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International Day of Peace is a day that reminds us that peace is not merely the absence of violence and war, but the presence of justice and respect for human dignity. As we strive to build a culture of peace worldwide, we are aware that as long as basic human needs are not met, there can be no lasting peace. Respect for human dignity and justice means providing access to food, water, a safe place to live and basic healthcare. This year’s theme of “Climate Action for Peace” recognizes that global climate change, which affects supplies of food, water, and health, threatens peace and stability throughout the world. Natural disasters displace three times as many people as conflicts, forcing millions to leave their homes and seek safety elsewhere. The salinization of water and crops is endangering food security, and the impact on public health is escalating. The growing tensions over resources and mass migrations of people are affecting every country on every continent.

Peace can only be achieved if concrete action is taken to combat climate change.

“It is possible to achieve our goals, but we need decisions, political will and transformational policies to allow us to still live in peace with our own climate.” — Secretary-General António Guterres, 15 May 2019

God, on this special international day of peace, we pray for peace based on our shared common humanity, respect for human dignity, justice for all, and care for our common home. Help us to reach out to those in need of food, water, shelter, safety and hope. As we care for the poor and care for Earth, challenge us to examine our lives and discern how we can live more sustainably. May we be instruments of your peace in our world.