MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The United Nations celebrates its 70th anniversary on Saturday, October 24, vowing for a "strong UN and a better world."
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon emphasized that despite many years, the UN should remain guided by the “timeless values” it continues to share to the world.
“The timeless values of the UN Charter must remain our guide,” he said in a statement. “Our shared duty is to “unite our strength” to serve “we the peoples.”
The collective effort of countries seen in the UN proves that no man – or country – alone can solve the existing problems which burden people across nations.
“The world faces many crises, and the limits of collective international action are painfully clear,” the Secretary-General said. “Yet no single country or organization can address today’s challenges alone.”
In an interview over radio station dzRB on Saturday, October 24, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte reiterated the country's gratitude to the UN for coming to the aid of the Philippines in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda almost two years ago.
The UN, she said, "was one of the very first to say that they are ready to extend their assistance to our brothers and sisters in the Philippines," so that until now the country is grateful.
"Now, more than ever, the significance of United Nations cannot be over-emphasized as governments continue to resort to the UN and its various agencies for the promotion of peace, health, and development. We commend the United Nations as it continues to function as a beacon of hope and a voice of reason in the international stage," Valte said.
The UN is currently composed of 193 member-states. The Philippines is part of the 51 founding members in 1945 with Carlos P. Romulo as the first permanent representative and eventually the first Asian to become president of the General Assembly. (READ: United Nations Day: Things you should know)
‘Diverse and talented’
The UN remains a “beacon for all humanity” since it was founded 7 decades ago, according to Ban Ki-moon.
The Charter works hard to end hunger, provide shelter, end conflict, deliver life-saving assistance, and ultimately “defends human rights for all, regardless of race, religion, nationality, gender or sexual orientation.”
“The United Nations works for the entire human family of 7 billion people, and cares for the earth, our one and only home,” he emphasized.
With over 44,000 staff in 40 UN programs and agencies across countries, the Secretary-General lauded the “diverse and talented” staff that carries the advocacies of the Charter to life.
“The 70th anniversary is a moment to recognize their dedication – and to honor the many who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty,” he said.
To mark the occasion, the official color of the UN – blue – will be seen in over 200 iconic structures around the world. The Philippines is one of the first countries to light up a famous landmark as part of the global “Turn the World UN Blue” campaign.
“As we shine a light on this milestone anniversary, let us reaffirm our commitment to a better and brighter future for all,” Ban Ki-moon said.
A 'committed partner'
UN resident coordinator Ola Almgren said during a joint event by the UN and the Department of Foreign Affairs on Friday, October 23, that the Philippines remains committed in making a difference in the lives of people – including achieving the Sustainable Development Goals or the Global Goals.
“The Philippines has been a committed partner in all of these achievements," he said. "As one of 50 original signatory countries to the United Nations Charter, in San Francisco on 26 June 70 years ago, the Philippines holds a special and a proud place in the history of the United Nations," he added
There are currently 30 UN resident and non-resident agencies, programs, and international financial institutions in the Philippines, including the World Food Programme, United Nations Development Programme, and the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs, among others.
The UN system in the Philippines continues to work together with the government and local partners to further improve efforts in addressing problems in the country, including poverty and hunger for inclusive growth.
"The UN together with the government and people of the Philippines will continue to achieve more through our strong partnership," Almgren said. – Rappler.com