- Associated Press - Monday, September 21, 2020

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The world’s often-divided nations united Monday to adopt a declaration commemorating the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, saying the urgency for all countries to come together “has rarely been greater” amid global challenges ranging from the coronavirus pandemic to climate change and violent extremism.

The declaration, approved by 193 member nations at the mainly virtual commemoration, praises the United Nations as the only global organization with the power to bring countries together and give “hope to so many people for a better world and … deliver the future we want.”

Born out of the horrors of World War II, the United Nations was established to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war - words enshrined in the U.N. Charter.

The declaration recalls the U.N.’s successes and failures over more than seven decades and vows to build a post-pandemic world that is more equal, works together and protects the planet.

Even at times of great tension, the declaration says, the U.N. promoted decolonization, freedom, development, human rights and equality, “and worked to eradicate disease.” And it “helped mitigate dozens of conflicts, saved hundreds of thousands of lives through humanitarian action and provided millions of children with the education that every child deserves.”

As for disappointments, the declaration says the world “is plagued by growing inequality, poverty, hunger, armed conflicts, terrorism, insecurity, climate change and pandemics.” It says the poorest and least developed countries are falling behind, decolonization is not complete and people are forced to make dangerous journeys in search of refuge.

“Our challenges are interconnected and can only be addressed through reinvigorated multilateralism,” it says.

The declaration stresses that the commemoration is taking place as the pandemic reverberates, not only causing death and serious illness but “global economic recession, increased poverty, anxiety and fear.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us in the most powerful way that we are closely interconnected and only as strong as our weakest link,” it says.

Only by working together can the pandemic end and “only together can we build resilience against future pandemics and other global challenges,” the declaration says.

“Multilateralism is not an option but a necessity as we build back better for a more equal, more resilient and more sustainable world,” it says. “The United Nations must be at the center of our efforts.”

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