United Nations Day - October 24, 2012
By: Yahnia Rodriguez, Bluegreen Corporation United Nations Day is celebrated annually on October 24. On this day in 1945, the five permanent members of the Security Council (France, China, Soviet Union, United States and United Kingdom) ratified the UN Charter. As of 2013, the United Nations General Assembly has 193 member states with South Sudan being the newest member added to the group. United Nations Day is the perfect occasion to celebrate the work of this important organization its global impact. Did you know that the UN...
- Provides food to 90 million people in 73 countries?
- Vaccinates 58% of the world's children, saving 2.5 million lives a year?
- Assist over 36 million refugees and people fleeing war, famine or persecution?
- Combats climate change and heads a campaign to end leaded fuel use in over 100 nations?
- Keeps peace with 120,000 peacekeepers in 16 operations on 4 continents?
- Fights poverty, helping 370 million rural poor achieve better lives in the last 30 years?
- Protects and promotes human rights on site and through some 80 treaties/declarations?
- Mobilizes $12.4 billion in humanitarian aid to help people affected by emergencies?
- Advances democracy, assisting some 30 countries a year with their elections?
- Promotes maternal health, saving 30 million women a year?
As you can see, the work and influence of the UN is far-reaching. This work is carried out by the six main bodies of the UN as established in the charter (the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice and the Secretariat) along with the larger family of 15 agencies, programmes and bodies including familiar agencies like UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) and the World health Organization. There are also some interesting and fun facts about the UN; for example:
- Although the budget for the UN comes from member states and is determined by their ability to pay, the United States and Japan together account for about 40% of the total budget.ii
- Although the UN has two working languages (English and French), it has a total of six official languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. The languages encompass those of the five permanent Security Council members. Spanish is included because the largest number of member states speak Spanish and Arabic was added after the 1973 oil crisis.iii
- The UN Headquarters are located in New York City but the land where it sits is considered international territory. The building was designed by Le Corbussier and Oscar Niemeyer and was built with an interest-free loan from the United States.iv
- Currently, only sovereign states may become members on the UN; however, 4 of the original member states (Belarus, India, Philippines and Ukraine) were not independent when they were admitted.v
There are many ways in which your organization can celebrate the remarkable work of the United Nations. Some suggestions include:
- Organize an activity within your organization to benefit a local charitable organization
- Arrange an onsite seminar involving civic leaders and media representatives
- Hold a UN trivia event to promote and educate on the work of the United Nations
- Host a multi-cultural lunch that highlights the foods of some of the member nations of the UN
As a diversity and inclusion celebration, United Nations Day is perhaps one of the most global events we have to recognize and highlight the values that make this organization what it is today. You can tailor your celebrations around themes that overlap and are meaningful to your diversity and inclusion initiatives, your corporate social responsibility programs and your overall organizational culture.