Then, Now, Next
Pexels / Julia M Cameron
True

In the last 20 years, the internet has become almost as essential as water or air. Every day, many of us wake up and check it for the news, sports, work, and social media. We log on from our phones, our computers, even our watches. It's a luxury so often taken for granted. With the COVID-19 pandemic, as many now work from home and children are going to school online, home access is a more critical service than ever before.

On the flip side, some 3.6 billion people live without affordable access to the internet. This digital divide — which has only widened over the past 20 years — has worsened wealth inequality within countries, divided developed and developing economies and intensified the global gender gap. It has allowed new billionaires to rise, and contributed to keeping billions of others in poverty.

In the US, lack of internet access at home prevents nearly one in five teens from finishing their homework. One third of households with school-age children and income below $30,000 don't have internet in their homes, with Black and Hispanic households particularly affected.

The United Nations is working to highlight the costs of the digital divide and to rapidly close it. In September 2019, for example, the UN's International Telecommunication Union and UNICEF launched Giga, an initiative aimed at connecting every school and every child to the internet by 2030.

Closing digital inequity gaps also remains a top priority for the UN Secretary-General. His office recently released a new Roadmap for Digital Cooperation. The UN Foundation has been supporting both this work, and the High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation co-chaired by Melinda Gates and Jack Ma, which made a series of recommendations to ensure all people are connected, respected, and protected in the digital age. Civil society, technologists and communications companies, such as Verizon, played a critical role in informing those consultations. In addition, the UN Foundation houses the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL), which advances digital inclusion through streamlining technology, unlocking markets and accelerating digitally enabled services as it works to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Keep Reading Show less
True

In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

1 / 12

Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

United Nations Photo
True

In June 1945, Europe was reeling from a deadly, devastating world war. Peace had been achieved in the west, but world leaders knew that they had to take immediate action to build a better world and prevent another deadly conflict.

So, delegates from 50 countries gathered in San Francisco and committed to working towards progress by signing the UN Charter. Since that day, there have been tremendous gains: global life expectancy is now 72, global hunger has decreased, and before the pandemic, global extreme poverty was the lowest in recorded history.

The UN has been tackling poverty and world hunger for decades, but how much do you know about their work and impact?

We are at a pivotal moment and it will take global action and effort from everyone in order to recover better. Learn more about how the UN is working towards sustainable development, full equality, and the eradication of poverty and global hunger as part of UN75.

United Nations
True

When you think about human rights, it's impossible to disagree that all people are entitled to life, liberty, and the ability to express themselves freely. These are truths that many of us grew up believing. And yet it may surprise you that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document created by the United Nations, which enshrines these rights and more, is only 72 years old.

Since founded 75 years ago to preserve the worth and dignity of all human beings, the United Nations has achieved an unprecedented number of human rights victories. According to new data shared by the organization, every one of the UN's now 193 member states have ratified at least one human rights treaty — 80 percent have ratified at least four. But the leadership in uplifting human rights goes beyond laws, treaties, and agreements.

Keep Reading Show less
True

Since its founding, the United Nations has worked to drive global progress and tackle urgent problems on all fronts -- from health and development, to human rights and equality, to peace and security.

As the world commemorates the UN's 75th anniversary, let's reflect on all that humanity has achieved together, and all that is still left to do.

To learn more, visit: https://unfoundation.org/un75

Tell the UN the future you want: https://un75.online/partner/unfoundation

WHO/Daniel Hodgson
True

On June 26, 1945, delegates from 50 countries gathered in the Herbst Theater auditorium in San Francisco.

They were there to sign the U.N. Charter, a treaty that, in its 19 chapters and 111 articles, founded and established a world organization devoted to saving "succeeding generations from the scourge of war." It would do so by maintaining international peace and security, strengthening international law, expanding human rights, and promoting social progress and better standards of life.

On that day, World War II was not even yet over — that day wouldn't come until September 2nd, 1945 when the Japanese surrendered — but it established an organization that, as one of its first endeavors, helped distribute lifesaving supplies and medicines to countries reeling from disease, injury and the trauma of war.

Keep Reading Show less