Then, Now, Next
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In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

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Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

United Nations Photo
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In June 1945, Europe was reeling from a deadly, devastating world war. Peace had been achieved in the west, but world leaders knew that they had to take immediate action to build a better world and prevent another deadly conflict.

So, delegates from 50 countries gathered in San Francisco and committed to working towards progress by signing the UN Charter. Since that day, there have been tremendous gains: global life expectancy is now 72, global hunger has decreased, and before the pandemic, global extreme poverty was the lowest in recorded history.

The UN has been tackling poverty and world hunger for decades, but how much do you know about their work and impact?

We are at a pivotal moment and it will take global action and effort from everyone in order to recover better. Learn more about how the UN is working towards sustainable development, full equality, and the eradication of poverty and global hunger as part of UN75.

United Nations
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When you think about human rights, it's impossible to disagree that all people are entitled to life, liberty, and the ability to express themselves freely. These are truths that many of us grew up believing. And yet it may surprise you that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document created by the United Nations, which enshrines these rights and more, is only 72 years old.

Since founded 75 years ago to preserve the worth and dignity of all human beings, the United Nations has achieved an unprecedented number of human rights victories. According to new data shared by the organization, every one of the UN's now 193 member states have ratified at least one human rights treaty — 80 percent have ratified at least four. But the leadership in uplifting human rights goes beyond laws, treaties, and agreements.

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Since its founding, the United Nations has worked to drive global progress and tackle urgent problems on all fronts -- from health and development, to human rights and equality, to peace and security.

As the world commemorates the UN's 75th anniversary, let's reflect on all that humanity has achieved together, and all that is still left to do.

To learn more, visit: https://unfoundation.org/un75

Tell the UN the future you want: https://un75.online/partner/unfoundation

WHO/Daniel Hodgson
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On June 26, 1945, delegates from 50 countries gathered in the Herbst Theater auditorium in San Francisco.

They were there to sign the U.N. Charter, a treaty that, in its 19 chapters and 111 articles, founded and established a world organization devoted to saving "succeeding generations from the scourge of war." It would do so by maintaining international peace and security, strengthening international law, expanding human rights, and promoting social progress and better standards of life.

On that day, World War II was not even yet over — that day wouldn't come until September 2nd, 1945 when the Japanese surrendered — but it established an organization that, as one of its first endeavors, helped distribute lifesaving supplies and medicines to countries reeling from disease, injury and the trauma of war.

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