

No building is finished even when construction is complete. Every building is a continuous process of maintenance to avoid depreciation, defacement and abandonment. The same goes with the peace process. It is a continuous efforts of collective inputs geared towards a solid sustainable culture of acceptance, harmonious coexistence and love. When these ingredients are inside the pot, the peace soup becomes more palatable to relish.

This year, theme is *Right to Peace - The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70 is quite poignant and points to the essence of justice in the promotion of peace. In a world where the inalienable rights of individuals are trampled on daily because of their ethnic background, religious association and even political affiliations, there is a compelling need to revisit the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as codified in 1948.

There are six elements that are critical in delivering the SDGs. They include;

1. Dignity: to end poverty and fight inequalities

2. People: to ensure healthy lives, knowledge, and the inclusion of women and children

3. Prosperity: to grow a strong, inclusive, and transformative economy

4. Planet: to protect our ecosystems for all societies and our children

5. Justice: to promote safe and peaceful societies, and strong institutions

6. Partnership: to catalyse global solidarity for sustainable development

At the 70th  session of the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 when the SDGs was signed, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari stated that Peace should be added to the 6 other elements that makes up the SDGs and I agree, if only he too can match words with action.

Why?

It is simple.

There can not be sustainable development without peace building. Peace building is a holistic package. It is imperative that we key into the culture of peace campaign of UNESCO.

Again, I have always argued that "Peace is the language of development and service is the currency of peace. When a leader fails to render service to his people then he is depriving his people the dividends of leadership and that fuels frustration which begets aggression. This is how civil strife erupts. This trend and pattern can be avoided."

Therefore it is safe to state that Peace transcends religion, culture and political affiliation. This is because violence has no filial or consanguine knowledge. It is imperative we give peace a chance and continue to mould the building blocks of peace.

We must not be like Robert Frost's definition of a Diplomat as "A man who always remembers a woman's birthday but never remembers her age." but like Democritus emphasize our global citizenship when we believe in this statement; "to a wise and good man the whole earth is his fatherland."

Our world and indeed our continent can thrive again if we continue to invest in the building blocks of peace.

I am Chimezie Judemary Udechukwu. I Speak. I Compere. I Volunteer. I Preach Peace and I believe in Nigeria.

What's your pledge for Peace?

OjisiEmezie

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