The United Nations has called on its members to come together to tackle the great challenges confronting humanity, among them the coronavirus pandemic, which has devastated the world, as it marked 76 years of its existence.
UN Secretary General António Guterres said the world can do this “by ensuring that every person, everywhere, has access to Covid-19 vaccines sooner rather than later.”
In his speech to mark the UN Day, celebrated on October 24, Guterres recalled that the United Nations was created in 1945 as a vehicle of hope for a world emerging from the catastrophic Second World War
“Covid-19, conflicts, hunger, poverty, and the climate emergency remind us that our world is far from perfect. But they also make clear that solidarity is the only way forward,” his message, posted on the UN website, stated, adding that the values that have powered the UN Charter for the 76 years it has been in existence — peace, development, human rights, and opportunity for all — “have no expiry date”.
Guterres spoke about his recent report, Our Common Agenda, which he presented to the United Nations General Assembly before the opening of its 76th session in September 2021, saying it outlined ways of dealing with the challenges the world was facing, “By securing and upholding the rights and dignity of all people — especially the poorest and most disadvantaged, girls and women, and children and young people. By seeking an end to the conflicts that scar our world. By making bold climate commitments to save our planet — and living up to them. And by building global governance that is more inclusive, networked and effective…”
He stressed the need to advance the Sustainable Development Goals.
“As we mark UN Day, let’s unite behind these ideals, and live up to the full promise, potential, and hope of the United Nations,” the message concluded.
“We will never give up making this world better for everyone, everywhere,” a tweet on Guterres’s Twitter account to mark the day stated.
According to the UN website, this year’s UN Day Concert followed a hybrid format with part-live and part-pre-recorded performances, with a small audience, in keeping with physical distancing protocols due to Covid-19.
It was held on Thursday, October 21, 2021, under the theme “Building Back Together for Peace and Prosperity”, and was sponsored by the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations.
“Renowned violinists Angela and Jennifer Chun along with soprano Youngok Shin provided in-person performances in the General Assembly Hall, at the UN Headquarters in New York. Pre-recorded videos have been screened during the event, featuring acclaimed soprano Youngmi Kim, the Goyang Philharmonic Orchestra, pianist Yungwook Yoo and all-female K-POP band aespa,” it said.
Vatican News quoted Guterres, who attended the concert, as saying that the “last 20 months have been an extraordinarily difficult and even isolating moment for the human family”, and urging all to “watch as one, listen as one, and be inspired as one”.
The United Nations Day is observed globally on October 24 as a day to commemorate the entry into force of the UN Charter, a founding document of the UN, in 1945.
The UN adopted Resolution 2782, declaring that the UN Day shall be an international observance and recommended that it be observed as a public holiday by United Nations members.
The anniversary provides a moment to reflect on the official creation of the UN on October 24, 1945. The UN General Assembly declared October 24 the anniversary of the Charter of the UN, which it said “shall be devoted to making known to the people of the world the aims and achievements of the United Nations and to gaining their support for its work”.
The name “United Nations” was coined by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was first used in the Declaration of the United Nations on January 1, 1942, during the Second World War, when representatives of 26 nations pledged their governments to continue fighting together against the Axis powers composed of Germany, Italy, and Japan.
The UN Charter was introduced in San Francisco on June 26, 1945. For two months, delegates from 50 countries drafted and signed the Charter, which created the international organisation that they all hoped would prevent another world war.
The UN officially came into being on October 24, 1945, after the Charter had been ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States – the chief Allied powers in the Second World War – and a majority of other signatories.
The United Nations has for more than 76 years continued its work to maintain international peace and security; give humanitarian assistance to those in need; protect human rights; and uphold international law.
The organisation has taken action on a wide range of issues and provides a forum for its 193 member states to express their views through the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, and other bodies and committees.
In 2015, the UN set the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, with a deadline of 2030 to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.