The United Nations - 70 Years Young

10/23/2015 // October 24th marks 70 years since the establishment of the United Nations. Norway firmly believes that “Strong UN. Better World” is more than a slogan.

“The United Nations is still important for a better world. For a relatively small country such as Norway, the UN plays a significant role in regulating relations between states and upholding international norms and treaties”, says Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

The theme of the 70th anniversary is “Strong UN. Better World”, and it has truly been a remarkable year for the organization. In September a record-breaking number of world leaders came to the UN headquarters in New York and adopted the UN Sustainable Development Goals, seventeen ambitious and wide-ranging goals to be achieved by the year 2030. In Paris this December, world leaders will once again gather, this time to discuss one of the world’s biggest challenges, climate change.

The iconic facade of the United Nations Headquarters, under construction. Photo: UN Photo.

Norwegian lawyer and politician Trygve Lie was the United Nations first Secretary General. He held the post for seven years, from 1946 to 1953, and famously described it as "the most difficult job in the world".

Read more: Trygve Lie's seven years for peace

A UN for the future

 “The 70th anniversary of the United Nations is a timely opportunity to highlight its many and enduring achievements”, stated current UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The UN has achieved much in the past 70 years and tackled many challenges. Decolonization, the establishment of an international human rights framework, and poverty reduction to mention a few.

“The UN must also adapt to a new age. Today we face new global challenges that no one thought of in 1945. Most global challenges, and often the hardest ones, ends up in the UN. Climate change, the emergence of terrorist organizations like ISIL, the ebola epidemic and a large number of humanitarian crises have put the UN under great pressure”, says Norway’s Foreign Minister Børge Brende.

The Secretary General has recently taken important initiatives to improve the UN's ability to handle conflicts and facilitate sustainable peace. Norway supports these initiatives with an active UN policy and financial support, and specific contributions by the defense and police. This year we also celebrate the 15th anniversary of the first resolution on women, peace and security. This resolution has helped to develop and strengthen the global efforts of peace and security.

70 years and beyond

Starting with just 51 countries in 1945, the United Nations now has 193 Member States and more than 30 funds, programmes and specialized agencies promoting peace, development and human rights. The UN has had eight Secretaries-General, the first was Norwegian Trygve Lie. He oversaw the establishment of the first ever UN Peacekeeping operations in 1948.

“The whole idea behind the UN was that all countries have to come together to solve global challenges. In a globalized world where we rely even more on each other than any other time in our history, the need for such an organization, is greater than ever”, says Foreign Minister Brende.

That is why, 70 years on, the United Nations remains at the center of Norway’s foreign policy.


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