On 24 October 2020, the United Nations celebrates its 75th anniversary.
Barn henter vann fra en brønn som drives med solenergi i Police District 21 i Tarakhail Daag, som ble bygget med støtte fra UNHCR. © UNHCR / Claire Thomas
On 24 October 2020, the United Nations celebrates 75 years of maintaining international peace, promoting human rights, and tackling the most pressing global challenges. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has been playing a vital role in these efforts, and is more important than ever.
In the aftermath of the Second World War, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was formed to respond to the needs of the millions of Europeans who had been forced to flee due to the conflict. The operation of the new UN agency was originally estimated to last only three years. Nearly 70 years later, UNHCR has grown to a global organization operating in 135 countries, with a mandate to help, protect and find solutions for millions of people – highlighting the long-lasting challenges related to people forced to flee their homes.
Over the past decades, UNHCR’s mandate has grown to include internally displaced people, who flee within their own State, and stateless people, who do not have citizenship in any country.
Refugees, internally displaced and stateless people are among those most affected by the global challenges that the United Nations seeks to tackle – from climate change to gender inequity. Today, a person is forced from his or her home every three seconds – less than the time it takes to read this sentence.
UNHCR is always striving to find new and innovative ways to help and protect the forcibly displaced. As the UN accelerates action on sustainable development – with the adoption of the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that seek to address a range of issues, from the elimination of poverty and hunger, to securing access to education, jobs and affordable and clean energy – UNHCR is working to ensure that refugees are included in these efforts and that no one is left behind.
One recent UNHCR initiative is the Clean Energy Challenge, which aims to provide clean, safe and affordable energy for individuals who have been forced to flee. UNHCR is also supporting refugee-led innovation – ranging from funding the creation of a marketplace app in Algerian refugee camps, to awarding refugee-led organizations’ novel solutions to the COVID-19 crisis.
Since 1992, UNHCR has operated the Refugee Scholarship Programme (DAFI), which has made it possible for more than 18,000 young refugees to pursue higher education. Although only 3 percent of refugee youth today have access to higher education, UNHCR has committed to raise this to 15 percent by 2030.
The 75th anniversary of the UN provides a moment of reflection and an urgent call to action to build a better world. Together we can and will shape a more peaceful, sustainable and inclusive future, where no one is left behind.
UNHCR in the Nordic and Baltic countries participates in several activities throughout the region to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.
In Denmark, UNHCR’s Representative for the Nordic and Baltic Countries, Mr. Henrik M. Nordentoft, will speak about the global refugee situation at a virtual study trip to the UN, arranged by the Danish UN Association. Earlier during the week, UNHCR’s Spokesperson for Denmark, Ms. Elisabeth Arnsdorf Haslund, will speak about UNHCR’s work and refugee inclusion at a digital youth workshop, arranged by the UN City in Copenhagen and the Danish Youth Council.
On 4 November, UNHCR’s focal point for Estonia, Mr. Kari Käsper, will take part in the discussion Innovative Estonia and global issues – what can we do?, organized by the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The discussion will take place at Juhan Kuus Documentary Photo Centre, featuring Vincent Tremeau’s exhibition One day I will.
In Lithuania, the virtual conference The future we want, the UN we need: Lithuania’s contribution to multilateralism is being organized by the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in partnership with UNHCR, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the World Health Organization (WHO).
In Sweden, the Swedish UN Association in collaboration with a number of other UN entities represented in the country – including UNHCR – has produced a video campaign that in four clips helps commemorate the United Nations’ 75th anniversary.