Washington — The United States is celebrating 67 years of global accomplishments through the United Nations as the organization marks its anniversary October 24, according to U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Susan Rice.
“As the principal forum for international cooperation, the United Nations has averted wars, saved lives, fought disease and poverty and protected human rights for almost seven decades,” Rice said in a statement on the anniversary, often called United Nations Day.
She said the United States remains “firmly committed to preserving and strengthening this important institution,” adding that the organization ensures “the world is better equipped to handle the challenges of the 21st century.”
Rice said the United States has played a leading role in the United Nations from its start. Former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who coined the name “United Nations,” was a leader in the organization’s creation. Even before World War II officially ended, Roosevelt met with his counterparts from around the world to develop the charter for the United Nations — an organization built to promote global peace, development and human rights. The United Nations charter officially entered into force October 24, 1945, and was supported by 51 nations.
The organization now has grown to include 193 members that represent every region in the world. Each nation brings to the table a unique social, political and economic system; all are bound by a common commitment to the United Nations mission.
“Together, we’ve made important progress toward a world free of nuclear weapons; we’ve supported critical United Nations peacekeeping and political activities to end conflicts, protect civilians and support democratic transitions worldwide; [and] we’ve launched massive relief efforts to help the vulnerable and those suffering from man-made and natural disasters,” Rice said in remarks before the anniversary.
She said the United States has continued to work as a leader within the United Nations, taking a leading role in efforts to protect human rights.
“We’ve reinvigorated the U.N.’s human rights machinery and adopted landmark resolutions to condemn violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals,” Rice said, adding that the organization also has recently added a new agency to help empower women.
The group continues to promote child survival, maternal health, sustainable energy and development while it works to tackle a number of emerging global challenges.
Since its inception, the United Nations has helped negotiate more than 170 peace settlements that have ended regional conflicts, and have participated in more than 300 international treaties on topics ranging from environmental protection to human rights. It has provided a catalyst for conflict prevention and a forum for mediation. U.N. military forces have carried out more than 35 peacekeeping missions to provide security and reduce armed conflict.
The organization has made great strides in protecting human rights, promoting humanitarian assistance and supporting improvements in the lives of people around the globe. It has aided more than 30 million refugees fleeing war, persecution or famine; proactively worked to end diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria through the World Health Organization; provided training and equipment to developing countries; promoted workers’ rights; worked to achieve nuclear nonproliferation; and streamlined international cooperation on monetary issues.
In each of these efforts, Rice said, the United States has played a pivotal role. Most recently, she said, the United States has advanced the U.N. mission by championing a more modern and efficient structure while helping the organization to achieve its first meaningful budget cut in more than a decade.
“We’ve worked to promote a stronger and more effective United Nations that is better equipped to tackle the global challenges of tomorrow,” Rice said.
She said the United States remains committed to the United Nations as the principal forum for international cooperation in the 21st century.
The anniversary fell shortly after Argentina, Australia, Luxembourg, Korea and Rwanda were elected to serve as nonpermanent members of the U.N. Security Council for 2013 and 2014.
“We look forward to a strong and productive partnership with these incoming members to address issues fundamental to international peace and security,” Rice said in an October 18 statement.
The U.N. General Assembly meets intensively from September to December each year at U.N. headquarters in New York. The 2012 meeting marked global progress in a number of areas, ranging from agriculture and education to peace and security.