The UN’s 75th Anniversary, that has been celebrated this Saturday, October 4, falls as the world continue to battle the COVID-19 and UN Secretary-General António Guterres has said the pandemic is an opportunity to accelerate action to achieve a global ceasefire during the crisis.
Initially, Guterres issued the appeal for combatants to lay down their arms shortly after the pandemic was declared in March.
“As we mark the UN’s 75th anniversary, our founding mission is more critical than ever,” Guterres said in a statement on UN News.
“Let us come together and realize our shared vision of a better world – with peace and dignity for all. In our world today, we have one common enemy: COVID-19 — now is the time for a stepped-up push for peace to achieve a global ceasefire. The clock is ticking.”
UN mission ‘more critical than ever’
UN Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter, the Organization’s founding document.
The treaty outlines the UN’s goals of promoting human dignity, protecting human rights and saving humanity from conflict.
That founding mission “is more critical than ever”, said the Secretary-General. Also crucial is the need to “make peace with our planet”, he added, stating “We must mobilize the whole world to reach carbon neutrality — net zero emissions of greenhouse gasses by 2050.”
Europe turns UN blue
Despite the constraints imposed by the global pandemic, countries celebratee the UN’s historic birthday. More than 180 iconic buildings across Europe were lit up in blue, the Organization’s official colour: from monuments to museums, to bridges and beyond.
The initiative is a symbolic attempt to unite people worldwide, and to promote peace, sustainable development and human rights.
As the Secretary-General stated, more must be done to end poverty, inequality, hunger and hatred, and to combat discrimination based on race, religion, gender or any other distinction.
He drew attention to the situation of women and girls, as the pandemic has led to “a horrific rise” in gender-based violence.
A blueprint for better recovery
The UN chief also underlined the need to “build on progress”, pointing to the global collaboration currently underway to develop a safe, affordable and accessible COVID-19 vaccine.
This banner year has also seen the start of a Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their promise of a better future for all people and the planet.
For Guterres, the 17 SDGs provide an inspiring blueprint for recovering better after the pandemic.
Solidarity and a shared vision
Although the world faces colossal challenges, the UN chief was adamant that they can be overcome through global solidarity and cooperation, saying: “That’s what the United Nations is all about.”
Guterres asked people everywhere to unite on this UN anniversary: “Together, let us uphold the enduring values of the United Nations Charter”, he declared.
“Let us build on our advances across the decades. Let us realize our shared vision of a better world for all.”
To mark UN Day, the UN Global Compact on 100 million employees around the world to participate in a social media campaign and online survey to demonstrate their support for the UN’s mission and drive business action to reach the SDGs.
“At a time of great disruption for the world, compounded by an unprecedented global health crisis, the UN Global Compact recognises we must unite companies in the business of a better world and engage all their employees in our mission to drive corporate sustainability and achieve the SDGs”, said Sanda Ojiambo, CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact.
October 24, has been celebrated as UN Day since 1948. In 1971, the United Nations General Assembly recommended that the day be observed by the member states as a public holiday. every year since 1948.
The name United Nations was coined by the United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt and first used in the Declaration by United Nations of 1 January 1942, during Second World War.
The Charter was signed on 26 June 1945 by the representatives of the 50 countries. Poland, which was not represented at the Conference, signed it later and became one of the original 51 member states.
It is currently made up of 193 member states and each of them is a member of the General Assembly.