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How Is the Work of the United Nations Related to You?

The United Nations is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and security, build healthy relations among nations, accomplish international cooperation and harmonize the actions of nations.

The Woman Post | Catalina Mejía Pizano

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Why do we celebrate United Nations Day on October 24? To answer this important question, we must go back to the history of the organization. The UN was created after World War II, with the main objective of preventing future wars and replacing the League of Nations, which had not worked as expected. On April 25, 1945, 50 governments had a meeting in San Francisco for a conference and created the UN Charter. Then why do we commemorate the creation of the UN on October 24? Well, the UN Charter took effect on October 24, 1945. Following the Charter,  the organization’s objectives became maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development, and upholding international law. 

The UN is made up of 15 different agencies and several bodies that are responsible for achieving and promoting its goals. However, its main organs are the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC),  the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice, and the UN Secretariat. Inside the UN system, we can also find various specialized agencies, funds, and programs such as the World Health Organization, the World Bank Group, the World Food Programme, UNICEF, and UNESCO.

It is important to note that the UN, as well as its agencies and officers, have been awarded Nobel Prizes twelve times. The will of Alfred Nobel in 1895, was to award the Peace Prize to the person who had done the most for "fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the holding and promotion of peace congresses." Up to date, two Secretaries-General, Kofi Annan and Dag Hammarskjöld were honored for their work by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Additionally,  the Nobel Peace Prize 2020 was awarded to United Nations World Food Programme "for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict."

Also read: MARIA RESSA: NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER AND ADVOCATE OF PRESS FREEDOM

UN day has been celebrated since the year 1948. In 1971, the United Nations General Assembly suggested that the day be observed by the Member States as a public holiday. The year 2021, translates into the 76th anniversary of the United Nations and its founding charter. This year, in times of the Coronavirus Health Emergency,  it is vital to honor the work of the World Health Organization, which has worked along with global experts, governments, and partners to create knowledge on the virus and to deliver insightful advice for countries on measures to protect the health of people and to prevent the spread of the COVID 19 variants. 

During the year 2020, UN women worked towards the promotion of gender balance in elections, sponsored voter education campaigns, and also supported gender equality at the core of national plans for peace and development. Since the pandemic worsened gender inequalities worldwide, UN Women-led immediate responses and developed long-term solutions to mitigate the effects of COVID 19 on women around the world. 

The UNHCR has also played a vital role in providing aid for the Humanitarian crisis that is currently taking place in Afghanistan. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, recently called out for greater international cooperation to solve multiple crises, but  he closed his intervention with the following words of hope:

"None of us can do this alone. But if we work together – together! – with courage and humility, and in a true spirit of solidarity, putting the common good before individual and national considerations, then we have a chance to succeed."

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