Updated: Dec 7, 2021
Peace, dignity and equality on a healthy planet
The predecessor of the United Nations was the League of Nations, established in 1919, after World War One, under the Treaty of Versailles to "promote international cooperation and to achieve peace and security."
Despite some early successes, the League of Nations was not able to prevent World War Two.
As of 20th April 1946, the League of Nations ceased to exist, having handed over all of its assets to the United Nations, and having granted the new UN Secretariat full control of its Library and archives.
In 1945, after the turmoil and destruction of World War II, the United Nations were established. 50 governments gathered in San Francisco on April 25th and began drafting the UN Charter, which was adopted on June 25th and then officially took effect on the 24th of October. The UN’s objectives include protecting human rights, maintaining international peace and security, providing humanitarian aid, upholding international law, and promoting sustainable development.
While United Nations Day celebrates the ratification of the 1945 Charter, it wasn’t until October 24th of 1948 that it was named an official holiday. Then in 1971, the United Nations General Assembly recommended that any country that makes up the UN should recognize it as a public holiday. Today marks the 72nd United Nations Day, which U.N. leaders say is meant to highlight the grave importance of sustainable development. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has ensured that the organization has put together 17 goals it plans to meet by 2030, all in the name of creating a better life for every living person.
Now, more than 75 years later, the United Nations is still working to maintain international peace and security, give humanitarian assistance to those in need, protect human rights, and uphold international law.
At the same time, the United Nations is doing new work not envisioned for it in 1945 by its founders. The United Nations has set sustainable development goals for 2030, in order to achieve a better and more sustainable future for us all. UN Member States have also agreed to climate action to limit global warming.
The history of the United Nations is still being written; though its specialized agencies, related agencies, funds, programmes and staff have been awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize twelve times. Take a moment today to consider the incredible impact the United Nations has had in every corner of the globe.