Delegates bring the United Nations to life. Without them, this Organization would not be what it is. They negotiate agreements and coordinate with their home countries. Some form alliances, others struggle for compromises. In that way, they embody the multilateralism, which the UN stands for.

The delegates represent their countries in meetings at the United Nations. Unless a politician of higher rank is present, the delegates speak and vote on behalf of their country at the UN General Assembly, and other fora, such as the UN Security Council. The delegates are appointed by their countries. Hence, they follow the interests of the government they serve.

In order to raise awareness of the role of the representatives and delegates of the Member States to the United Nations, the UN General Assembly has proclaimed 25 April as International Delegate’s Day.

With the adoption of resolution 73/286, the General Assembly recognizes the crucial role of the delegates in fulfilling the main goals of the United Nations. Part of the delegates’ tasks is to live up to these goals, whether it is maintaining international peace, encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, or promoting effective multilateralism.

The 2020 International Delegate’s Day is special for two reasons. First, 25 April 2020 is the first time that International Delegate’s Day is observed. Second, the 2020 observance also marks the milestone seventy-fifth anniversary of the San Francisco Conference, an event that laid the foundations of the United Nations.

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Background

International Delegate’s Day marks the anniversary of the first day of the San Francisco Conference, also known as the United Nations Conference on International Organization. On 25 April 1945, delegates from fifty countries came together for the first time in San Francisco. Coming together after the devastation of the second world war, their aim was to set up an organization that would restore world peace and impose rules on the post-war world order.

850 delegates took part in this conference, which lasted for two months. They represented over eighty per cent of the world’s population, people of every world religion and continent; all determined to set up an organization, which would preserve peace and help build a better world.

Two months after the first meeting, on 26 June 1945, the Charter of the United Nations was signed by representatives of the 50 countries that attended the conference. The agreement resulted in the creation of the United Nations, an organization that now comprises 193 Member States and serves as the main international venue for collective dialogue between the delegates of its Member States. Poland, which did not have a government at the time of the conference, signed the charter later, hence bringing up the number of the Founding Member States to 51.

In its resolution 73/286 from 2 April 2019, the General Assembly recalls the achievement of the San Francisco Conference and proclaims 25 April as International Delegate’s Day.