Recalling that after the horrors of world war in the twentieth century, “the United Nations was created in the name of peace”, he affirmed that “we are united here today in our quest for peace”.
“Peace remains our shooting star and our most precious goal,” said Mr. Guterres, accepting the award which is awarded to those who seek the peaceful coexistence of peoples.
A “person of faith”
The Franciscan Peace Lamp is a replica of a glass oil lamp that shines on the monastic tomb of Saint Francis of Assisi, which throughout his life inspired environmental ethics.
The prize was first awarded in 1981. Past laureates include Pope John Paul II, the Dalai Lama, Saint Therese of Calcutta and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
“As a person of faith with a deep appreciation and respect for the mission of Saint Francis, this award and this ceremony are particularly significant,” said the head of the United Nations.
FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu receives the Peace Lamp from Saint Francis on behalf of the Secretary-General.
From the start of his first term, the UN chief made the promotion of peace his top priority.
After seeing some of the worst impacts of conflict during his tenure as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, he launched “a rise in diplomacy for peace.”
“I put more emphasis on prevention, establishing more rigorous systems and frameworks to analyze risks, strengthen decision-making and help Member States act before violence escalates,” said he said during the ceremony, by video link.
“When the Covid-19 made its appearance, I understood that it would constitute a new threat to peace and I immediately called for a global ceasefire to fight our common enemy: the virus”, argues the head of the UN.
As an honest mediator, bridge builder and messenger of peace, the Secretary-General is determined to use his good offices to build on these initiatives.
“But the struggle for peace is often a Sisyphean task, given the complexity of today’s interrelated conflicts,” he explained. “We live in a world where peace is elusive and under enormous threats.”
Mr. Guterres painted a picture of countries and regions that suffer from protracted conflict and places where peace is routinely underestimated and undermined, stressing that times like this are all the more important to “honor peace and reflect on our duty to defend and promote it ”.
The demands of peace
Because it is not a passive acceptance of the status quo, but a concrete act, and sometimes a difficult choice, said the senior UN official, “peace makes demands on us”
“But in our fractured and troubled world, this is a vital requirement. It’s the only. It remains the driving force behind the work of the United Nations, every day, in every country, ”he added.
Quoting Pope Francis’ encyclical Fratelli Tutti, the Secretary-General reaffirmed that it is only by taking the path of peace, in solidarity, that we can build a better future for all, “because peace can to accomplish wonders that war will never be able to achieve ”.
“In a world where we can choose everything, let us choose peace,” he concluded.