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Celebrating 75 years: The UN’s past and future by Professor John Langmore AM October 23,2020   |  Source: University of Melbourne

On Saturday 24th October, the United Nations will mark the 75th anniversary of its first meeting.

The global unanimity which greeted the UN’s formation in 1945 was the natural response to the horrors of the Second World War.

The first Article of the UN’s Charter makes this aim clear: “To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace...”.

The Charter became the foundation for the wide-ranging and complex international system which has grown since then, and which is considered by some analysts to now be threatened.

But the Charter’s central aim has been reiterated repeatedly by Member States and also collectively through system-wide statements.

For example, the remarkable Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the General Assembly in September 2015 includes as Goal 16 to “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”.

That excellent version of the peace goal nevertheless illustrates the tendency for incremental increases in the institution’s purposes.

One of the UN’s major achievements is to have survived


© The University of Melbourne

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