UNESCO established the Memory of the World Programme in 1992. Impetus came originally from a growing awareness of the parlous state of preservation of, and access to, documentary heritage in various parts of the world. War and social upheaval, as well as severe lack of resources, have worsened problems which have existed for centuries. Significant collections worldwide have suffered from looting and dispersal, illegal trading, destruction, inadequate housing and funding. Much has vanished forever; much is endangered. Happily, missing documentary heritage is sometimes rediscovered.
Picture is of a radio round-table discussion: Georges Day (left), UN Radio Commentator (France); Mrs. Eleanor D. Roosevelt, Chairman, UN Commission on Human Rights (United States); and Professor René Cassin, Representative of France to the Commission, are conducting a radio roundtable discussion in French on International Bill of Rights beamed to France from Lake Success, New York, 16 June 1947. This is one of many archival images available from the UN. Collectively, they document key historical moments at the UN and around the world throughout the second half of the 20th century.
International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.