Saturday 31 October, 2020

United Nations Day: 10 things you didn't know about the UN

On October 24, the world celebrates United Nations Day. 

The day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter. United Nations Day is devoted to highlighting the aims and achievements of the United Nations Organization and the day forms as part of United Nations Week, which runs from October 20 to 26.

As a global body, we know that the United Nations has done an innumerable amount of work in promoting peace and diplomacy, promoting human rights, fostering social and economic development, protecting the environment, and providing humanitarian aid. 

Here are 10 fun facts you may not know about the United Nations. 


1. The United Nations isn't the first world organisation

The first world organisation of countries was the League of Nations--founded after World War I in 1920--with an aim to prevent the repeat of the war.

However, soon after the League of Nations was formed, the world was caught up in another war: World War II. 


2. Universal human rights was first on the UN's agenda

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the first document to detail the fundamental human rights that must be protected. The declaration was proclaimed by the General Assembly in 1948. 


3. The UN assists member states with their elections

The UN supports about 67 countries a year with their elections, using diplomacy to prevent conflict. With the understanding that elections are a vital part of the democratic process, the UN plays a major role in providing international assistance to the important processes of change including political transitions, implementation of peace agreements and consolidation of democracy. 


4. The UN is aiming to eradicate world hunger by 2030

The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) provides food and assistance to 80 million people in about 80 countries. Additionally, WFP is planning for the future by developing programmes to ensure a more stable food environment. In 2015, the global community recognised "Zero Hunger" as one of the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development to improve people’s lives by 2030. Zero Hunger pledges to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.


5. The Paris Agreement had the most member signatories in a day

The Paris Agreement on climate change was signed by the largest amount of countries ever in a single day. On Earth Day 2016, 174 world leaders signed the agreement at the UN headquarters in New York. The Paris Agreement is an agreement within the UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change, dealing with the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions around the world. 


6. Three Caribbean countries were among the original UN members...

Haiti, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic were the only three Caribbean islands that were among the original members of the United Nations when it came into existence in 1945. 


7. ...And three that are not members at all 

The Vatican (Holy City), Kosovo, and Taiwan are the only countries not listed as UN members.


8. The most recent entry to the UN was in 2011

The Republic of South Sudan joined the United Nations as the 193rd member state shortly after gaining independence. 


9. There are only six official languages are recognized by the UN

Because it will pose to be a serious challenge to accommodate the hundreds of languages spoken by the 193 member representatives, there are only six languages officially recognised by the UN. They are: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. 


10. The UN has an Academy Award

The United Nations earned an Academy Award in 1948 for the 1947 documentary short, "First Steps". The film was about the treatment of children with disabilities and was produced for the Department of Social Affairs in the United Nations. 


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