ESMO congratulated the United Nations on 75 years of achievements in defence of health as a human right which it celebrated in a virtual High-Level Meeting to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations on 21 September. Since 2011, the UN has put Noncommunicable Diseases, which include cancer, on the global political agenda, with the 2011 UN Political Declaration on NCDs, the 2014 UN Outcome Document on NCDs and the 2018 UN Political Declaration on NCDs calling for increased access to affordable care, and reductions in premature deaths from NCDs by 25% by 2025 and 33% by 2030. The 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals and the 2019 UN Political Declaration on Universal Health coverage represent monumental commitments which include achieving universal health coverage by 2030 and leaving no one behind.
During the High-Level Meeting the UN, the UN Members States reaffirmed the need for increased international collaboration to combat global challenges that can affect the very existence of humanity such climate change, world peace, and the COVID-19 pandemic. They expressed their continued commitment to the UN and its unique and essential role as a global organization to convene its Member States to address these and other pressing issues, and to find equitable and sustainable solutions.
The UN Member States also adopted a ‘Declaration on the Commemoration of the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the United Nations’ under the theme for UN meetings in 2020, ‘The future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism – confronting COVID-19 through effective multilateral action’.
Over its 75 years, the United Nations has worked to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. It has worked to build and maintain peace by resolving international disputes through peaceful means. It has also shaped norms for international development, and worked to eradicate disease. Much has been done but there is still more to do. The UN commemorative Declaration commits to the actions below to ensure the common good of future and present generations:
- Leave no one behind by achieving the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals, promoting and protecting human rights, providing humanitarian assistance and building back better after COVID-19
- Protect the planet by addressing climate change, protecting the environment, and building back better and greener
- Promote peace and avoid conflicts
- Abide by international law and ensure justice
- Place women and girls at the center, protect them, and ensure gender equality
- Build trust by addressing the root causes of inequality such as human rights abuses, corruption, discrimination, poverty, lack of education, and unemployment.
- Improve digital cooperation for safe and affordable digital technologies while protecting against malicious and improper use
- Upgrade the UN to be a more agile, effective, and accountable organ that is fit for purpose in a changing world
- Ensure sustainable financing of the UN with transparency, accountability and efficient use of resources
- Boost partnerships across borders and involving the whole of society and all stakeholders
- Listen to, and work with, youth who will live with the consequences of UN actions and inaction
- Be prepared for future challenges, including global health crises, and access to medicines, medical devices and vaccines
The UN Declaration applauds all healthcare and other frontline workers who put their own safety at risk when saving others, and pledges to put the people at the centre of the UN response. It reaffirms the UN Member States’ commitment to reinvigorated global action for the sustainability of the planet and the welfare of generations to come.
The UN also published a report of the over 1 million responses to its global consultation on their hopes and fears for the future, their priorities for international cooperation, and for the United Nations in particular. The report, The Future We Want, The United Nations that We Need: An update on the Update on the Work of the Office on the Commemoration of the UN’s 75th Anniversary, which can be downloaded here.