Each year the Peace and Security Department through the ‘Make Peace Happen’ campaign encourages citizens from all walks of life to contribute to making sustainable peace a reality and to start by commemorating Peace Day.

The AU calls once again on all Africans and people of African descent, united in diversity; young and old, men and women and from all walks of life; to join in solidarity as we observe and celebrate this international day of non-violence and cease-fire.

One of the key aspirations in Agenda 2063 (the Africa we Want), Africa’s blueprint for a prosperous continent, is to silence the guns by 2020. This Peace Day provides an ideal opportunity to pause for a moment and reflect on our progress towards this noble pursuit.

Time is running out, and we seem to be a considerable distance away from this moral imperative. Across the continent, the guns seem to have resurged and grown louder. We must double our efforts towards silencing the guns.

Therefore, all African governments, civil society organisations, private sector actors, faith-based groups, and citizens, persistently undertake individual and collective actions focused on promoting dialogue, reconciliation, tolerance and managing diversity.

No amount of fighting can replace dialogue. When accepting the Gulen Peace Award recently, I stressed the importance of better managing our diversity and promoting dialogue, and recognised the added responsibility that such awards bring. And called on us to enhance our capacities to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts to ensure a peaceful and stable world.