75 years working for peace
UN Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter. With the ratification of this founding document by the majority of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security Council, the United Nations officially came into being.
There is no other global organization with the legitimacy, convening power and normative impact of the United Nations. Today, the urgency for all countries to come together, to fulfil the promise of the nations united, has rarely been greater.
24 October has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948. In 1971, the United Nations General Assembly recommended that the day be observed by Member States as a public holiday.
The 75th anniversary
The year 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and its founding Charter. This anniversary comes in a time of great disruption for the world, compounded by an unprecedented global health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with severe economic and social impacts. But it is also a reminder that times of struggle can become an opportunity for positive change and transformation.
To commemorate the 75 years of the United Nations, Member States hold a high-level event on 21 September 2020, where they reaffirmed and recognized that our challenges are interconnected and can only be addressed through reinvigorated multilateralism.
UN annual concert
To celebrate UN Day, an annual concert is usually held in the General Assembly Hall.
This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the concert was prerecorded and screened in the GA Hall on Thursday, 22 October 2020.
The concert, sponsored by the Mission of Italy under the theme “Reimagine, Rebalance, Restart: recovering together for our shared humanity”, included a performance featuring Roberto Bolle, accompanied by other world class etoiles as well as the Orchestra of Teatro alla Scala, all recorded at La Scala Theater in Milan. A number of classical, modern and reimagined dances, curated specifically for the UN Day Concert, were performed.
By connecting us and creating common understanding, art and culture create the fertile ground from which genuine solidarity can emerge. In this spirit, music and dance can help bring us together to reimagine a world “rebalanced”, to be designed and built together for present and future generations. Highlighting the significance of the 75th anniversary of the UN and reflecting on the experience of the pandemic, the 2020 UN Day performance leveraged the power of music and dance to capture our collective commitment to cooperation, multilateralism and global solidarity.
The UN Day Concert performance streamed LIVE on this page as well as on UN Web TV and the UN social media channels. If you missed it, you can see a little extract here below!
Europe turns UN blue, an initiative by UNRIC
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Organization, the UN Regional Information Centre for Western Europe (UNRIC) has launched an initiative to “Turn Europe UN Blue” with the support of Fabrizio Hochschild, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Commemoration of the United Nations 75th anniversary.
For this pan-European campaign, in a continent where many of the UN’s founding members are located, more than 300 iconic buildings (between monuments, bridges, museums and other landmarks) from 208 cities and 22 countries, were lit up in blue – the official colour of the United Nations – on 24 October 2020. The initiative was a symbolic effort to unite global citizens, promote the universal language of peace, sustainable development and human rights. Discover the participating buildings and cities and follow the conversation on social media using the hashtags #EuropeTurnsUNBlue and #UN75 !
For more information, please visit the official website for the ‘Europe Turns UN Blue’ initiative.
Other UN events
- 24 October 2020: the UN Chamber Music Society of the United Nations Staff Recreation Council (UNCMS) performed “75 Years of Love,” a virtual concert in celebration of the United Nations 75th Anniversary, that also resulted in a debut album launched to support the humanitarian work of the UNHCR. If you missed it, you can watch it on the UN Web TV portal.
- 26 october 2020: As part of the commemorative events marking the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, the General Assembly hold a meeting to observe UN Day on Monday October 26. The observance ceremony highlighted UN voices from the field – showcasing work of the UN and its agencies around the globe – and insiders’ perspectives of UN’s work and the future of the organization. You can watch the full event on the UN Web TV portal.
The future we want, the United Nations we need
The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us in the most powerful way that we are closely interconnected and only by working together and in solidarity we can build resilience against future pandemics and other global challenges.
In January 2020, the Secretary General launched a global conversation asking people through surveys and dialogues about their hopes and fears for the future, along with their priorities for international cooperation.
The findings of this Global Dialogue have been taken into account by world leaders and resulted in the adoption of a forward-looking political declaration during the high-level event of the 75th anniversary celebrations. The declaration was negotiated through an intergovernmental process under the theme “The future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism”.
History and milestones
The Charter was signed on 26 June 1945 by the representatives of the 50 countries. Poland, which was not represented at the Conference, signed it later and became one of the original 51 Member States.
The United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, when the Charter had been ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and by a majority of other signatories. The name “United Nations” was coined by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt and first used in the Declaration by United Nations of 1 January 1942, during Second World War.
READ MORE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE ORGANIZATION