You are here: UN Day celebrated across the UK and beyond

24 October 2017

Celebrated on 24 October each year, UN Day - the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter - provides an opportunity to reflect on the unique role the UN has played over the last 72 years and the challenges that lie ahead.

UNA-UK's Executive Director, Natalie Samarasinghe, delivered her UN day speech to politicians, ambassadors, journalists and civil society at UNA-UK's main commemorative event.

Natalie emphasised the need to move beyond conceptual debates on the UN's relevance and accept that the Organisation is vital in addressing the global challenges of our time. She expressed that "while pundits can debate whether or not the United Nations still matters, the organisation is busy saving lives across the world everyday".

UNA-UK was delighted to use the occasion to present this year's Sir Brian Urquhart Award for Distinguished Service to a lifelong champion of international cooperation, Lord Judd of Portsea, who has made a seminal contribution to public life in the UK. Named in honour of Sir Brian, the British pioneer of UN peacekeeping and administration, the award recognises the outstanding service to the UN of a British citizen. 

UNA-UK would like to thank its partners at the Embassy of Sweden in London for hosting this year's UN Day event. 

UN Day across the UK

Our UN Day event was one of many. Local UNAs in all regions across the UK are holding their own events to mark the UN's 72nd birthday. 

From flag raising events organised by UNA Harpenden and UNA Southampton to the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Nuala McAllister, hosting a reception with UNA Northern Ireland, local UNAs are getting involved. 

UNA Canterbury held a service for world peace at Canterbury Cathedral which featured a speech from Helen Clark, Former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Administrator of the UN Development Programme. The event raised £1,000 for UNHCRRead Helen Clark's full speech

UNA-UK's movement is also taking the conversation online:

@WestminsterMUN : 72 years of service to the world , 17 #GlobalGoals for people and planet. On 24th October we celebrate #UNDay with @UNAUK!

@fransassetti: The question is not WHY we need the UN, but HOW can we make it better. On this #UNday, We should think of ways to make the UN more effective

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' message for UN Day 2017, reminded us that "the world’s problems transcend borders. We have to transcend our differences to transform our future. When we achieve human rights and human dignity for all people – they will build a peaceful, sustainable and just world."

To show your support for multilateralism this UN day, here is what you can do


Photo: UNHCR UK via Twitter