Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet
Acting Deputy Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
September 21, 2020
The UN Charter begins as the U.S. Constitution begins: “We the People.” It is for good reason that those who composed the UN Charter and framed the U.S. Constitution began with a reminder that government and multilateral institutions exist to serve the people.
It is my great honor today to represent the American people, President Donald J. Trump, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft as we mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. Seventy-five years ago, the United States stepped forward when this bold new venture known as the United Nations needed a permanent home, and we remain proud to serve as that home to this day.
It is hard to grasp the remarkable evolution of the United Nations over the last 75 years. From cautious, early steps among a few global leaders to today’s vast networks of organizations, agencies, and functions, the UN has grown well beyond the vision of its founders.
And yet, it is that vision that grounds this institution, and must continue to guide its every action. It is outlined clearly in the UN Charter, and bears reminding that the UN was founded to promote peace and save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, and reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights.
In many ways, the UN has proven to be a successful experiment. With notable exceptions, its convening power brings much of the world to the table. Despite some unfortunate failings, the UN’s blue helmets have worked to maintain peace for decades through missions around the world. Organizations such as the World Food Program save lives and improve futures every day.
The United States has played a central role in these successes, not only as host nation, but as the UN’s largest and most reliable funder for all of its 75 years. That commitment ensures that UN organizations are able to reach millions in need, to coordinate global humanitarian action, and convene on issues requiring urgent action.
But there are also reasons for concern. The United Nations has for too long been resistant to meaningful reform, too often lacking in transparency, and too vulnerable to the agenda of autocratic regimes and dictatorships. New threats also require new agility from the UN, threats that include theft of intellectual property and efforts to undermine internet freedom.
For the Trump administration, this anniversary is an important moment to mark the many successes of the United Nations, but to do so with clear eyes and a renewed determination to see this important body serve its intended purpose.
The 75th anniversary of the UN is the right time to ask questions about the institution’s strengths and weaknesses, review and learn from its failures, and celebrate its accomplishments. I join my colleagues and counterparts from around the world in marking this important moment.
Thank you, very much.