United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

24 October 1995


                                                   40th plenary meeting
                                                   24 October 1995
          50/6. Declaration on the Occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary
                of the United Nations
     The General Assembly
     Adopts the following Declaration:
                        DECLARATION ON THE OCCASION OF THE
     Fifty years ago the United Nations was born out of the sufferings caused
by the Second World War.  The determination, enshrined in the Charter of the
United Nations, "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war" is as
vital today as it was fifty years ago.  In this, as in other respects, the
Charter gives expression to the common values and aspirations of humankind.
     The United Nations has been tested by conflict, humanitarian crisis and
turbulent change, yet it has survived and played an important role in
preventing another global conflict and has achieved much for people all over
the world.  The United Nations has helped to shape the very structure of
relations between nations in the modern age.  Through the process of
decolonization and the elimination of apartheid, hundreds of millions of human
beings have been and are assured the exercise of the fundamental right of
     At this time, following the end of the cold war, and as the end of the
century approaches, we must create new opportunities for peace, development,
democracy and cooperation.  The speed and extent of change in today's world
point to a future of great complexity and challenge and to a sharp increase in
the level of expectations of the United Nations.
     Our resolve on this historic occasion is clear.  The commemoration of the
fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations must be seized as an opportunity to
redirect it to greater service to humankind, especially to those who are
suffering and are deeply deprived.  This is the practical and moral challenge
of our time.  Our obligation to this end is found in the Charter.  The need
for it is manifest in the condition of humankind.
     On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations, we,
the Member States and observers of the United Nations, representing the
peoples of the world:
     -    Solemnly reaffirm the Purposes and Principles of the Charter of the
          United Nations and our commitments to them;
     -    Express our gratitude to all men and women who have made the United
          Nations possible, done its work and served its ideals, particularly
          those who have given their lives during service to the United
     -    Are determined that the United Nations of the future will work with
          renewed vigour and effectiveness in promoting peace, development,
          equality and justice and understanding among the peoples of the
     -    Will give to the twenty-first century a United Nations equipped,
          financed and structured to serve effectively the peoples in whose
          name it was established.
In fulfilment of these commitments we will be guided in our future cooperation
by the following, with respect to peace, development, equality, justice and
the United Nations Organization:
1.   To meet these challenges, and while recognizing that action to secure
global peace, security and stability will be futile unless the economic and
social needs of people are addressed, we will:
     -    Promote methods and means for the peaceful settlement of disputes in
          accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and enhance the
          capabilities of the United Nations in conflict prevention,
          preventive diplomacy, peace-keeping and peace-building;
     -    Strongly support United Nations, regional and national efforts on
          arms control, limitation and disarmament and the non-proliferation
          of nuclear weapons, in all aspects, and other weapons of mass
          destruction, including biological and chemical weapons and other
          forms of particularly excessively injurious or indiscriminate
          weapons, in pursuit of our common commitment to a world free of all
          these weapons;
     -    Continue to reaffirm the right of self-determination of all peoples,
          taking into account the particular situation of peoples under
          colonial or other forms of alien domination or foreign occupation,
          and recognize the right of peoples to take legitimate action in
          accordance with the Charter of the United Nations to realize their
          inalienable right of self-determination.  This shall not be
          construed as authorizing or encouraging any action that would
          dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity
          or political unity of sovereign and independent States conducting
          themselves in compliance with the principle of equal rights and
          self-determination of peoples and thus possessed of a Government
          representing the whole people belonging to the territory without
          distinction of any kind;
     -    Act together to defeat the threats to States and people posed by
          terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, and transnational
          organized crime and the illicit trade in arms and the production and
          consumption of and trafficking in illicit drugs;
     -    Strengthen consultation and cooperation between regional
          arrangements or agencies and the United Nations in the maintenance
          of international peace and security.
2.   A dynamic, vigorous, free and equitable international economic
environment is essential to the well-being of humankind and to international
peace, security and stability.  This objective must be addressed, in greater
measure and more effectively, by the United Nations system.
3.   The United Nations has played an important role in the promotion of
economic and social development and has, over the years, provided life-saving
assistance to women, children and men around the world.  But the pledge
recorded in the Charter that all Members of the United Nations shall take
joint and separate action in cooperation with the Organization for the
achievement of higher standards of living, full employment and conditions of
economic and social progress and development has not been adequately
4.   It must be recognized that notwithstanding past efforts, the gap between
the developed and developing countries remains unacceptably wide.  The
specific problems of countries with economies in transition with respect to
their twofold transition to democracy and a market economy should also be
recognized.  In addition, accelerating globalization and interdependence in
the world economy call for policy measures designed to ensure the maximization
of the benefits from and the minimization of the negative effects of these
trends for all countries.
5.   Of greatest concern is that one fifth of the world's 5.7 billion people
live in extreme poverty.  Extraordinary measures by all countries, including
strengthened international cooperation, are needed to address this and related
6.   In response to these facts and circumstances, the United Nations has
convened a number of specifically focused global conferences in the last five
years.  From these conferences, a consensus has emerged, inter alia, that
economic development, social development and environmental protection are
interdependent and mutually reinforcing components of sustainable development,
which is the framework of our efforts to achieve a higher quality of life for
all people.  At the core of this consensus is the recognition that the human
person is the central subject of development and that people must be at the
centre of our actions towards and concerns for sustainable development.
7.   In this context, we reaffirm that democracy, development and respect for
human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development, are
interdependent and mutually reinforcing.
