As multiple crises – ranging from poverty and disease to terrorism and climate change – continue to afflict the world, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon marked the 69th anniversary of the United Nations today, declaring that the Organization is needed now “more than ever.”
In his message on the Day, observed annually on 24 October, the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the Charter of the United Nations, Mr. Ban acknowledged that millions of people continue to suffer deplorable exploitation through bonded labour, human trafficking, sexual slavery or unsafe conditions in factories, fields and mines while the global economy remains an uneven playing field.
“The founding of the United Nations was a solemn pledge to the world’s people to end such assaults on human dignity, and lead the way to a better future,” he said. “There have been painful setbacks, and there is much work ahead to realize the Charter’s vision. But we can take heart from our achievements.”
Among those achievements, Mr. Ban noted, were the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which had “inspired the most successful anti-poverty campaign ever,” numerous UN treaties addressing inequality, torture, and racism, and the on-the-ground work of UN peacekeepers and humanitarian workers.
“At this critical moment, let us reaffirm our commitment to empowering the marginalized and vulnerable,” the Secretary- General concluded.
“On United Nations Day, I call on Governments and individuals to work in common cause for the common good.”
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.
As part of the observance of the Day, the UN’s Department of Public Information organized a concert, to be held in the newly-renovated General Assembly Hall at UN Headquarters in New York, featuring world-renowned concert pianist and UN Messenger of Peace, Lang Lang, and 16-time Grammy Award-winner, Sting.
Performing with Lang Lang will be an international youth orchestra representing five continents, assembled especially for the occasion, to be conducted by Manuel López-Gómez. Manuel López-Gómez, as well as many of the youth musicians hail from the renowned El Sistema programme, which provides music education to children from poor social-economic backgrounds.
As such, the concert offers an opportunity to highlight the United Nations’ focus on youth and the education of global citizens. It also marks an important milestone during the yearlong global observance of the 70th anniversary of the Organization.