[Dateline: New York | Author: iSeek]
As happens on 24 October each year, United Nations Day will be celebrated around the world. United Nations Day falls on Friday in 2008, and bicycle races, music concerts and exhibitions are just a few of the many special events planned.
In a message issued for the day, the Secretary-General said, “On this sixty-third anniversary of our Organization, I join you in celebrating UN Day.” He went on to discuss the Millennium Development Goals and the importance of the UN’s partnerships with civil society (full message).
“Partnership is the way of the future,” he explained. "Just look at the advances on malaria. Our global malaria effort has brought us within range of containing a disease that kills a child every 30 seconds. It is doing so through focused country planning. Greater funding. Coordinated global management. Top-notch science and technology.”
“Let us keep building on this as a way forward. There is no time to lose. The United Nations must deliver results for a safer, healthier, more prosperous world. On this UN Day, I call on all partners and leaders to do their part and keep the promise,” he added.
As 2008 is also the International Year of Languages, the SG’s message has been translated into, among others, the Armenian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Swedish, Thai and Ukrainian languages.
The following is a just a sample of the variety of activities planned at duty stations across the globe.
The celebration at the Economic Commission for Africa will mark not only UN Day, but also the 50th anniversary of the Commission. The daylong programme will consist of four major ceremonies starting with a flag-raising ceremony at 10 a.m. at the UNCC Main Entrance.
Following the flag-raising, the ECA Jubilee Book and Africa Hall Historical Project will be launched in a ceremony in CR1. The Jubilee Book chronicles and examines ECA’s main contributions to African development over the past 50 years at the global and regional levels through programmes of the UN and as a pan-African institution.
The aim of the Africa Hall Historical Project is to have the hall declared as being of historical and cultural value and mobilizing resources for renovating and upgrading the building to include a museum/permanent standing exhibition related to historical events that have taken place there.
In the afternoon, ECA and the Embassy of Italy will announce the winner of the first “Grinzane-Cavour Literary Prize for Africa”, also in CR1.
The evening session will be capped with an Ethiopian Cultural Evening hosted by the Government of Ethiopia, which will culminate in a ceremony jointly organized with the Staff Union, to recognize long-serving ECA staff members who have dedicated their lives to the UN for over 30 years.
Bangkok kicked off the festivities a day early with the opening of a multimedia “One UN” exhibition by 17 UN entities in the city’s largest shopping complex, called Central World.
The four-day, UN System-wide event combines video displays, posters in both English and Thai, and information booths to allow the public a closer look at the work of the UN.
“The various members of the UN family are bound together in a way that may not be obvious at a first glance,” said Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCAP, Mr. Shigeru Mochida at the joint exhibition’s opening. “They all share the unity of purpose, i.e. trying to make our world a better place.”
The exhibition, which has the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Human Rights as its theme, consists of four video monitors playing loops of UN pubic service announcements, animation, photo slide shows, and video representations of UN work.
Several UN Day activities; including an event hosted by the UN Resident Coordinator and supported by UNIC, are planned targeting the media, comprised of a special page on the role of the UN and its development achievements in the daily Al Balad on Sunday and other print media, as well as interviews with UN speakers on TV morning programmes.
Planned UN Week events organized by UNIC and the UN System in Colombia, include a UNHCR seminar for refugees, a forum on Avian Flu, seminar on gender and justice and “Helmets for Peace”, a UN Day photo exhibition on UN System activities in the country, and a concert.
A presentation of activities of all UN agencies and programmes in Germany is scheduled for Bonn’s market square. Live music and interviews on a stage in front of Bonn’s City Hall will take place on Saturday.
In Geneva, United Nations Day will be celebrated at the Palais des Nations with a ceremony in the Salle des Pas Perdus at 12:15 p.m.
At the brief ceremony, the United Nations flag will be raised, followed by remarks from the Director-General and a reading of the preamble to the Charter. The observance is an opportunity for staff to reaffirm their collective commitment to the values, principles and mission of our United Nations.
Other events include:
12:45 at the UNOG Library (Door 20): Guided visit to the exhibition on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Declaration, this exhibition traces the history of the drafting and adoption of the landmark document. The popular exhibition, which is now also on display at UNHQ and at the European Commission, will run through December 2008. A short film on the signing of the Declaration will be screened in the League of Nations Museum, where the permanent exhibition "From the League of Nations to the United Nations" is also available. A small reception will take place on the 1st floor of the Library (between the Museum and the Cyberspace).
15:00-18:00 in Room XII: “What is the UN Charter’s real value in 2008?”: organized jointly by the Non-Governmental Liaison Office of the United Nations Office at Geneva and the Geneva International Model United Nations, this interactive conference will reflect on the value of the Charter 63 years since its signing. The Director-General will deliver remarks at the opening segment.
UN Corner in the UNOG Library Cyberspace: the UN Corner is an open-shelf collection of new and historical books, encyclopaedias, multimedia and official publications on the United Nations Secretariat, the Secretaries-General, the Security Council, Peacekeeping, the United Nations Intellectual History Project, and much more. Staff are invited to browse through the materials to learn more about the wide-ranging efforts of the Organization.
The Day will conclude with the traditional United Nations Day concert, organized in the Organization's honour by the cantonal and municipal authorities of Geneva and taking place at Victoria Hall in Geneva. The Orchestra de la Suisse Romande will play under the direction of Kazushi Ono.
Several special events are planned around New York City. See also: UN Day concert planned in New York on Friday.
Panel discussion on “Globalization and Health”, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Conference Room 2. Organized by the Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination, Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
"Seizing the Moment: Breakthrough Measures to Build a New East West Consensus on Weapons of Mass Destruction and Disarmament", from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., ECOSOC Chamber, with BAN Ki-moon, Henry Kissinger, Sergey Kisylak and Hans Blix ( related flyer ). Organized by the Office for Disarmament Affairs.
UNITAR Seminar on Comprehensive and Whole-of-Government Approaches to Post-Conflict Situations from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., off site (related web site). Organized in collaboration with the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery of UNDP, the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) and the Norwegian Institute for International Affairs (NUPI).
The UNIC in Burkina Faso has planned week-long activities to mark UN Day including press briefing, ceremony, exhibit on the work of the UN, a TV debate on UN efforts on peace, development and human rights and a bicycle race.
An unofficial “UN anthem” will be performed by a South Korean student music group together along with a video of the Secretary-General reading his message for the day. Around 150 students are expected to attend three special lectures.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet will join the celebration at the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.
The ceremony, which begins at 11:15 a.m., will include guests of the Chilean government officials and representatives of the diplomatic corps, international organizations, the United Nations system, civic organizations and academics.
After remarks by Mr. Enrique Ganuza, Resident Coordinator, Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena will then speak on the commitment of the United Nations and ECLAC with peace, the wellbeing of peoples and the economic and social development of the region.
President Bachelet will close the event with a speech focused on her government’s achievements in social matters, with special emphasis on programmes aimed at infants and the elderly.
About the day
The United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, after ratification of the Charter, which had been drafted that summer in San Francisco, by the required number of future Member States.
In 1971, the General Assembly adopted a resolution [A/RES/2782 (XXVI)] recommending that 24 October, United Nations Day, be observed as a public holiday by Member States. Traditionally, it has been marked throughout the world by meetings, discussions and exhibits on the goals and achievements of the Organization.