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United Nations Day: Shaping our future together #UN75

by Public Health Update

24 October has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948. In 1971, the United Nations General Assembly recommended that the day be observed by Member States as a public holiday. UN Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter.

The 75th anniversary

The year 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and its founding Charter. This anniversary comes in a time of great disruption for the world, compounded by an unprecedented global health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with severe economic and social impacts. But it is also a reminder that times of struggle can become an opportunity for positive change and transformation.

To commemorate the 75 years of the United Nations, Member States hold a high-level event on 21 September 2020, where they reaffirmed and recognized that our challenges are interconnected and can only be addressed through reinvigorated multilateralism.

Across this anniversary year, we have engaged in a global conversation. And the results are striking. People are thinking big – they are also expressing an intense yearning for international cooperation and global solidarity. Now is the time to respond to these aspirations and realize these aims. In this 75th anniversary year, we face our own 1945 moment. We must meet that moment. We must show unity like never before to overcome today’s emergency, get the world moving and working and prospering again, and uphold the vision of the Charter.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres


#1 Amidst the current crisis, the immediate priority of most respondents everywhere is improved access to basic services: healthcare, safe water and sanitation, and education.

#2 The next main priority is greater international solidarity and increased support to the places hardest hit by the pandemic. This includes tackling poverty, inequalities and boosting employment.

#3 While health is the most pressing issue now, respondents were hopeful about this area improving. They also believe access to education and women’s rights will improve.

#4 When looking to the future, respondents’ priorities corresponded to those areas where they believe things will get worse. Most participants across all regions are worried about the future impact of climate change. Our inability to stem the climate crisis and the destruction of the natural environment is viewed by respondents as the most overwhelming medium- and long-term concern.

#5 Other major priorities for the future include ensuring greater respect for human rights, settling conflicts, tackling poverty and reducing corruption.

#6 When it comes to the future, younger participants and those in many developing countries tend to be more optimistic than those who are older, or living in developed countries.

#7 87% of those surveyed believe international cooperation is vital to deal with today’s challenges. And the majority of respondents believe the COVID-19 crisis has made international cooperation even more urgent.

#8 Looking to the past, six in ten respondents believe the UN has made the world a better place. Looking to the future, 74% see the UN as “essential” in tackling global challenges. At the same time, over half still see the UN as remote from their lives and say they don’t know much about it.

Moreover, while just under half currently see the UN as contributing “somewhat” to advancing key global challenges, only about a third see the UN as contributing “ a lot” in this regard. The areas where the UN is perceived to be contributing most are in upholding human rights and in promoting peace.

#9 Dialogue participants overwhelmingly called for the UN to be more inclusive of the diversity of actors in the 21st century. They identified in particular the need for greater inclusion of civil society, women, youth, vulnerable groups, cities and local authorities, businesses, regional organisations and other international organisations.

#10 Participants in dialogues also called for the UN to innovate in other ways, with stronger leadership and more consistency in exercising its moral authority to uphold the UN Charter. There are calls for increased accountability, transparency and impartiality, including through better engagement and communication with communities, as well as strengthening implementation of programmes and operations.

Source of information: https://www.un.org/en/observances/un-day

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