United Nations Day has been celebrated on 24 October since 1948 and aims to mark the entry into force of the United Nations Charter (1945). It was only in 1971 that the United Nations General Assembly recommended that member states celebrate this anniversary.
This year, the event is marked, among other actions, by the "Turn Europe UN Blue" initiative promoted by the UN Regional Information Centre for Western Europe (UNRIC).
In Portugal, more than 30 municipalities will light up buildings, monuments, cultural centres, among other structures, with the official colour of the United Nations: blue.
The Palácio Nacional da Ajuda and the Arco da Rua Augusta, in Lisbon, the Palácio da Bolsa, in Porto, the Castelo dos Mouros, in Sintra, the Castelo de Bragança, the Paço da Cultura, in Guarda, and the headquarters of the Associação Nacional de Municípios Portugueses, in Coimbra, are some of the monuments and buildings that will join the initiative.
In other parts of Europe, the European Commission's headquarters in Brussels, Dublin Castle, the Cibeles Palace in Madrid and the Peace Palace in The Hague are among the many monuments and buildings which will also be dressed in blue that Saturday.
According to UN Under-Secretary General and Special Adviser to the Secretary General for the United Nations 75th Anniversary Celebrations, Fabrizio Hochschild, this Europe-wide action is intended to remind everyone "of the universal value of peace, sustainable development and human rights in these uncertain times".
In a statement, UNRIC recalled that the 75th anniversary of the United Nations (UN) is taking place in a period of global pandemic (Covid-19 disease), indicating, in such a context, that the Secretary General of the organisation, the former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres, stressed that the mission of this institution is "now more crucial than ever".
In a special message on this symbolic date, the UN leader stressed that the world faces "colossal challenges" and that "with global solidarity and cooperation" these challenges can be overcome.
In the same note, Guterres also called on "everyone, everywhere, to unite".
Also in Portugal, and to mark this anniversary of the UN, the National Press / Mint, in partnership with the Bank of Portugal and the Regional Information Centre of the United Nations, coined a commemorative currency with the face value of two Euros.