From the lofty aims set out by of its founding Charter 70 years ago, to the life-saving work it undertakes today in peace and security, development and human rights, “the UN is real and critical to the day-to-day lives of so many people around the world,” the Organization's top public information official said today in Washington, D.C.
“The United Nations connects [people] to the rest of the global community," said Cristina Gallach, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Public Information, in a speech on the 70th anniversary of the United Nations delivered at the United States National Archives.
The event was also attended by the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman and the Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero.
“To be at the National Archives 70 years after the United States helped to breathe life into the United Nations, and to see the actual document in person is a privilege,” Ms. Gallach said, noting that she had had the opportunity to see the US Constitution – “another venerable document that, like the UN Charter, remains alive and vibrant – and an inspiration to so many people around the world.”
The UN Charter, too, had grown out of the cauldron of war, she said. Its aim was high, even if the UN at its founding in 1945 did not yet encompass all nations and all peoples. The Organization soon expanded to meet the challenge of its founders, and the clamouring of 142 more Member States to join the 51 that originally signed it.
“Today, the UN's work adheres to its three broad pillars: peace & security, human rights, and development – three fields that overlap and intersect, on real-life issues ranging from climate change to gender violence,” said Ms. Gallach, stressing that, “thanks in significant part to the nations and peoples that you [the diplomatic corps] represent, the UN is not only a 70-year-old institution: it is an ideal shared by the peoples of the world that is breathed into life every day by humanitarian workers, human rights advocates and peacekeepers – and by the people they serve.”
Indeed, the phrase 'we the peoples' in the UN Charter “speaks to us and to the responsibility that that promise carries with it. The preamble was a lofty proposition at the inception; today, 70 years later; and, most importantly, tomorrow.”
The next 12 months, she explained, will be crucial for the Organization and the international community, because of the important decisions to be taken in terms of sustainable development, the fight against climate change and humanitarian crises ravaging several regions the globe.
From the UN summit to adopt the UN post-2015 development agenda, in New York this September, to the Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), known informally as COP 21, in Paris in December and the first World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016, “the world is looking to the UN – and counting on the UN – to make a difference.”
“Ultimately, a successful 2015 will be the legacy of the UN's 70th anniversary – so cheers to the UN today and let us roll up our sleeves and get ready for the next 70 years!” she declared.