Have you ever thought about the United Nations? For most of us it is a distant entity that features in the news, when politicians visit New York, when Mr Trump tells us we are not paying our fair share, or he is paying more than his fair share, or when there is a long-running conflict and UN soldiers are in the thick of it trying to keep factions apart.
But did you know that the UN is not only central to peace-keeping but is providing 200,000 daily weather forecasts, resettling millions of refugees, coordinating international disaster relief and standardising road signs worldwide?
For me, the signing in 2016 by all countries of the Sustainable Development Goals to take the world to a better place by 2030 is one of the most important recent achievements of the United Nations. The 17 SDGs aim to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. Incorporate them into your actions in your everyday life to contribute to a sustainable future.
To attain these goals, everyone needs to do their part - governments, the private sector, civil society, and us as individuals. To ensure that future generations are able to meet their needs we should use resources efficiently, allow the Earth’s living and non-living systems to regenerate themselves, and ensure that all people benefit from the opportunities of development.
Newcastle is a United Nations city and hosts CIFAL, a UN international training centre focused on building resilience through disaster preparedness and risk reduction. Every year the world marks United Nations Day on October 23, and Newcastle joins the party to both celebrate and to remember those brave UN soldiers who lost their life in trying to keep the world a better place. You are welcome to attend.