The United Nations is needed more than ever at this time of multiple crises. This was Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon?s key message on United Nations Day 2014. In his statement today, the Secretary-General emphasized that at this critical moment we must reaffirm our commitment to empowering the marginalized and vulnerable, calling on governments and individuals to work in common cause for the common good.

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Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Dr. Shamshad Akhtar celebrated UN Day in Seoul during her first official mission to the Republic of Korea,
where she delivered a speech highlighting the importance of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and underlined the urgency for a new global and regional partnership.

UN Day 2014 was also celebrated in Bangkok with a commemorative event organized by ESCAP in co-operation with United Nations agencies and the United Nations Association of Thailand (UNAT).

During his opening remarks, Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCAP Mr. Shun-ichi Murata said as we head toward the post-2015 development agenda, the next big challenge for the United Nations, our member States, and the peoples of the world, is the need to build change for a more inclusive, sustainable future.

?As we look to the future, our United Nations family here in Bangkok must ensure that, working together as one UN, we help to drive the change for Asia and the Pacific, making sustainable development more inclusive and
caring for all our people,? said Mr. Murata. In keeping with this spirit, this year ESCAP in partnership with United Nations partners, funds and agencies, held a regional photo contest on gender equality. The theme was chosen ahead of the historic Beijing +20 conference next year and the preparatory meeting to be held in Bangkok from 17 to 24 November. The conference will review the progress and setbacks for women around the world using as a measure the Beijing Platform for Action, a global framework for realising gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

Masyudi Firmansyah of Indonesia won the UN4U photo contest with a photo of Daeng Starch, a 76-year-old seamstress who lost her legs and fingers due to leprosy. Despite her disability, Daeng was treated with stitches so she
could keep working in her home at a leprosy complex in Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia.

UN Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter. With the ratification of this founding document by the majority of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security
Council, the United Nations officially came into being. October 24 has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948. In 1971, the United Nations General Assembly recommended that the day be observed by member States as a public holiday.

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