Today marks the 73rd anniversary of the entry into force of the United Nations (UN) Charter that created the international organization, of which the Philippines is among the original 51 member states.
The UN, which is currently made up of 193 member-states, continues to perform its work aided by its various specialized agencies, which include: the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the United Nations Educational Scientific, and Cultural Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the International Labor Organization, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and the United Nations Human Rights Council. Aside from the promotion of world peace, the UN’s role has grown to include protecting human rights, promoting social and economic development, and providing aid around the world in cases of famine, natural disaster, and armed conflict. It offers medical assistance to those in need in places affected by disasters and armed conflicts, and provides clean water, food, and places to rest and recover.
Every year, the global network of UN Information Centers organizes a variety of events to mark UN Day. These activities range from ceremonies, seminars, panel discussions, and symposiums to series of briefings for students, art competitions, rallies, film screenings and book/photo exhibitions, media campaigns – including interviews and newspaper supplements – and social media campaigns. In the Philippines as in other countries, schools celebrate UN Day with a parade of costumes and flags of various nations, and hold lessons about cultural diversity. This is faithful to the spirit of the UN that commemorates friendship and partnership of nations.
Early this month, Turkish officials, diplomats, representatives of UN agencies, academicians, NGOs and several other groups and individuals gathered at Lake Eymir for a “Walk for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).” The joint event was hosted by the UN System in Turkey and the Middle East Technical University. It featured three tents with themes of biosphere, society, and economy along the walking route. Participants who stopped by these tents had the chance to learn about what the SDGs mean globally and what the UN Agencies do to promote them. UN Resident Coordinator Irena Vojackova-Sollorano described the event as “also a peace walk, between people and nature.”
Meanwhile, Mustafa Osman Turan, deputy director general of Multilateral Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, cited the significant role that Turkey played in the identification of the SDGs. He also cited Turkey as having been among the first countries to report on their implementation in 2016. The SDGs provide an important platform to the world for acting together to overcome the many problems confronting it. It is important to keep in mind that these goals are not only for governments, but for every individual who considers him/herself a “World Citizen.”