United Nations: 70 years of challenges and achievements
22 October 2015
This October, the UN celebrates its 70th anniversary. Prompted by the destruction brought about by the Second World War, the UN was founded in 1945 to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations and promote social progress, better living standards and human rights. Seventy years later, the UN has 193 Member States and Moldova celebrates the 23rd anniversary of its UN membership.
For the UN and the whole international community, 2015 represents a milestone. This year was marked by a number of historic decisions, which will shape the future work of the UN, its Member States and partners. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which will guide the global development agenda the coming 15 years, were adopted in September. In March, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 was adopted. It will strengthen disaster risk reduction to reduce losses of lives and assets from disasters worldwide. In June the world agreed on concrete ways to finance development cooperation with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. And the international community will negotiate a ground-breaking universal climate agreement in Paris this December.
The UN works across a wide range of areas to improve people’s lives. Every year, the UN assists some 60 countries with elections. Through UN work on maternal health, the lives of 30 million women a year are saved. The UN protects and promotes human rights on site and through some 80 treaties and declarations. It fights poverty, helping improve the health and well-being of 420 million rural poor. 90 million people in 80 countries are provided with food by the UN. These are just a few examples and the list could be much longer.
There is certainly no shortage of challenges for the UN and international community to tackle. Protracted conflicts cause enormous human suffering and hamper development. Migrants and refugees are fleeing persecution, conflict and human rights abuses. The threat of climate change looms large with potential disastrous consequences for life on our planet.
Climate change is one of the greatest threats to Moldova’s development too. Due to high dependence on the agricultural sector, the people and economy remain vulnerable to climate conditions, and extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods, affect a large number of people. In the past years we have unfortunately witnessed the damaging impact severe droughts can have on the country. Climate change is therefore a focus area for the UN in Moldova, and several UN agencies are working together with the Government and other partners to address climate and disaster risks.
The UN helped improve the Government’s capacity to address climate and disaster risks at the national and local level. An important achievement was the adoption of the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy in 2014. The UN is also contributing to setting up a robust national inventory system for greenhouse gas emissions, which will help the Government formulate relevant policies and actions in response to climate change. An UN-led project on the use of biomass, a renewable energy source, is contributing to the creation of a whole new industry in the country. With EU funding, about 200 biomass heating systems have been installed in municipal institutions and efficient briquette/pellet-fired boilers in over 620 private households. They provide sustainable heating, resulting in annual emission reductions of 30,000 tons of CO2. This initiative has also created jobs and income throughout the country, with more than 120 companies supplying locally produced solid biofuels to these installations. The UN also supports the country in climate change adaptation in agriculture. It promotes technologies and practices that improve climate resilience, and supports climate-smart investments. In the field of statistics, the UN helps public authorities to better manage agricultural data, which will inform national policies on climate and disaster resilience.
This 70th anniversary is an opportunity for the UN to reflect on its history and celebrate its achievements. At the same time it is an opportunity to look forward and focus on the areas where it has to redouble its efforts – such as climate change. In Moldova and throughout the world, the UN will continue its work to achieve peace and security, human rights and development for everyone, everywhere.
Dafina Gercheva, for Ziarul de Garda
UN Resident Coordinator
UNDP Resident Representative
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