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International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace

As the war in the Ukraine continues to rage, countries across the globe are continuing to call for peace.

Today, we mark the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace which is celebrated annually on 24 April and it seeks to reaffirm the UN Charter and its principles of resolving disputes among countries through peaceful means. The Day acknowledges the use of multilateral decision-making and diplomacy in achieving peaceful resolutions to conflicts among nations. It was established on 12 December 2018 through resolution A/RES/73/127 and was first observed on 24 April 2019.


Commitment to multilateralism and international peace and security was also reaffirmed by most world leaders in the General Debate in September 2018. This commitment was also reinforced in the discussion during the High-level Dialogue on Renewing the Commitment to Multilateralism on 31 October 2018.

On 12 December 2018, the General Assembly adopted the resolution, “International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace” (A/RES/73/127) by a recorded vote of 144 in favour to 2 against. By that text, the General Assembly invites all Member States, observers and organisations of the United Nations to observe the International Day in an appropriate manner and to disseminate the advantages of multilateralism and diplomacy for peace, including through educational and public awareness-raising activities.


Almost 4 years later, in March 2022 , we could never have anticipated SIGBI Ltd urging all parties involved in the Ukranian conflict to swiftly work for an agreed peaceful outcome. The devastating humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, and to stop the attacks on the lives, livelihoods, safety and welfare of the Ukrainian people.

SIGBI’s Emergency Relief Fund has already donated £5,000 to the British Red Cross Ukrainian Appeal to help those refugees who are fleeing the armed conflict, and those remaining in the Ukraine, plus £1,000 to Soroptimist International of Europe’s Disaster Relief Fund.

The escalation of conflict in Ukraine has caused destruction of civilian infrastructure and civilian casualties and has forced people to flee their homes seeking safety, protection and assistance. In the first week, more than a million refugees from Ukraine crossed borders into neighbouring countries, and many more are on the move both inside and outside the country. They are in need of protection and support. As the situation continues to unfold, according to the The Operational Data Portal (ODP) which was created in 2011 to enable UNHCR’s institutional responsibility to provide an information and data sharing platform to facilitate coordination of refugee emergencies it has recorded that in excess of 3 Million refugees have already fled Ukraine.

The Charter of the United Nations states that one of the United Nations’ purposes and principles is the commitment to settle disputes through peaceful means and the determination to succeeding generations from the scourge of war.

Conflict prevention remains, however, a relatively under-publicized aspect of the UN’s work. Meanwhile, the most efficient and desirable employment of diplomacy is to ease tensions before they result in conflict, or, if conflict breaks out, to act swiftly to contain it and resolve its underlying causes. Preventive diplomacy is very important in supporting United Nations efforts to assist in the peaceful settlement of disputes.

When writing this Blog, BBC News have reported that more than ten million people have now fled their homes in Ukraine because of the Russian invasion, according to the the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

As well as the four million who have left for neighbouring countries, another estimated 6.5 million people are thought to be displaced inside the war-torn country itself.


How can we help and influence?

As these numbers continue grow let us all hope that in our own way as individuals and as members of our clubs we find a way to support those that have been so badly  affected and support them to find peace and safety once again. One way is that we should lobby for full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000)  and related resolutions which are outlined in the recent SIGBI statement below

UNSCR 1325 was a milestone resolution including analysis and solutions – yet more than 21 years later it is still not implemented. It is a cornerstone for peacebuilding work and processes, recognizing for the first time the role of women in conflict, as targeted victims, and, as actors in the prevention and resolution of conflict and equal participation in peacebuilding and decision making.

Now is the time for full implementation of UNSCR 1325 and for including women at the negotiating and decision-making table without delay, not only but including, in Ukraine.

Kim Ann Williamson MBE
APD Peace