Action for Peace #11

What happened?

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the UN Sustainable Development Goals? How does Scotland score in Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions compared to other nations? Will Scotland ever become a nuclear-weapons-free country? Are there links between peace and volunteering?

The International Voluntary Service (IVS), recognized by the UN as the UK’s oldest international volunteering organization, celebrated the International Day of Peace at the European Parliament Liaison Office in Edinburgh through a debate with field experts  to get answers to the outlined questions.

To mark Peace Day, IVS launched a report that highlights the policy recommendations that could bring Scotland closer to meeting the targets outlined by SDG16.

Since 1931, the International Voluntary Service (IVS) has been committed to the goal of peace. Their 2019 campaign marking the UN International Day of Peace, launched two months ago, culminated last week with an event in the European Parliament Liaison Office in Edinburgh and at the plenary session in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Firstly, thanks to the support of Sheila Ritchie MEP (Lib Dems/Renew Europe), IVS was able to raise awareness of the barriers to peace on the continent. Mrs Ritchie, alongside a number of her Liberal Democrats’ colleagues in the European Parliament, wore an IVS peace dove lapel pin on the days running up to the Peace Day. The initiative gained cross-national support as, for example, Swede Karin Karlsbro MEP (Liberals/Renew Europe) got involved, too.

Furthermore, members of the Renew Europe Group in the European Parliament organised a photocall with flashcards highlighting the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA). The cross-party initiative was embraced beside Mrs Ritchie by Naomi Long (Alliance Party/Renew Europe), Billy Kelleher (Fianna Fail/Renew Europe), Catherine Bearder (Lib Dems/Renew Europe) and many more (see attached photo). In a follow-up of the plenary session, the cross-party group launched a UK Government petition in favour of peace and the GFA.

The second layer of the Peace Day campaign took place in Edinburgh. In cooperation with the local European Parliament Liaison Office, they organised a Peace Day event on the 20th September, one day before the official celebration. A round-table-style event was attended by several engaging speakers.

Liberal Democrats’ campaigner in Edinburgh South Fred Mackintosh, Flavia Tudoreanu from the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and Douglas Young, UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) promoter from Orbis Expeditions, all delivered speeches on various aspects of peace and global development.

Moreover, IVS director Hilary Campbell spoke about their volunteering activities, and Chris Pettigrew launched IVS’s SDG16 report that assesses Scotland’s performance in peace, justice and strong institutions. At the end of the meeting, a fruitful debate with all speakers took place as the SDG16 report and nuclear disarmament were discussed.



20th September, 2019


European Parliament Liaison Office in Edinburgh, UK