Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Sefik Dzaferovic said the United Nations emerged out of the need to avoid threats to sovereignty and avert mass crimes. The Charter of the United Nations commands respect for human rights, he said, adding that the text enshrined the principles that protect the rights of billions of human beings. While conflict on the scale of the two World Wars have been averted, myriad crises exist across the world and the United Nations has been unable to curtail conflict due to lack of consensus among its Member States. Intersecting challenges affect the entire world, he said, pointing to mass migration as an issue of vital relevance. He said problems that might appear far away can affect any country.
In a high-level meeting to commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations, world leaders in the General Assembly gathered in a virtual format today to adopt a declaration honouring the multilateral framework put in place by its founders in 1945 and pledging to better live out the promise to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.
Titled “Declaration on the commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations,” the text lays out 12 succinct commitments to reanimate global resolve: leave no one behind, protect the planet, promote peace, abide by international law, place women and girls at the centre, build trust, improve digital cooperation, upgrade the United Nations, ensure sustainable financing, boost partnerships, work with youth, and, finally, be prepared.
“We are not here to celebrate,” world leaders said, through the declaration. “Our world is not yet the world our founders envisaged 75 years ago.”
In fact, it is plagued by growing poverty, hunger, terrorism, climate change — and now, the epic onset of COVID-19, they recalled. People are forced to make dangerous journeys in search of safety. Least developed countries are falling behind “and we still have not achieved complete decolonization”, they stressed.
“Our challenges are interconnected and can only be addressed through reinvigorated multilateralism,” they emphasized. Acknowledging that COVID-19 caught them off-guard, they agreed it has served as a wake-up call for improving preparedness. “What we agree today, will affect the sustainability of our planet as well as the welfare of generations for decades,” they said, committing to uphold the declaration in the spirit of “We the Peoples”.
The adoption followed a clarion call by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to preserve the longest period in modern history without a military confrontation among the world’s major Powers. “This is a great achievement of which Member States can be proud,” he said, addressing an Assembly Hall sparsely populated, due to pandemic safety restrictions. “A third world war — which so many had feared — has been avoided.”
Yet, there is still so much to be done, he stressed. Gender inequality is the “greatest single challenge to human rights around the world”. The climate calamity looms. Poverty is rising. Hatred is spreading. And nuclear weapons remain on hair‑trigger alert. “We can only address them together,” he said. An interconnected world requires a networked multilateralism, in which the United Nations, international financial institutions, regional organizations, trading blocs and others work together more closely and effectively.