70 years of the UN – From the past to the future: Fit for the purpose in the age of digital media? | DW Global Media Forum | DW | 11.03.2015
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70 years of the UN – From the past to the future: Fit for the purpose in the age of digital media?

Hosted by United Nations Organizations in Bonn
Monday, June 22 / Room C

On June 26, 2015, the United Nations (UN) will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter in San Francisco in 1945. This year the global celebrations aim to honor the historic breadth of the organization’s development, security and human rights work. They are also designed to unite the international community in the common cause of enabling a strong UN capable of making the world a better place. But this is also an opportunity to take stock and ask: Is the UN still fit for its purpose in a digital age?

In the wake of the Second World War, the UN was founded in 1945 by 51 countries to prevent future wars, diseases and conflicts. At the time, global problems seemed to be limited to wars (world wars and the Cold War) and their consequences (poverty and hunger).

Over the past 70 years the world has grown more complex. By 2015, the number of Member States has reached 193. Issues of the environment, water, climate, land, gender, etc. have climbed up the agenda and are no longer regarded as isolated matters, but are seen as highly interdependent. For instance, climate change was formerly considered to be a part of environmental policy and is nowadays a vital aspect of foreign and even security policy. With increasing challenges and changing perceptions, the number of agreements and conventions has also steadily grown. With its multifaceted missions, the UN represents foreign policy at its best. Without its efforts, crucial matters such as climate change, landmine victims and child soldiers might not have been given global attention.
In the spirit of a new public diplomacy, can the digital age and its two-way communications media help the UN to get its job done even better (see for example the climate march in New York in 2014)? Can social media and the public at large influence crucial decisions in 2015 – “The Year of Global Action”?