Seventy-four years ago, the United Nations (UN) was created with the ultimate goal of maintaining world peace as a collective and a global effort to prevent another war like World War II. The pledge to protect human rights was a principle that played a key role in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), adopted unanimously by its then 56 members on December 10 of 1948.
Although the world has come a long way since the defining moments of the 1940s, which were marked by the deadliest military conflict in history: World War II, the world now seems to be going through a period of reinterpretation of many of their international and national principles, including their borders mainly because of the exponential growth of international migration and the social, political, and economic impact that this brings with it. According to the UN’s 2017 International Migration Report, 258 million people have migrated worldwide; this is an increase of over 40% since the year 2000.
Traditionally, migration is motivated by economic pressures, along with political instability in the countries of origin, but most recently global warming has started to push people from rural to urban areas, causing clear threats to international peace and security. This is why the United Nations has declared “climate change the defining issue of our time,” and the theme of the 2019 UN Day is “Our Planet. Our Future.”
Celebrating UN Day every October 24th gives us an opportunity to remember the relevance of the work that this organization has done since its creation, providing nowadays food to 80 million people in 80 countries, bringing disaster relief to countries in need due to natural disasters and other events, delivering humanitarian aid, enforcing peacekeeping, and promoting international unity. It’s also an occasion to reflect about the future that we aspire as citizens of the world, and the role of the UN as a platform to bring our common challenges to a space of discussion and hopefully of alignment and agreement.
Interesting Facts About the UN
- Today, 193 countries are members and have equal representation in the UN General Assembly. Fifty-one members founded the UN in 1945.
- Six is the number of official languages spoken in the UN: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.
- The flag was adopted on December 7, 1946, and is composed of two olive branches that symbolize peace, and the world map that represents all the people and the countries of the world. White and blue are the official colors of the organization.
- Its headquarters is in NY and is occasionally referred to as “Turtle Bay,” in reference to the neighborhood where is located in the Eastside of Manhattan.
Photo (Human Right House): UN The Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room, used by the United Nations Human Rights Council