World leaders next week will only mark the United Nations’ 75th anniversary virtually, as requested by Secretary-General António Guterres, due to the coronavirus. President Donald Trump may buck this trend and deliver his yearly U.N. General Assembly address in person, renewing his call to reject multilateralism in favor of nationalism. Nevertheless, this annual global confab offers an opportunity to recognize the world organization’s historic milestones over its three-quarters of a century, including preventing great power war, responding to numerous humanitarian emergencies, safeguarding basic human rights, and advancing sustainable development across all countries.
Alongside these qualified achievements are many low points. These include the continuation of large-scale interstate and intrastate conflicts and associated devastation; mixed results in promoting democracy and the rule of law; the ongoing proliferation of nuclear weapons and small arms; and the limited outcomes from nearly three decades of implementation talks under the 1992 the Framework Convention on Climate Change and 1993 Convention on Biological Diversity.
Read the full op-ed in Just Security.