"Cooperation between states is as important today as it was 75 years ago."

The United Nations celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2020. As the UN General Assembly opens its 75th annual session, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis has in a video message paid tribute to the work done by the UN – notably in the fight against the pandemic – and acknowledged the organisation's fundamental role in shaping the future.

Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis stands in front of a podium, behind him a wall with the UN logo.

In a video message to mark the 75th anniversary of the UN, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis pays tribute to the work in recent decades. © Keystone

The Charter of the United Nations, signed by 50 states on 26 June 1945 in San Francisco, marked the founding of the United Nations. The world was emerging from war, and states were looking for a way to prevent any repetition of such atrocities. The world they envisaged would be based on dialogue and adherence to common rules.

Today, 75 years on, the world is facing an pandemic and a host of common challenges. The 75th session of the UN General Assembly was opened on 15 September 2020. Speaking at the opening ceremony, the president of the session, Turkish diplomat Volkan Bozkir, reminded the 193 member states of the need for the multilateral system.

In the context of this General Assembly and the 75th anniversary commemorations, Head of the Department of Foreign Affairs Ignazio Cassis has issued a video message.

In this, he highlights the fundamental role the UN still plays today. "We have come far since the creation of the Organisation 75 years ago. Humanitarian aid, respect for human rights, peace operations and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development have saved and improved the live of countless people across the globe."

He also notes that, to remain strong and effective, the United Nations must adapt to today's world. "However, we cannot rest on achievements. The challenges of today’s world are partly the same – hunger, conflicts, inequalities or human rights violations – and partly new – climate change, the digital revolution and the new geostrategic balances. To those challenges global crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic are added, which show to what extent cooperation among states is as important today as it was 75 years ago", he adds.

Switzerland supports the reforms to improve efficiency, transparency and coordination within the UN. Moreover, it reaffirms Geneva's position as the centre of the multilateral system. "As a host country, we are proud to host the United Nations European headquarters and we appreciate the work that International Geneva accomplishes each day for peace and prosperity in the world",  says Mr Cassis in the video. Switzerland sees the UN as an indispensable instrument for addressing global challenges, even more so in a turbulent international context.

More than ever, he concludes, "multilateralism is necessary".

Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis in a video message to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. © FDFA

Online dossier: Switzerland's priorities for the 75th session of the UN General Assembly  

Drawing on the Foreign Policy Strategy 2020–23 and with a view to its candidacy for a seat on the Security Council in 2023–24, Switzerland has set the following priorities for its UN engagement during the 75th session of the General Assembly:

  • Dealing with the consequences of COVID-19,
  • UN reforms,
  • Cybersecurity and digital governance,
  • International Geneva.

The dossier provides regularly updated information on the 75th UN General Assembly.


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