Marking the 68th birthday of the United Nations yesterday (24 October) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the annual celebration offers a chance to recognise the invaluable contributions of the Organisation to peace and common progress.
“It is a time to reflect on what more we can do to realise our vision for a better world,” Mr. Ban said in his message for the Day, observed on 24 October, the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter.
It was with the ratification of this founding document by the majority of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security Council, that the UN officially came into being.
Mr. Ban said that this year again, the world witnessed the UN coming together on armed conflict, human rights, the environment and many other issues.
“We continue to show what collective action can do. We can do even more,” he stated. “In a world that is more connected, we must be more united.”
Mr. Ban called the fighting in Syria the biggest security challenge, while the most urgent development challenge is to make sustainability a reality.
“The Millennium Development Goals have cut poverty in half. Now we must maintain the momentum, craft an equally inspiring post-2015 development agenda and reach an agreement on climate change.”
General Assembly President John Ashe said that since its founding in 1945, the UN has always been looked upon by the international community as a global organisation that might one day lead to a more just world, grounded in the values of peace, human rights and prosperity for all.
“Sixty-eight years have now passed and we can safely say the United Nations is needed more than ever,” he stated. “As the world grapples with deadly conflicts and other incidents of violence, environmental degradation, inequality and persistent challenges in meeting development goals, our United Nations provides a unique forum for its Member States to deliberate on matters that most concern the world’s people and to work towards common solutions.”
He added that as Member States begin setting the stage for the post-2015 development agenda, it is necessary to “overhaul our approach to both people and planet” to create a universal and shared development agenda, which leaves no one behind.
“On this dual track of both accelerating progress towards the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) and defining our new development agenda, let us take a moment to recall the ideals and values the founding members enshrined in our Charter. Let the inspiration that led to the founding of this family of nations guide us and inspire us in this new chapter of our shared history,” the President said.
The 24th of October has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948. In 1971, the General Assembly recommended that the day be observed by Member States as a public holiday.