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We, the Peoples…

By Delia Chatoor

On Monday, September 21, Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the United Nations (UN) will be invited to adopt the Declaration commemorating the 75th anniversary of the organisation.

The Charter of the United Nations entered into force on  October 24, 1945 and the negotiations to establish the organisation took place during the traumatic years of the Second World War with one of the key provisions emerging from the deliberations was the desire “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”.

The war and its aftermath witnessed the detonation of two nuclear bombs; the killing of millions of civilians and military; mass migration and homelessness; rampant diseases; disfigured environment in the theatres of conflict with the remnants of unexploded ordinances posing threats which are still evident today; and emerging calls for human rights for all.

Over the past 75 years, the United Nations (UN) through its specialised agencies, commissions and committees have served the international community relentlessly.

The 2020 Declaration will, therefore, seek to reflect on the successes enjoyed but equally relevant would be the review of the challenges faced since 1945. The global reach of COVID-19 is a contemporary example that there will always be threats to humankind and it is bodies such as the UN with its extensive outreach which could find the solutions.

In the first statement delivered by a pope to the UN on  October 4 1965, Pope Paul VI observed that “the United Nations Organisation, and the world bodies dependent upon it, are working where needed to help governments speed up their economic and social progress”.

He noted further that the Body was, inter alia, well placed “to give [men] modern health services adapted to their needs”.

It is, therefore, recognised that “international co-operation as envisioned through the UN” would better serve both nations and peoples and ensure “the sustainability of our planet as well as the welfare of generations for decades to come”.

On  September 18, 1962, the newly Independent State of Trinidad and Tobago was admitted to the UN. Since then, the country has benefitted from the support to its development with many nationals successfully representing the country in agencies which make up the UN system.

We have added our voice to the world’s intractable concerns ranging from disarmament; rights of women and children; threats to the ecosystems of small island developing states and recently, to the plight of migrants.

The 2020 Declaration will nevertheless acknowledge that the UN “has had its moments of disappointment and we are yet to attain what the founders envisaged 75 years ago”.

The plight of migrants and the COVID-19 pandemic continue to remind all that even though some may deny multilateralism, “we are closely interconnected and only as strong as our weakest link”.

As part of that link, we, as citizens of the world, must do our part within the boundaries of resources with a show of determination to display leadership, and “work together with partners to strengthen co-ordination and global governance”.

The dream, therefore, contained in the words of “We, the Peoples,” which begin the UN Charter can be realised through the equitable use of all the tools available including those emerging from the digital transformation of the world. The evolving processes can help us build on the past, respond to global concerns, and facilitate meaningful participation by all.

The call that “no one should be left behind” can provide the platform for the “Purposes and Principles” of the UN to be fulfilled so that we can “realize our shared vision for a common future”.

Delia Chatoor is a retired foreign service officer and a Lay Minister of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help, San Fernando Parish.