NEWS RELEASES – United Nations Day is celebrated on the 24th October because it marks the anniversary of the entry of the UN Charter in 1945, thus the United Nations officially came into being. Since 1948, the UN chooses a topic of the year to focus on. For 2016, the UN wants to highlight “concrete actions people can take to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”.1 Presentation of the day.
The UN Day, what is it?
The actual Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, said:
“Humanity has entered the era of sustainability – with a global commitment to fulfil the great promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In this, the Organization’s 71st year, we have 17 goals to propel us towards a better future for all on a healthy planet”.2
These last 71 years, the UN has faced a lot of crisis, wars, and instabilities which have been important challenges for the organization. This year, the UN has decided to focus on the 17 sustainable development goals, adopted in September 2015. They want to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all by 2030.
The UN insists on the necessity for everyone to think and act to promote these values: governments, the private sector, civil society, and every single person.
The main point is also to bring attention on the work, the role of the different agencies of the UN, and their achievements. Indeed, UN is promoting value in different sectors: women, children, culture, environment, or refugees. The UN is trying to bring and maintain peace as well as promote human right values in different places in the world although these goals are sometimes difficult to work out.
How to celebrate the day?
To celebrate this anniversary, the UN has organized different events and activities around the world. The main offices will contribute to their realization: New York, the Hague (Netherlands), Geneva (Switzerland), Vienna (Austria) and Nairobi (Kenya).3
They will organize concerts, debates, and the UN flag is going to be flown on important buildings.
Art is an important way to promote human rights, that’s why they are going to unveil an Art Installation created by Cristóbal Gabarrón, a Spanish artist, in la rotonde du Mont-Blanc (Geneva). Like the UNOG website explain:
“The installation, titled Enlightened Universe, is an interactive sculpture depicting 70 life-size figures joined in hand around a central globe, creating a human chain of global citizenship, solidarity, tolerance, respect for nature, and shared responsibility”.4
A concert is organized in the United Nations General Assembly Hall (New York) because it’s an important way to communicate since music is a “universal language”.5 The theme of the year is “Freedom First”.
To raise awareness, the UN has also created an app, SDGs in Action App, to explain the different goals and how every single person can help in achieving these 17 different sustainable development goals. This means that we are the partner of the UN to succeed and fight poverty and inequality.
Every year, the UN anniversary matches with the annual observance of Disarmament Week. In 1978, the General Assembly decided to highlight on this important matter and adopted a resolution (resolution S-10/2) to explain the danger of this kind of race.6
In 2013, they decided to organize a meeting on nuclear disarmament. The situation has been stabilized since the Cold War ends but the situation is still complicated between different countries.
Why are these two events related? The UN has to bring peace and stability between countries, as well as protect civilians. The armement race is a real danger for everyone and needs to be stopped with the collaboration of each country.
As the H.E. Ban Ki-moon stated in the 2013 Report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization: "Throughout the past year, the United Nations stepped up its efforts to improve the effectiveness of its activities in the area of peace and security"7
1 United Nations, United Nations Day 24 October [en ligne], (2016). Available on: http://www.un.org/en/events/unday/
3 Time and date, United Nations Day [en ligne], (2016). Available on: https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/un/united-nations-day
4 UNOG, Unveiling of an Art Installation by Cristóbal Gabarrón - Enlightened Universe [en ligne], (24 October 2016), Available on: http://www.unog.ch/unog/website/calendar.nsf/(httpInternal~Special~Monthly~en)/922D9F346B4DFA8DC125804B0052F767?OpenDocument
5United Nations Day 24 October, Op. cit.
6 United Nations, Disarmament Week (24-30 October) [en ligne], (2013). Available on: http://www.un.org/en/events/disarmamentweek/
Sonia Rodríguez - Project Coordinator at CIPADH
Time and date, United Nations Day [en ligne], (2016). Available on: https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/un/united-nations-day
United Nations, Disarmament Week (24-30 October) [en ligne], (2013). Available on: http://www.un.org/en/events/disarmamentweek/
United Nations, United Nations Day 24 October [en ligne], (2016). Available on: http://www.un.org/en/events/unday/
United Nations, United Nations Day 24 October - Sustainable Development Goals [en ligne], (2016). Available on: http://www.un.org/en/events/unday/posters.shtml
UNOG, Unveiling of an Art Installation by Cristóbal Gabarrón - Enlightened Universe [en ligne], (24 October 2016), Available on: http://www.unog.ch/unog/website/calendar.nsf/(httpInternal~Special~Monthly~en)/922D9F346B4DFA8DC125804B0052F767?OpenDocument