Ukraine in the United Nations
The United Nations was founded in 1945. The purposes of the Organization are: to maintain international peace and security, to develop friendly relations among nations, to achieve international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character, and to promote and encourage respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The Charter of the United Nations was signed on 26 June 1945 and came into force on 24 October 1945 - the day that is annually marked as the United Nations Day.
Ukraine was among the first nations to put its signature under the United Nations Charter, entering thus the group of the UN founding states of 51 nations. Today the UN membership stands at 192 nations.
Delegation of Ukraine took an active part in drawing up of the United Nations Charter. Dmytro Manuilskyi, then People's Commissar for International Affairs of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Head of the Ukrainian delegation at the United Nations Conference on International Organization, held in April-June 1945 in San Francisco, was elected Chairman of the First Committee, which elaborated the Preamble and Chapter 1 (Purposes and Principles) of the United Nations Charter.
Since the declaration of its independence in August 1991, Ukraine determined membership in the United Nations as one of its foreign policy priorities. Ukraine firmly adheres to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, substantially contributing to the Organization's activity in fields of maintenance of international peace and security, disarmament, economic and social development, protection of human rights, strengthening of international law etc.
There have been five official visits of UN Secretaries-General to Ukraine. In particular, U Thant visited Ukraine in 1962, Kurt Waldheim in 1981, Javier Perez de Cuellar in 1987, Boutros Boutros-Ghali in 1993 and, most recently, Kofi Annan in 2002.
In 1997 Hennadiy Udovenko, then Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine was elected President of the 52nd UN General Assembly session - one of the top governing offices in the UN system. Ukraine is especially proud of the fact that it was the 52nd session of the UN General Assembly, which entered the history as the "session of reforms", to endorse a comprehensive Program of the Organization's reform, proposed by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and give a strong impetus to the process of a wide-scale reshaping of the Organization.
At present Ukraine is a member of several principal and subsidiary UN organs, including the Human Rights Council, Committee on Contributions, Commission on Social Development, Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Statistical Commission, Commission on Population and Development, Executive Board of the World Food Programme (WFP), Executive Board of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Prioritizing the implementation of the 2005 World Summit's resolutions in the sphere of development, Ukraine served as the President of the Executive Board of the UNDP/UNFPA in 2006.
During its membership in the UN Ukraine was elected non-permanent member of the Security Council for three times (1948-1949, 1984-1985, 2000-2001). Ukraine was elected also to the UN Economic and Social Council for five times. Representatives of Ukraine served as chairmen of a number of main committees of the UN General Assembly sessions.
Ukraine's election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the term 2000-2001 became an acknowledgment of our state's authority and role on the international arena as well as of its consistent and unbiased foreign policy. For the first time since Ukraine has become an independent state, it was elected to the organ, which bears primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. During its membership in the UN Security Council Ukraine has convincingly proved its ability to be an active participant of the international processes, whose position is accounted for, influence effectively the adoption of vital decisions in the SC and practically contribute to their implementation.
Ukraine believes that multilateral diplomacy is one of the most efficient tools in realization of its national interests. Today Ukrainian diplomacy channels its main efforts into further consolidation of functioning of international organizations as mechanisms of mobilization, harmonization and coordination of international community's efforts aimed at solving global economic and environmental problems.
Ukraine has been a recipient of considerable technical, material and financial assistance, particularly from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Global Ecological Fund (GEF), International Labor Organization (ILO), United Nations Conference On Trade And Development (UNCTAD), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Universal Postal Union (UPU), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) etc. The UNDP office was opened in Ukraine in 1993 to ensure realization of projects aimed at facilitation of reforms, solving of issues of social character, protection of environment etc. A UN House was inaugurated in Kyiv in 2000 in the framework of the UN Reform Program and for the purpose of streamlining coordination of activities of UN system institutions in Ukraine.
As an active supporter and participant of the United Nations reform process, Ukraine continues to apply considerable efforts to increasing UN efficiency as well as to adjusting the Organization to the new requirements of today.
