Today, I join the rest of the global community in celebrating United Nations Day, commemorating the signing of the treaty that established the world body 71 years ago.
It is a day to reflect on the progress the world has made in substituting diplomacy for conflict, and to reaffirm a commitment to international cooperation as a family of nations.
The UN was created in the aftermath of World War II and through its seven decades it has kept our planet on an even keel and fended off major conflicts through diplomacy and peace keeping.
Its support organisations have served humanity through UNICEF and UNESCO in particular, guarding free expression, the rights of our youth and children, women’s rights, and reducing illiteracy, hunger and poverty. The challenge in the years ahead is to ensure that member states fulfill their obligations to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Paris Climate Change agreement that takes effect on November 04 offers hope that the world community – including Trinidad and Tobago – will honour its commitment to confront global warming with measurable and effective strategies for a healthy planet.
While there is much to celebrate, this year’s observance comes at a time when unrest in some parts of the world is threatening international peace and driving millions of people from their homes. The result is an international refugee crisis with multitudes fleeing terror in their home communities and depending on aid and the compassion of others.
The UN remains a symbol of stability and diplomacy through which the global community has overcome some of its worse social, economic and political crises. Yet, as US President Barack Obama has noted, “The same forces of integration that have helped forge closer ties and stronger partnerships among the world’s nations also have exposed deep fault lines that we must address. In too many places around the world, perpetrators of atrocities go unpunished and those who violate international law face no consequences.”
Our modern world is a global village in which communication transmits information at the speed of light breaching borders and conventional security measures. We cannot co-exist as a bloc seeking selfish interests because we all share this one planet and face the same perils. This is our only home and the human family has a duty to humankind to keep the peace while dealing with the many humanitarian challenges we face.
The UN remains a vital organisation that provides optimism that tomorrow will be a better day.
On this celebration of the 71st anniversary, the United Nations is in transition with its eight Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon preparing to hand over the leadership to his successor, Antonio Guterres. I join the global community is thanking Secretary General Ban for his service to the UN and to humanity. I wish his successor well as he undertakes the mission to maintain global peace and stability while working with member states to achieve sustainable development and respect for human rights and dignity.