2020 and Beyond
Shaping our Future Together
As we mark the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations, it is clear that the world has high expectations of us, as the main platform for multilateralism and cooperation on a rules-based international system.António Guterres
The nature of multilateralism is changing, and I have frequently pointed to the need for a more networked and inclusive multilateralism for the 21st century. I, therefore, welcome your pledge to work towards consolidating trust and cohesion among United Nations Member States, major groups of countries, and other international organisations.
75 years, six wings, 193 member nations. Time to look back. The world has moved forward. Global wars in the traditional form, as seen in World War I and II, perhaps are less likely. But the world continues to see regional conflicts, fighting for taking control of fast-depleting natural resources. Can the silence of the world be forgotten about what has happened in the conflicts seen like that happened in former Yugoslavia, happening in east African countries? The societies continue to struggle, sad that it has to be reminded that “Black Lives Matters!”.
The world is facing pressing problems, including humanitarian crises, deadly conflicts, and a devastating pandemic. COVID-19 has shown us more clearly than ever that countries cannot address these challenges on their own. Global problems require global solutions, and that is why we need to recommit to multilateralism. The General Assembly, where all Member States are equal, is uniquely situated to steer our common efforts.Volkan Bozkir
President of the General Assembly
The ideas around the United Nations were developed in the last years of World War II, beginning on 25 April 1945. With the ratification of the charter, this founding document by most of its signatories, the UN officially came into being. There is no other global organisation with the legitimacy, convening power that survived this long. In 1947, the General Assembly declared 24 October, as UN day to commemorate the anniversary of the Charter of the United Nations and is celebrated since 1948. This anniversary comes in a time of significant 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. An annual concert is usually held in the General Assembly Hall to celebrate UN day. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the concert will be pre-recorded and screened.
The UN does not work alone but together with many specialised agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
Recall the “League of Nations” whose foundations were laid in the Treaty of Versailles, which was one of the treaties to formally end World War I. The league aimed to encourage disarmament, prevent outbreaks of war, encourage negotiations and diplomatic measures to settle international disputes and to improve the quality of life around the world. The failure of the “League of Nations” is seen in the outbreak of World War II. UN @75 and the world needs to contemplate. What led to the failure of “League of Nations” and whether the world is seeing semblances of the same. The collective commitment of multilateralism was the focus of discussion of the 75 session of the General Assembly.
The future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism – confronting COVID-19 through effective multilateral actionTheme of the General Debate of the 75th Session of the General Assembly
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in his address to the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly, asserted that “India will always speak in support of peace, security and prosperity” and emphasised the need for ‘reforms’ at the UN.
It has been 75 years since the UN came into existence, situations have changed, and demographics have seen a sea of change. When the second world war was coming to an end, the colossal loss of human lives and property and the fear of the possibility of getting repeated, led to the establishment of the UN. The world nations yielding in giving some extraordinary powers to few. To start with to four of them and with one more added later, it stands at 5 today. The question arises, is it adequate and just? If the world body must be effective, the realities of modern times need to be taken into consideration. @75 the world is looking for reforms so that the world bodies reflect the change.
Cooperation from all is required for, tackling issues such as the climate crisis, inequality, new patterns of violence and the major changes the world is facing. More importantly, to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, the shared vision for the future, will require cooperation from all. Decline in the trust in institutiaonal mechanism is in decline. Dialogue and action on global issues could not be more urgent. UN aims to build a global vision of 2045 (its centenary) through conversations.
75 is an age reflecting the maturity, experience, and wisdom acquired seeing the way the world has been shaped. It is time to reform and move forward. Humanity has the responsibility to move forward and more importantly “Shape the future together”.
UN website has very informative account of UN@75.