The UN’s 75th anniversary: a journey through its history in Panama
The United Nations (UN) turns 75 years old this month. Its history in Panama and its role in the region’s development, as well as the world’s, makes us feel proud that the organization -and the agencies that comprise it- have chosen the City of Knowledge as the headquarters for its national and regional offices. This article is our particular anniversary tribute, following the organization’s historic journey in the country and the impact it has had.
The UN has always been closely linked to Panama. Since its birth in 1945, our country subscribed to the Charter of the United Nations, the document that marked the starting point for the creation of an organization whose ultimate goal is to support countries in the achievement of sustainable development and respect for human rights. That year, the world was just coming out of the Second World War and nations saw in the UN an organization that would help in their reconstruction.
The United Nations began operations in Panama in 1951; in 2001, the first Regional Agency was installed on the City of Knowledge campus. “Since then, as a Foundation, we have accompanied the growth of a comprehensive knowledge management platform, where the main actors of international cooperation and human development converge. One of the key milestones was the designation of Panama as the organization’s regional hub in 2006,” highlights Irene Perurena, Executive Vice President of the City of Knowledge Foundation.
Each year, on October 24, on the anniversary of the United Nations, the City of Knowledge hoists the flag of this international organization on the campus’ main flagpole; next to the Panamanian flag, the UN flag waves for approximately a week, in commemoration of this date. For Perurena, “this initiative is just one of the symbols of the entire journey we’ve traveled and of all we can still continue to build together.”
A close win-win relationship
In recent years, more than a dozen United Nations agencies have established in Panama, occupying around 20,000 square meters and leveraging the services of the City of Knowledge and Panama’s privileged position on the continent.
This means that all UN programs and funds for the region are coordinated from the campus. Having the Latin American headquarters in our country has positioned Panama as a humanitarian hub and has allowed us to maintain a permanent and fluid relationship with the United Nations organizations established here.
This positioning as a regional hub has led many other humanitarian organizations, such as Save the Children or the International Federation of Red Cross Societies, to make the decision to establish their headquarters for Latin America in the City of Knowledge, too. Additionally, last year the first Regional Humanitarian Assistance Logistics Center was inaugurated.
“The work of the United Nations in the country is people-centered and focuses on supporting the Panamanian State to close the inequality and poverty gaps that prevent all people from enjoying their rights and reaching their full potential; with the objective of comply with the commitment of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals,” declare the United Nations in Panama.
UN 75th anniversary: a turning point
The United Nations celebrates its 75th anniversary at a time when the world has seen growing poverty and inequity, the consequence of an unprecedented global health crisis.
“In this 75th anniversary year, we are facing our own 1945 moment,” said the UN’s Secretary General, António Guterres. This is a year in which dialogue and reflection on how to build a better future for all must prevail.
The organization’s launched a global dialogue initiative, encouraging discussions from classrooms to boardrooms, through partnerships with youth organizations, civil society, business and the media.
It has also been a year of meeting points between the City of Knowledge and the UN: “we are approaching a greater consolidation of the UN’s presence on campus with optimism and a global vision that aspires to meet the needs of each of the agencies that individually express to us their intention to grow and consolidate,” concluded the Executive Vice President of the Foundation.