The United Nations is celebrating its 75th anniversary under the slogan "The Future We Want, The United Nations We Need". The jubilee session is to emphasize, among others the role of youth and ensure that the United Nations remains relevant to future generations.
Speeches by world leaders in the general debate at the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly will begin on Tuesday. Monday is devoted mainly to a virtual meeting, focusing on the UN's entry into its fourth 25th anniversary. President Andrzej Duda was among the speakers.
The president emphasized that "as 75 years ago Poland fought for the world without the domination of some states over others, it has been striving to do the same for the last 75 years by actively participating in the work of the United Nations".
Opening the jubilee celebrations, the President of the General Assembly (GA) Volkan Bozkir from Turkey declared the organization's commitment to multilateralism, in line with the principles of the United Nations Charter, obliging the countries of the world to cooperate.
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"Without your continued commitment to multilateralism, we would not be here today," Bozkir said, speaking in the vast hall to a limited number of masked delegates seated far apart.
"Multilateralism is not an option, but a necessity because we are doing better and greener to create a more resilient and just world," he added.
The chairman of the GA called for joint efforts and the continued commitment of member states to cooperate in order to strengthen coordination and global governance for the benefit of present and future generations.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, for his part, assessed that avoiding World War III was "a great achievement that member states can be proud of." "Everyone must make efforts to preserve them," he added.
“Nobody wants a world government, but we need to work together to improve world governance. In a shared world, we need multilateralism, networked in which the UN family, international financial institutions, regional organizations, trade blocs and other actors work together more closely and more effectively, ”argued Guterres.
In his opinion, inclusive multilateralism is also necessary, based on civil society, cities, businesses, local authorities and increasingly young people.
The assembled delegates unanimously adopted a resolution commemorating the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, "born of the horrors of World War II" in 1945.
The UN states on its website that "it is celebrating the 75th anniversary of its uprising in a time of great upheaval in the world, coupled with an unprecedented global health crisis with severe economic and social implications. (...) Will we come out stronger and better prepared to cooperate? Or maybe distrust and insulation will continue to increase? "
The challenges appear on many fronts. According to the United Nations, the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need for international cooperation to develop, produce and distribute a vaccine to benefit all countries, rich and poor.
As the New York Times emphasizes, another challenge for the organization is climate change, which causes environmental destruction resulting from the inability of mankind to slow down the warming of the planet; other far-reaching issues include increasing poverty, government corruption, social violence and unemployment; the scale of the problems is exacerbated by the new Cold War between the United States and China.
Quoting the results of public opinion polls, the United Nations emphasizes that, according to six out of 10 respondents, the organization made the world a better place. 74 per cent argues that it is essential in order to successfully face global challenges. However, more than half of the survey participants still know little about the United Nations and consider it "remote" from their lives.
A speech by US President Donald Trump is also scheduled for Monday's program, but for unknown reasons, this has not happened. The USA was represented by Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet, acting as Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
"For the Trump administration, this anniversary is an important moment, commemorating the many successes of the United Nations, but it must be done with unobstructed eyesight and renewed determination to see how this important body fulfils its intended purpose," she said.
As she added, the 75th anniversary is the right time to ask questions about the strengths and weaknesses of the institution, research and learn from its failures, and celebrate its achievements.
From New York, Andrzej Dobrowolski (PAP)