With regard to the UN Security Council's reform, Ukraine attaches primary importance to allocation of an additional non-permanent seat to the Group of Eastern European States. Ukraine also believes that expediency of preservation of the veto rule is subject to additional consideration in view of the current international realities.
Ukraine welcomes the progress made on the reform and revitalization of the UN General Assembly during last years. We should not lose the pace of the reform and should continue efforts to make the General Assembly function more efficiently as the most representative body of the United Nations. Ukraine is ready to participate in further promotion of this process.
Ukraine has been committed to the UN peacekeeping since the first years of its independence. We regard our participation in these activities as an important aspect of our foreign policy, supporting them not only politically, but, more important, in terms of practical contribution of personnel. More than 28 thousand military and civilian personnel of Ukraine have discharged their noble mission under the UN flag in 20 UN peacekeeping operations and missions around the globe. Ukraine is currently contributing 389 military and civilian personnel to 6 ongoing UN peacekeeping operations and missions.
Being deeply convinced that the central element of any peacekeeping operation is an adequate level of security and safety of its personnel, Ukraine initiated elaboration of the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel, adopted by UNGA in 1994. In September 2006 Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine signed an Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel.
As a tribute to all men and women who have served and continue to serve in the UN peacekeeping operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication, and courage and in honour of the memory of those who have lost their lives for the noble cause of peace, Ukraine initiated the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers which was designated by the UN General Assembly in 2002 to be marked annually on 29 of May.
Ukraine attaches paramount importance to and actively participates in UN led efforts aimed at combating HIV/AIDS epidemic. In particular, it was on Ukraine's initiative that the twenty-sixth special session of the General Assembly was convened, adopting a Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS.
In 2003, as the UN Economic and Social Council Vice-presidency in charge of humanitarian segment, Ukraine contributed to the holding of an international panel called "Responding to the HIV/AIDS and other widespread general diseases on humanitarian relief operations".
Among long-standing issues that have particular importance for Ukraine in the UN, there is problem of the 1986 Chornobyl Nuclear Power Station accident. Ukraine together with other two affected states, Belarus and the Russian Federation, continues to pay special attention to maintaining those issues in the close of view of the United Nations.
As a most recent example of that work, Ukraine initiated a special plenary meeting to commemorate victims of Chornobyl disaster that was held in the framework of the 60th session of UN General Assembly in spring 2006.
In 2003 in the United Nations, and throughout the world Ukrainians observed a sad anniversary of the Great Famine of 1932-33 (Holodomor), one of the most tragic events in the history of humankind that claimed lives of 7 to 10 million peoples - population of a mid-size European country. For the first time in the history of the United Nations, Holodomor was officially recognized as a national tragedy of the Ukrainian people caused by the cruel actions and policies of the Soviet totalitarian regime. This was reflected in the Joint Statement on the 70th anniversary of Holodomor that was signed by 36 delegations and supported by 28 other UN Member States.
On December 16, 2008 the Declaration (A/63/613) on the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Holodomor of 1932-1933 in Ukraine was presented at the United Nations and circulated as an official document of the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly. At a point of opening for signing this document was cosponsored by 32 delegations (Albania, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Monaco, Norway, Poland, Saint Lucia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America).
Ukraine continues to keep the issue of Holodomor on UN agenda in order to invite a wider international attention to this tragedy of Ukrainian nation and to insure its proper international recognition so that similar catastrophes could be avoided in future.
Among global issues on the current United Nations agenda, Ukraine attaches significant importance to countering terrorism as a major threat to international peace and security. Being a party to all counterterrorism international instruments of universal character, Ukraine believes that UN constitutes a unique foundation for universal collective efforts in eradicating this cruel phenomenon and should further play its leading role along that way.
Ukraine's election to the newly established Human Rights Council on 9 May 2006 testified to the high international authority as well as universally recognized contribution and potential of our nation in the field of human rights. On May 2008 Ukraine was re-elected to the HRC.