8.   In order to foster sustained economic growth, social development,
environmental protection and social justice in fulfilment of the commitments
we have made on international cooperation for development, we will:
     -    Promote an open and equitable, rule-based, predictable and
          non-discriminatory multilateral trading system and a framework for
          investment, transfers of technology and knowledge, as well as
          enhanced cooperation in the areas of development, finance and debt
          as critical conditions for development;
     -    Give particular attention to national and international action to
          enhance the benefits of the process of globalization for all
          countries and to avoid the marginalization from and promote the
          integration of the least developed countries and countries in Africa
          into the world economy;
     -    Improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the United Nations
          system for development and strengthen its role in all relevant
          fields of international economic cooperation;
     -    Invigorate the dialogue and partnership between all countries in
          order to secure the existence of a favourable political and economic
          environment for the promotion of international cooperation for
          development based on the imperatives of mutual benefit and interest
          and genuine interdependence, while recognizing that each country is
          ultimately responsible for its own development but reaffirming that
          the international community must create a supportive international
          environment for such development;
     -    Promote social development through decisive national and
          international action aimed at the eradication of poverty as an
          ethical, social, political and economic imperative of humankind and
          the promotion of full employment and social integration;
     -    Recognize that the empowerment and the full and equal participation
          of women is central to all efforts to achieve development;
     -    Reduce and eliminate unsustainable patterns of production and
          consumption and promote appropriate demographic policies in order to
          meet the needs of current generations without compromising the
          ability of future generations to meet their own needs, recognizing
          that environmental sustainability constitutes an integral part of
          the development process;
     -    Intensify cooperation on natural disaster reduction and major
          technological and man-made disasters, disaster relief, post-disaster
          rehabilitation and humanitarian assistance in order to enhance the
          capabilities of affected countries to cope with such situations.
9.   We reiterate the affirmation by the Charter of the dignity and worth of
the human person and the equal rights of men and women and reaffirm that all
human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated.
10.  While the significance of national and regional particularities and
various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds must be borne in mind,
it is the duty of all States, regardless of their political, economic and
cultural systems, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental
freedoms, the universal nature of which is beyond question.  It is also
important for all States to ensure the universality, objectivity and
non-selectivity of the consideration of human rights issues.
11.  We will therefore:
     -    Promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms, which
          are inherent to all human beings;
     -    Strengthen laws, policies and programmes that would ensure the full
          and equal participation of women in all spheres of political, civil,
          economic, social and cultural life as equal partners and the full
          realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all
     -    Promote and protect the rights of the child;
     -    Ensure that the rights of persons who can be particularly vulnerable
          to abuse or neglect, including youth, persons with disabilities, the
          elderly and migrant workers, are protected;
     -    Promote and protect the rights of indigenous people;
     -    Ensure the protection of the rights of refugees and of displaced
     -    Ensure that the rights of persons belonging to national, ethnic and
          other minorities are protected, and that such persons are able to
          pursue economic and social development and live in circumstances of
          full respect for their identity, traditions, forms of social
          organization and cultural and religious values.
12.  The Charter of the United Nations has provided a durable framework for
the promotion and development of international law.  The continued promotion
and development of international law must be pursued with a view to ensuring
that relations between States are based on the principles of justice,
sovereign equality, universally recognized principles of international law and
respect for the rule of law.  Such action should take account of developments
under way in such areas as technology, transport, information and
resource-related fields and international financial markets, as well as the
growing complexity of the work of the United Nations in the humanitarian and
refugee assistance fields.
13.  We are determined to:
     -    Build and maintain justice among all States in accordance with the
          principles of the sovereign equality and territorial integrity of
     -    Promote full respect for and implementation of international law;
     -    Settle international disputes by peaceful means;
     -    Encourage the widest possible ratification of international treaties
          and ensure compliance with the obligations arising from them;
     -    Promote respect for and the implementation of international
          humanitarian law;
     -    Promote the progressive development of international law in the
          field of development, including that which would foster economic and
          social progress;
     -    Promote respect for and implementation of international law in the
          field of human rights and fundamental freedoms and encourage
          ratification of or accession to international human rights
     -    Promote the further codification and progressive development of
          international law.
14.  In order to be able to respond effectively to the challenges of the
future and the expectations of the United Nations held by peoples around the
world, it is essential that the United Nations itself be reformed and
modernized.  The work of the General Assembly, the universal organ of the
States Members of the United Nations, should be revitalized.  The Security
Council should, inter alia, be expanded and its working methods continue to be
reviewed in a way that will further strengthen its capacity and effectiveness,
enhance its representative character and improve its working efficiency and
transparency; as important differences on key issues continue to exist,
further in-depth consideration of these issues is required.  The role of the
Economic and Social Council should be strengthened to enable it to carry out
effectively, in the modern age, the tasks it has been assigned with respect to
the well-being and standards of life of all people.  These and other changes,
within the United Nations system, should be made if we are to ensure that the
United Nations of the future serves well the peoples in whose name it was
15.  In order to carry out its work effectively, the United Nations must have
adequate resources.  Member States must meet, in full and on time, their
obligation to bear the expenses of the Organization, as apportioned by the
General Assembly.  That apportionment should be established on the basis of
criteria agreed to and considered to be fair by Member States.
16.  The secretariats of the United Nations system must improve significantly
their efficiency and effectiveness in administering and managing the resources
allocated to them.  For their part, Member States will pursue and take
responsibility for reforming that system.
17.  We recognize that our common work will be the more successful if it is
supported by all concerned actors of the international community, including
non-governmental organizations, multilateral financial institutions, regional
organizations and all actors of civil society.  We will welcome and facilitate
such support, as appropriate.