The United Nations Day, celebrated on 24 October every year, is one of the most important international observances throughout the world. This day marks the anniversary of the enforcement of the United Nations Charter.
United Nations formally came into existence in the year 1945 in San Francisco, California, United States. There were a total of 51 countries that participated in the San Francisco Conference. Most of these countries, including the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, ratified the UN Charter which established the entire framework of the UN system.
Objective of the United Nations Day
As per the UN General Assembly Resolution, the objective of UN Day is to make people aware of the aims and achievements of the United Nations and gain people’s support for its work. Observance of the UN Day emphasizes the purpose and role of the United Nations in facilitating international peacekeeping, security, and cooperation.
History & Background
United Nations was formed following the aftermath of the World War II. International leaders felt the need for the creation of a new international organization that not only protects them from the abuses of war but also ensures the maintenance of international peace and security. United Nations was the second such international organization formed in the 20th century. The first one was the League of Nations formed in 1920 after World War I which is often referred to as the predecessor of the United Nations. The UN Charter was signed on 26 June 1945 at the conclusion of the San Francisco Conference. It eventually came into force on 24 October 1945.
Observance of the UN Day
In 1947, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution declaring 24 October, the anniversary of the UN Charter, as the United Nations Day. Accordingly, the first official UN Day was observed on 24 October 1948. Later, in 1971, the UN General Assembly brought another resolution declaring that the UN Day as an international observance. The UN member countries were also recommended to declare a public holiday on 24 October.
UN Day prior to the foundation of UN
Six months after the declaration of the United Nations in 1942, an event was organized on 14 June 1942. This event was named as the United Nations Day. Launched by the US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, this event was basically a day to showcase solidarity among the World War II Allies. This day was observed for three years until 1944. However, the meaning and relevance of the day were very different from UN Day as we celebrate it today. This is the reason why 24 October 1948, and not 14 June 1942, is considered as the first UN Day.
The UN Day 2020: Celebrating the 75 years of UN legacy!
24 October 2020, marks the 75 anniversary of the United Nations. On this day various events such as exhibitions, meetings, seminars, and discussions take place in different cities of the world. An annual concert also takes place each year on this day at the UN General Assembly Hall. This year, however, due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic most events will be organized virtually.
Brief Timeline: Formation of the UN
- 01 January 1942 – Declaration of the United Nations & Coining of the term “United Nations” by US President Roosevelt.
- 30 October 1943 – Moscow Conference
- 01 December 1943 – Tehran Conference
- 07 October 1944 – Dumbarton Oaks Conference
- 11 February 1945 – Yalta Conference
- 26 June 1945 – Signing of the UN Charter
- 24 October 1945 – UN Charter came into force