Even as we honor the work of the United Nations, we see that in today’s world the UN values of international peace, cooperation, and collaboration for a common good are under threat in too many places. The catalyst behind the establishment of the UN was the prevention of any further atrocities like those of the First and Second World Wars, and this remarkable collective body has done enormous good since its founding. Now, as we witness certain attitudes and actions gaining ground that dangerously resemble those that led up to those wars, we see what a critical role the UN can play in counteracting them while continuing to build a more peaceful future. It is in the values and ideals of the UN that people have placed their hope since its founding — values and ideals that include promoting peace and security, supporting human rights, and implementing cooperation among nations. Without these ideals and values as the motivating principle behind collective actions, we may be facing very hard times ahead, especially as the effects of climate change increase in intensity.
Shared ideals and values are not easily attained nor easily replaced. The vision of a common good that motivates the UN at all its levels is a vision well worth protecting and nurturing. Indeed, for many people around the world, the elements of that common good are fundamental to their shared human identity and actions rooted in these can protect us all.