Low-key 75th anniversary of UN’s birth because of pandemic

Low-key 75th anniversary of UN’s birth because of pandemic

TANZANIA, Tanzania — The United Nations marked the 75th anniversary of its birth with a scaled-down event Friday because of the coronavirus pandemic, one of many challenges a deeply divided world faces along with poverty, inequality, discrimination and unending wars.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the virtual commemoration of the signing of the U.N. Charter that “global pressures are spiraling up” and “today’s realities are as forbidding as ever.”

He said people continue to lose trust in government and political establishments. He has also spoken repeatedly about the rise of populism triggering increasing threats to multilateralism. And he has often denounced what he calls a “groundswell of xenophobia, racism and intolerance,” including anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim hatred.

“Today’s marches against racism were preceded by widespread protests against inequality, discrimination, corruption and lack of opportunities all over the world — grievances that still need to be addressed, including with a renewed social contract,” he said in the video address.

“Meanwhile,” Guterres said, “other fundamental fragilities have only grown: the climate crisis, environmental degradation, cyber attacks, nuclear proliferation, a push-back on human rights and the risk of another pandemic.”

He recalled the hope that the birth of the United Nations brought to people everywhere as World War II was ending, and said the U.N. Charter remains “a touchstone for a world mired in a pandemic, torn by discrimination, endangered by climate change and scarred by poverty, inequality and war.”

The delegates from about 50 countries — representing over 80% of the world’s population — who signed the charter in San Francisco on June 26, 1945, “seized their opportunity to plant the seeds of something better and new” after the devastation of World War II and the Holocaust, Guterres said.

Nations and people everywhere “must do the same today,” he said.

The secretary-general said multilateralism must be given “teeth” to ensure “that effective global governance is a reality when it is needed.” Civil society, cities, the private sector and young people also must be brought to the table because they are “essential voices in shaping the world we want,” he said.

Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, president of the 193-member General Assembly, said multilateralism must not only include civil society but “ensure the full participation of voices that have gone unheard for too long: those of women, youth, indigenous persons and people with disabilities.”

“This is a moment of reckoning for our shared planet and shared future. This is a time for action, ambition and partnership,” he said. “Three-quarters of a century ago, skeptics doubted the resolve of the members of the United Nations. Cynicism did not prevail then, nor will it now.”

Guterres said in an Associated Press interview ahead of the anniversary that the U.N.’s biggest accomplishment has been the long period since World War II without a conflict by the major powers, and the avoidance of World War III or a nuclear war.

He said its biggest failing has been its inability to avoid the proliferation of medium and small conflicts, singling out Syria, Libya, Yemen and Afghanistan as examples of conflicts where peace is overdue.

At a news conference Thursday, he expressed growing concern over the “very dysfunctional relations” between the world’s two major nuclear powers, the United States and Russia, and its two major economic powers, the U.S. and China. It was a repeat of his warning in September about the looming risk of the world splitting in two, with the United States and China creating rival internets, currencies, trading networks and financial rules.

Nine months later, Guterres said in the AP interview, “we are witnessing this divide deepening.”

He said at the news conference that these rifts are growing at a time when global co-operation is urgently needed.

“One virus has put us on our knees, and we have not been able to fight it effectively,” Guterres said. “It’s spreading now everywhere. There was no control, no effective co-ordination among member states. We are divided in fighting COVID 19.”

Similarly, he said, nations have not been able to come together to effectively deal with climate change or to address the implications of genetic engineering, artificial intelligence and other technological advances.

Guterres said multilateral institutions need to be more powerful and international co-operation must be greater and more effective “to create the conditions for humanity to overcome these challenges.”

Edith M. Lederer, The Associated Press

United Nations

Just Posted

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta launches COVID vaccine lottery with million-dollar prizes to encourage uptake

The premier says the lottery will offer three prizes worth $1 million a piece, as well as other prizes

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Member Terry Parsons’ custom built track vehicle.
Forestburg’s Area 53 Racetrack gears up for action-packed season

Site will also host a portion of the ‘Miles of Mayhem’ event in July

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

Most Read