This article celebrates United Nations Day, 24 October, 2014.
Today marks the United Nation’s 69th birthday. UN Day marks the anniversary of the UN Charter being introduced in 1945, shortly after WWII ended, and has been officially recognized since 1948. The charter, which is internationally recognized and holds all member countries accountable, at least theoretically, operates like a constitution. It calls for the maintenance of peace, international security, and for all global citizens to be able to enjoy basic human rights. By following the charter, ideally, we would live in a conflict-free world.
While the UN Charter isn’t always followed, as can be seen in multiple examples worldwide today, the UN is still making great strides towards creating positive, sustainable development, and these actions deserve celebration. UN Day is recognized to celebrate these positive achievements, and highlight important projects and campaigns that are ongoing.
This year’s theme is ‘Global Citizenship and Youth’.
As part of the celebration, a concert is taking place at the General Assembly Hall. Lang Lang, a globally recognized pianist and a UN Messenger of Peace, will be preforming. Alongside him will be a youth orchestra, featuring musicians from all five continents. Many of these young musicians studied within the El Sistema programme, based in Venezuela.
The programme offers free music lessons to children, especially those from low-income families. They are able to escape the dangerous streets of large cities, and gain musical knowledge that would otherwise be unavailable to them, while also fostering in positive self-esteem and life skills. This programme, while not directly linked to the UN, does fit their theme of ‘Global Citizenship and Youth,’ as it allows young people from various backgrounds to build and develop their livelihoods and become well-rounded and respectful global citizens.
This year, the UN will also be celebrating the success of the Millennium Development Goals. A project that is helping achieve the second MDG – achieving primary education for all – also fits in with the theme of ‘Global Citizenship and Youth’ and deserves recognition.
The Global Education First Initiative, a five-year plan that was introduced in 2012, has three main priorities that ensure youths worldwide have access to, support, and the ability to become active global citizens: 1) put every child in school, 2) improve the quality of learning and 3) foster global citizenship.
This program recognizes that, while the number of children enrolled in schools has increased worldwide, that does not necessarily mean that they are gaining the skills and knowledge needed, especially with regards to literacy and math. In an effort to ensure that educational standards meet global requirements, they hosted an event and brought together “Heads of State and Government, leading international advocates an UN principals to focus on the importance of quality education as a way to build a more equitable, prosperous and sustainable world.”
With the success of the MDGs still ongoing, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to take effect soon in 2015, the UN will continually work towards creating positive development to ensure the charter is followed. To this end, General Ban Ki-moon shared the following thoughts:
“At this critical moment, let us reaffirm our commitment to empowering the marginalized and vulnerable. On United Nations Day, I call on Governments and individuals to work in common cause for the common good.”