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GENEVA - Preparations for the observation of the United Nations' 75th anniversary are underway as the world body's ability to maintain global peace and security appears ever more tenuous.
The United Nations was founded in the aftermath of World War II on October 24, 1945, to prevent another devastating conflict. The 51 founding members hoped this new body would succeed where its predecessor, the League of Nations, had failed in maintaining global peace and security.
U.N. Undersecretary General Fabrizio Hoschschild is special adviser on the preparations for the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. He acknowledges the world body has fallen short of this mark, but he tells VOA conflicts would have been more intense and frequent, and longer without the United Nations. Moreover, he adds, some superpower confrontations have certainly been averted.
"But at the moment, the conflict resolution aspect of the United Nations, the principle body of which is the Security Council, is clearly not fulfilling its promise. And, perhaps the most painful testimony of that is the hundreds of thousands of dead that have come out of the Syrian conflict," he said.
Against these setbacks, Hoschschild says, are significant achievements made over the last 75 years in the betterment of the social, economic and human rights of people throughout the world.
"If we think of health, the average life expectancy when the U.N. was founded was around 50 years. Today it is around 75 years. People are living 25 years longer ... if we think of poverty eradication - when the U.N. was founded global poverty levels were 50%. Today they are down to 10%," he said.
Special events are being planned in the lead up to the U.N.'s 75th anniversary on October 24. These include a large-scale youth forum at the end of March in New York and a ceremony in San Francisco on June 26 to mark the signing of the U.N. charter there on that day in 1945.
On September 21, world leaders will gather in New York at a U.N. Summit coinciding with the opening of the U.N. General Assembly. They will discuss opinions and suggestions gathered throughout the year on ways to increase global cooperation.