October 24 marks the anniversary of the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945 to promote international peace and co-operation among countries around the world.
Today, the United Nations is made up of 193 countries and has grown to become an influential force in maintaining world harmony.
In conjunction with United Nations Day, here are some notable contributions by this international organisation in making our world a better place for all.
1. Promoting Women’s Rights
The UN has made great strides in advocating for women’s rights. An entity of the UN, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, also known as UN Women, is dedicated to champion equal rights and the empowerment of women. Since its formation, the organisation has worked towards this goal by collaborating with governments worldwide.
For instance, along with the African Union, the Commonwealth, Inter-Parliamentary Union, Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, and Secretaria General Ibero- Americana, the UN women jointly issued a policy titled “Equality in law for women and girls by 2030: A multistakeholder strategy for accelerated action.”
This policy is meant to address the legal needs of over 50 million women and girls in 100 countries. In particular, it works to disband laws that prevent women from exercising their rights in relation to the economy, marriage and family, nationality rights, and personal status laws.
2. Fighting World Hunger
As a specialised agency of the United Nations, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is driven by the vision of a world without hunger. In fact, their efforts thus far have been a reflection of their Latin motto, fiat panis, which translates to “Let there be bread”. Together with the European Union (EU), the FAO has accelerated efforts in eradicating world hunger.
In 2009, the FAO and EU implemented the EU Food Facility in response to combating the food crisis from 2008 to 2011. This collaborative effort worth €1 billion helped improve the livelihood of 59 million people in over 50 countries.
3. Countering Terrorism
After the tragic 9/11 incident, the UN sought to devise a plan to combat terrorism. The first-ever global strategy was implemented in 2006 which provides legal assistance and urges collaboration between nations to counter terrorism.
Aside from this, 14 major global agreements and four additional amendments were crafted. This covers aspects like treaties against hostage-taking, aircraft hijacking, terrorist bombings, terrorism financing and nuclear terrorism.
4. Disarming Landmines
Landmines are destructive. In line with its theme, “United Nations Promotes SDGs – Safe Ground – Safe Home”, the UN responded to the landmine crisis by aiding in removing landmines and explosive hazards in over 30 countries.
This includes territories like Afghanistan, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya and Sudan. Above and beyond, the UN educates citizens living in war zone areas on methods to protect themselves from hazardous explosives and life-threatening situations.
(Fun fact: James Bond actor Daniel Craig is the first UN Global Advocate for the Elimination of Mines and Explosive Hazards)
5. Combating Polio
(Polio) is a contagious disease that causes one to experience muscle weakness. This devastating illness could even result in the inability to move.
To date, together with the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, WHO, Rotary International and the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the UN managed to wipe out polio in 125 countries.
* Featured image sourced from reVerb- the Levitt Foundation Blog