United Nations Day

“To maintain international peace and security.”

These are the first words in the Charter of the United Nations, the 1945 treaty that founded the organization. Its purpose is exactly that — to keep world peace. It also works to protect human rights, deliver humanitarian aid, and promote sustainable development.

After World War II, the sheer amount of death and devastation pushed officials to make change. In June 1945, representatives of 50 countries met in San Francisco to create the foundation for the UN; they wanted to form a united front against conflict in the world. Their efforts came to fruition when the Charter was ratified on October 24th. 

The UN’s Security Council determines if there’s a threat to peace, and the General Assembly is their tool for policy making and deliberation. They take five main actions against conflict:

 

Preventive diplomacy – 

The most effective way to stop suffering is to prevent conflict in the first place.

Peacekeeping –

The UN provides assistance to struggling countries by supporting constitutional processes and establishing the right environment for a healthy system.

Peacebuilding –

It aids countries emerging from conflict, and tries to reduce their risk of falling back into it. 

Countering terrorism –

Along with direct actions taken against terrorism, the UN created the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. All member states have adopted it into their governments.

Disarmament –

Eliminating nuclear power and other weapons of mass destruction is their goal in pursuing ultimate peace and security. 

 

Of the world’s 196 sovereign countries, 193 are direct members of the UN. Kosovo, Palestine, and Vatican City are non-members. However, it is mostly due to the fact that not enough nations recognize them as independent states. They are still given free access to UN documents and are considered “observers.”

United Nations Day is a global observance, and celebrations are organized all around the world. The UN’s main offices in New York, the Hague, Geneva, Vienna, and Nairobi take center stage on events. They can include lighter activities like concerts, or more serious ones, like debates on world issues.

The 2018 UN Day Concert will be held today at the General Assembly Hall at UN headquarters in New York, from 7:00 – 8:30 PM. It features sarod virtuoso Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, accompanied by his sons Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash, with the Refugee Orchestra Project. There is also a photo exhibition in the Visitor’s Lobby of the General Assembly Building that will last through November. It’s called “People on the Move,” of Libyan refugee migration.

There is, undeniably, a lot of conflict in the world. It can be easy to forget the efforts to eradicate dissension, and foster strong international relationships everywhere.

 

The UN is a peacekeeping organization that more than 98% of free nations are a part of. Maybe this speaks more to what the world has in common, rather than what sets us apart.  

 

Learn more here: http://www.un.org/en/index.html

 

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