United Nations Day is an international observance to mark the anniversary of the founding of the United Nations on October 24, 1945. In the spring of that year representatives of fifty nations gathered in San Francisco to put the finishing touches on a document of far-reaching consequence - the Charter of the United Nations. The October 24th date marks the day when a sufficient number of ratifications had been obtained to launch the new United Nations officially. A new global institution had emerged out of the chaos and destruction of the Second World War to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war - to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights - to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedoms”.
In 1947 the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring that October 24 “shall be henceforth officially called United Nations Day and shall be devoted to making known to the peoples of the world the aims and achievements of the UN, and to gaining their support for the work of the United Nations”. UN Day is now marked in the 189 UN Member States, large and small, throughout the world.
Over the years UN Day has been observed in hundreds of communities across Canada. Those observations have taken many forms, from symbolic events such as the flying of the UN flag in civic venues to serious debates and forums about the issues before the UN, their relevance to Canada, and suggestions on how to address world problems through international co-operation.
The generations born after the founding of the UN in 1945 have come to realize that the UN offers no “quick fix” to international problems but that it is an essential instrument through which multilateral processes can be brought to bear to contribute to the solutions to global problems. A United Nations Day programme offers an opportunity to groups and individuals to acquaint themselves with the activities and the accomplishments of the UN – and to address the challenges we face together as the world moves into a new century.