With it, nationalism was put to an end, the hope for collective security through the peaceful resolution of disputes was born, and it remains as the cornerstone of coexistence in a world imprisoned by a pandemic, inequality and war. Will the arrival of a new President and his plan be enough to put the United States back at the head of the table of this new multilateralism? (Translated from Spanish by Alissa D’Vale)
“The Charter of the United Nations was born from the ashes of World War II and signed on a day like today 75 years ago, it brought rules and hopes to a world in ruins and served to close one era and initiate another. The unrestrained nationalism and the precarious balance of power that produced two catastrophic world wars are over; and with it came the promise of collective security and the peaceful resolution of disputes,” said the UN Secretary General in his message commemorating the signing of the treaty after three quarters of a century. And “it continues to be our cornerstone for a world engulfed in a pandemic, torn by discrimination, endangered by climate change and marked by poverty, inequality and war,” he added.
However, despite the importance of post-war multilateral agreements, he highlighted that the realities we are currently facing “are as devastating as ever.” Among them he cited the coronavirus pandemic, the loss of public confidence in political systems or the current demonstrations against racism.
“Meanwhile, other basic vulnerabilities have only grown: the climate crisis, the environmental crisis, degradation, cyberattacks, nuclear proliferation, the decline in human rights and the risk of another pandemic. It is not that difficult to imagine that a new virus can easily be transmitted like COVID-19 and as deadly as Ebola,” he said.
Faced with this complicated scenario, Guterres advocated doing the same thing that the delegates who met in San Francisco in 1945 did “they took advantage of their opportunity to plant the seeds of something better and new”: reinvent multilateralism, give it strength to make it work in the way that the founders of the Accord wanted to, and ensure that effective global governance is a reality when needed.
This multilateralism that the Secretary General advocates must be interconnected and inclusive, counting with the participation of civil society, cities, the private sector and young people who are “essential voices to shape the world we want.” In the same way, he also wanted to bring up the factors for which we must face the future with optimism such as “the heroism and solidarity of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic”, the global support for the Sustainable Development Goals or the millions of young activists and citizens fighting to make progress on the green economy, climate action and equality.
The ideas of the Charter stand the test of time and will continue to drive us from now on. “Now is the time to persevere, keep going, pursue our goals, show responsibility for our world, and take care of each other. It is up to us to live up to this crucial moment for our future,” he concluded.
The UN General Assembly: the parliament of humanity
“The General Assembly is the main deliberative, policy-making and representative body of the United Nations, a parliament of humanity, based on equal voice and vote. It is a forum to share perspectives, forge alliances and build consensus. The Assembly provides a space where Members can generate understanding and reach a compromise,” recalls Tijjani Muhammad-Bande.
Among its great milestones are the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948 and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which represents “a feat of multilateralism” initiated “in an embryonic form as a resolution of the General Assembly.” “In 2015, the members of the General Assembly pledged to leave no one behind and to set the world on the path of sustainable development and prosperity for all. Now we must fulfill our commitments to finance sustainable development and engage business leaders to align themselves with the responsible business principles of the United Nations Global Compact,” he said, indicating that, despite being in a moment of “reflection” about our future, “this is a time for action, ambition and collaboration.” “Three quarters of a century ago, skeptics doubted the determination of the United Nation members. Cynicism did not prevail then, nor will it prevail now.”
See the original article and commemorative video: The UN Charter celebrates 75 years as a pillar of the Organization in turbulent times. Read more here: UN marks milestone anniversary of founding Charter