Video: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says that the UN Charter, which was adopted 75 years ago, remains a touchstone for a world mired in great challenges. (Xinhua)
"The Charter's vision stands the test of time and its values will continue to carry us forward," said United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
UNITED NATIONS, June 26 (Xinhua) -- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday that the UN Charter, which was adopted 75 years ago, remains a touchstone for a world mired in great challenges.
"It remains our touchstone for a world mired in a pandemic, torn by discrimination, endangered by climate change and scarred by poverty, inequality and war," the UN chief said in his video message marking the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Charter.
"Agreement on the Charter closed one era and opened another," said the secretary-general. "Gone were the genocidal Nazi regime and their allies; in came the prospect of human rights."
"Out went the rampant nationalism and precarious balance of power that produced two catastrophic world wars; in came the promise of collective security and the peaceful resolution of disputes," he added.
The UN chief said, "Where an earlier attempt at international organization dissolved, the new United Nations started life on firmer ground built on norms and the lessons of hard experience."
The UN Security Council holds a meeting on the Iraq issue at the UN headquarters in New York, the United States, March 3, 2020. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)
Speaking of the post-war multilateral arrangements, Guterres said that they "have compiled a solid record of service - saving millions of lives, advancing the human condition and fulfilling its cardinal task of preventing World War Three."
"But there have been painful setbacks," said the secretary-general. "And today's realities are as forbidding as ever."
"COVID-19 has touched everyone, everywhere - precisely the kind of global challenge for which the United Nations was founded," he added.
Talking about trust, Guterres noted that "people continue to lose trust in political establishments."
"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.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (on the screens) speaks at a virtual press briefing at the UN headquarters in New York, on June 25, 2020. (Xinhua)
"Meanwhile, other fundamental fragilities have only grown: the climate crisis, environmental degradation, cyberattacks, nuclear proliferation, a pushback on human rights and the risk of another pandemic. It is not difficult to imagine a new virus transmitted as easily as COVID-19 but as deadly as Ebola," he added.
Recalling what the founding people of the UN did 75 years ago, Guterres said that the delegates in San Francisco in 1945, having themselves lived through a global pandemic, depression and war, seized their opportunity to plant the seeds of something better and new.
"Today, we must do the same," he stressed.
"To achieve that watershed moment, we need to reimagine multilateralism, give it teeth to function as the founders intended, and ensure that effective global governance is a reality when it is needed," said the secretary-general.
"We must also bring others to the table in an inclusive and networked multilateralism, since governments are only part of today's political realities. Civil society, cities, the private sector and young people are essential voices in shaping the world we want," he added.
A portrait of former United Nations Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar is pictured at the UN headquarters in New York, on March 5, 2020. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)
"Like those who drafted the Charter, we must look without illusion at today's injustices, their roots and the suffering they engender," he said.
The UN chief encouraged the international community to drive onward by displaying "heroism and solidarity" in the fight against the pandemic; embracing the Sustainable Development Goals; and advancing "equality, climate action and green economy."
Guterres paid special tribute to "the service and sacrifice" of thousands of UN peacekeepers, staff and others who, across the world and across the years, "gave their lives while advancing the causes and values of the UN."
"The Charter's vision stands the test of time and its values will continue to carry us forward," he said.
"Now is the time to persevere, press ahead, pursue our goals, show responsibility for our world, and take care of each other. It is up to us to rise to the test of this pivotal moment for our future," the secretary-general concluded. ■