‘We the People……’

24 October, 2015

On the 24th October 1945, the United Nations (UN) officially came into being after the ratification of its founding document, the UN Charter, by the majority of its signatories including the five permanent members of the Security Council.

Emphasised in the opening lines of the UN Charter ‘We the people…’ the UN is universal in its membership, representing all people in all places equally. In addition its agenda is comprehensive spanning not only the prevention of war, but also disease, poverty, ignorance and inequality, as is demonstrated by the breadth of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets.

Today the world looks back over the past 70 years at pivotal moments in UN history. During this time the UN has been at the forefront of campaigns aiming to reduce the number of people dying in conflict and of famine and improving the human rights records of Member States, among others. However, as moments in its past demonstrate, the UN can only succeed if there is political will and leadership amongst its Member States. Although we have achieved a lot, as highlighted by the transition from development goals in the Millennium Development Goals to sustaining development goals, this is far from enough.

The 70th anniversary of the UN provides an opportunity for all people everywhere, but especially political leaders, to take stock of and further their commitment to the principles of the UN.

Here at Wilton Park, we look to contribute to the ongoing policy formulation on global issues. Conducted in the same manner as the UN, that of neutrality and equality, we have organised various events in conjunction with UN objectives.

This year alone we have held events in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet:


Strengthening the UN human rights treaty monitoring system: what are the next steps?

Strategies for tackling torture and improving prevention 

(Re)Building health systems in West Africa: what role for ICT and Mobile technologies?



Connecting space with international security and stability



African infrastructure projects: driving momentum, delivering jobs and improving livelihoods



Peacebuilding in Africa: evolving challenges, responses and new thinking


And Partnership:

Beyond aid: innovative governance, financing and partnerships for the post-2015 agenda 
Syria: engaging with local actors to increase humanitarian outreach


Looking ahead

We will continue to support and reflect on the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets through the development of new events. Our annual nuclear non-proliferation conference ‘Nuclear non-proliferation: planning for 2020’ 14-18 December 2015, will assess challenges, opportunities and prospects for the nuclear non-proliferation regime over the 2020 cycle of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Our event on ‘Promoting women’s political and economic engagement: ambition for the future’ 28-30 October 2015 will examine the current level of female engagement and aim to identify where action could be taken to deliver results most quickly; evaluate the potential impact of increased empowerment of women and girls in politics and the economy.



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