It was 67 years ago today that the UN Charter came into force when a majority of its signatories and all five permanent members ratified the treaty. Ever since, October 24 has been celebrated as United Nations Day.
It is easy to get caught up in the hum drum of everyday work at the United Nations. But people don’t often take a step back and consider the United Nations in its deeper historical context. Remember: this is an organization created out the ashes of World War II. The first goal of the United Nations was to prevent the outbreak of yet another World War. The opening line of the UN Charter makes this first aim abundantly clear: ”We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind…”
By this basic metric, the UN has been a resounding success. To be sure, war and conflict are far from obsolete, but believe it or not the world is becoming much more peaceful. Armed conflict is more rare today than at any point in modern history. Having a forum where countries can talk to each other about their differences and come together around common challenges has contributed to a more peaceful world. We are winning the war on war. The UN has a lot to do with that.
Here’s Ban Ki Moon:
Our friends at the United Nations Foundation are hosting a Twitter chat with UN officials and experts. You can ask them questions and join in using the hashtag #UNday. The Twitter chat kicks off at 11 am EST. Chime in!