Zonta International celebrates United Nations Day and 75 years of the UN

Today marks United Nations Day, which is when the UN Charter was entered into force in 1945. This year, UN Day also honors the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, the largest international organization tackling issues such as such as gender equality, sustainable development, human rights, peace and security, climate change, humanitarian and health emergencies, governance, food production, and more.

"This anniversary comes in a time of great disruption for the world, compounded by an unprecedented global health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with severe economic and social impacts," said the UN. "But it is also a reminder that times of struggle can become an opportunity for positive change and transformation."

Zonta International has supported the UN since the very beginning. Cooperation started when the UN was founded in 1945. Since 1969, Zonta has held consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Past Zonta International President Helvi Sipilä, the first woman assistant secretary-general of the UN, served as secretary general for the First World Conference on Women in 1975 in Mexico and went on to spearhead the establishment of UNIFEM, now UN Women.

Members of Zonta International have participated in subsequent conferences on women (Copenhagen 1980, Nairobi 1985, Beijing 1995). Today, Zonta has representatives at major UN locations: New York, Geneva, Vienna, UNESCO in Paris and ESCAP in Bangkok.

As an accredited NGO with General Consultative Status, Zonta advocates for gender equality and works with other NGOs to ensure women’s active and equal participation in decision-making processes at the UN through the Commission on the Status of Women, advocacy around the Sustainable Development Goals—in particular, Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls—and working groups on aging, education, child marriage, migration, drugs and crime. Zonta International is grateful for its participation in these important processes and looks forward to a future where civil society organizations continue to be heard.

"The world is facing unprecedented challenges, including a global pandemic, widespread gender inequality and climate change. The United Nations is integral to overcoming these challenges," said Sharon Langenbeck, Zonta International President. "We at Zonta International are proud of our involvement in the UN and our partnerships with various UN agencies."

Zonta International also contributes to projects organized by UN agencies. From 2020-2022, Zonta is partnering with UNICEF USA and UNFPA for its international service projects to improve the health and protection of adolescent girls in Peru, combat violence against women and girls in Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste, provide education opportunities to children in Madagascar, and end child marriage in 12 countries. In the past, Zonta has also supported projects in partnership with UN Women, the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, UNIDO and UNESCO.

Please join us in congratulating the UN for 75 wonderful years. The UN Day Concert Performance, which was held on 22 October, is available to watch on UN Web TV (webtv.un.org), the UN Channel on YouTubeFacebook and Twitter

24 October 2020