LIVE: UN 'only as strong as its members' Guterres tells UN75 event, looking to the future

21 September 2020

On Monday the UN marks the 75 years of the Organization with a High-level meeting featuring many world leaders. The theme is, “The future we want, the United Nations we need”, and there is a strong focus on the role of youth, and ensuring the UN remains relevant for future generations.

Highlights: 
•     Live broadcast of High-level meeting

•    UNcomplicated podcast: the UN turns 75
•    UN75 photo story 

•    Richard Curtis video, Nations United

•   Lid Is On podcast, narrated by Julia Roberts

•   W.H. Auden's "Hymn to the United Nations"

11:55

That's it for our coverage of today's event, but there is plenty of in-depth coverage to come of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly.

We'll leave you with the words of poet W.H. Auden, reading his "hymn to the United Nations", in which he expresses hope for a future in which “all are brothers/ none faceless others”.

 

11:25

This being the General Assembly, there was a resolution to be adopted: the "Declaration of the commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations", to be precise, which recommits to protecting the planet, promoting peace, and ensuring gender equality.

During his opening remarks, Volkan Bozkir, the new President of the GA, evoked the “smouldering wreckage” of World War Two, which, he said, demonstrated the clear need for a forum that could harmonize the actions of nations, an aim the UN has been striving to achieve over the past 75 years.

The GA President mentioned various achievements, including the development of arms control regimes to prevent nuclear conflict, Peacekeeping Missions that have kept the peace and protected civilians, and electoral assistance, which  has reinforced public trust in democracy, including in crucial transition periods.

Looking ahead, he said that an “upgraded” UN must respond to today’s challenges: earlier this month, UN News interviewed Mr. Bozkir, to discuss the ways the UN can remain relevant in the decades to come, why he will be making the protection of vulnerable people and communities a key issue, and how he intends to cope with the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can read the interview here.

 

10:55

 

In case you missed the speeches  delivered by the Secretary-General and the head of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) earlier this morning, here's a brief summary.

Mr. Guterres told delegates that no other global organization gives hope to so many people for a better world”,  and reminding participants that the UN “is only as strong as its members’ commitment to its ideals and each other”.

He made a strong call on Member States to act together, saying  “it is now time to mobilize your resources, strengthen your efforts and show unprecedented political will and leadership, to ensure the future we want, and the United Nations we need”.

The top UN official maintained that multilateralism is a necessity in building back “better and greener” for a more equal, resilient, and sustainable world, stressed that the UN must be at the centre of these efforts, and that “an upgraded UN must respond to these challenges and changes to stay relevant and effective”.

The President of ECOSOC, Munir Akram, also spoke at the opening of the event and, in his opening remarks, urged ECOSOC to focus on three practical steps: mobilize financing to meet the current  "triple challenge" (recover from COVID-19, achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and avoid the "looming climate catastrophe"); greatly expand investment in sustainable infrastructure; and apply new technologies, whilst bridging the digital divide between rich and poor.

Mr. Akram warned that the world is drifting towards an erosion of structures, including the United Nations, that have been built to preserve peace and promote prosperity, risking a "tragedy of epic proportions for all mankind". He called on UN Member States to reverse this course.

Full speeches from the day will be available on the UN75 website.

 

10:40 

The director Richard Curtis has brought together a starry selection of actors and singers, including Forest Whitaker, Thandie Newton and Beyoncé, for a specially commissioned video “Nations United”, which focuses on the solutions and action we need to tackle poverty, inequality, injustice and climate change.

It’s a very moving, powerful video, and well worth a watch!
 

 

10 :20

What does the man at the top think about the future direction of the UN? Our colleague from the UN News Arab Unit, May Yaccoub, sat down with António Guterres (observing appropriate social distancing, of course), to find out.

Mr. Guterres told May that the COVID-19 pandemic “is a threat, it is a problem,” but also an opportunity to change in the right direction, following the blueprint of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

 

10:00

Young people and the role of youth in reshaping the UN is a big part of the UN75 commemorations. Youth leaders have addressed of the senior officials and world leaders present at the High-level Meeting, urging more youth participation in the deliberations of the Organization. 

Earlier this month, UN News spoke to some prominent youth leaders, to find out what kind of world they want, how they see the UN’s role in the coming decades, and their hopes and fears for the future. You can read our story here
 

 

 

09:40

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has released a powerful video to mark UN75, highlighting the struggles faced by those forced to leave their homes. 

The UN chief, António Guterres, delivered his opening remarks a little earlier, we'll bring you more on his speech soon.

 

09:25

What three things can save the world? The UN asked some younger citizens, who had some surprising suggestions! Football, anyone?

 

09:10

Here are some of the reactions to #UN75 from some senior UN officials.

 

 

09:00

The UN75 High-level meeting has begun! You can follow the whole event live courtesy of our colleagues at UN Web TV.

 

08:50

Youth representatives are set to address the high-level meeting of the General Assembly later today, sharing their visions of a better planet, and helping decide the next chapter of the UN.

Earlier this month, UN News spoke to some prominent youth leaders, to find out what kind of world they want, how they see the UN’s role in the coming decades, and their hopes and fears for the future. Read the full story here.
 

 

08:30

© UNHCR/Federico Scoppa
Vulnerable Burundian refugees are hosted at a transit centre run by UNHCR in DRC's South Kivu Province.

 

Conflict, inequality, climate change…some of the big challenges that still need to be tackled through international cooperation, as the UN begins its 75th General Assembly Session.

Our September photo story shows some of the vulnerable who are being affected by these global problems.

 

08:20

The theme chosen for the UN75 commemorations is “The future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism”.

In the months leading up to the event, the UN embarked on a massive global conversation, with more than a million people surveyed. Read our story on the UN75 Global Conversation,  to find out what the survey revealed.

08:00

Good morning from UN News, live (in an apartment not too far) from UN Headquarters in New York!

Today, the 75 years of the UN is officially being commemorated, with an event that will begin at 09:00 Eastern Time, with contributions from senior UN officials, youth representatives and several UN Member States.

We’ll bring you the latest updates from the event, as well as some useful background information, videos, and social media, throughout the morning. 

To kick things off, here’s an episode of our hit podcast UNcomplicated, featuring UN75 supremo Fabrizio Hochschild, who’s leading the world body’s birthday mission, to listen to the concerns of a new generation of global citizens, and keep the UN relevant in the decades ahead.

 

 

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