As the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 75) begins, Zonta International congratulates the UN on its remarkable 75th anniversary and reaffirms its commitment to working together to achieve our collective goals.
Every September, Member States meet in the General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York for the annual session and general debate. This year, during a one-day high-level meeting on 21 September, the UN will mark its 75th milestone anniversary. The theme of the event is “The Future We Want, the UN We Need: Reaffirming our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism.”
“The world is facing unprecedented challenges, including a global pandemic, widespread gender inequality and climate change. The United Nations is integral to overcoming these challenges,” said Sharon Langenbeck, Zonta International President. “We at Zonta International are proud of our involvement in the UN and our partnerships with various UN agencies.”
Zonta International has supported the UN since the very beginning. Cooperation started when the UN was founded in 1945. Since 1969, Zonta has held consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Past Zonta International President Helvi Sipilä, the first woman assistant secretary-general of the UN, served as secretary general for the First World Conference on Women in 1975 in Mexico. She went on to spearhead the establishment of UNIFEM, now UN Women.
Members of Zonta International have participated in subsequent conferences on women (Copenhagen 1980, Nairobi 1985, Beijing 1995). Today, Zonta has representatives at major UN locations: New York, Geneva, Vienna, UNESCO in Paris and ESCAP in Bangkok.
As an accredited NGO with General Consultative Status and a member of open working groups, Zonta advocates for gender equality and works with other NGOs to ensure women’s active and equal participation in decision-making processes at the UN through the Commission on the Status of Women, the Sustainable Development Goals—in particular, Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls including trafficking—and working groups on aging, education, child marriage, drugs and crime. Zonta International is grateful for its participation in these important processes and looks forward to a future where the civil society organizations continue to be heard.
Zonta International also contributes to projects organized by UN agencies. From 2020-2022, Zonta is partnering with UNICEF USA and UNFPA for its international service projects to improve the health and protection of adolescent girls in Peru, combat violence against women and girls in Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste, provide education opportunities to children in Madagascar, and end child marriage in 12 countries. In the past, Zonta has also supported projects in partnership with UN Women, the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, UNIDO and UNESCO.
As the United Nations prepares to celebrate its 75th anniversary, Zonta International encourages its members to learn more about our relationship with the UN.
15 September 2020