The Organization of The United Nations was founded in 1945. The primary purpose of the United Nations is to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international co-operation in solving problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character and to promote and encourage respect for the rights and fundamental freedoms of a human being.
The UN Charter was signed on 26 June 1945 and came into force on 24 October 1945. United Nations Day is celebrated on 24 October each year. Delegation of Ukraine took an active part in drawing up of the United Nations Charter. Dmytro Manuilskyi, the then People’s Commissar for International Affairs of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and 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.
Ukraine was among the first nations to put its signature under the Charter, entering thus the group of the UN founding states which included 51 nations. Today the Organization of the United Nations numbers 189 member states.
From the very outset of its independence, Ukraine determined membership in the United Nations as one of its foreign policy priorities.
As a founding state of the United Nations Ukraine steadfastly adheres to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, makes a substantial contribution 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 four official visits of the UN Secretaries-General to Ukraine. In particular, U Thant visited Ukraine in 1962, Kurt Waldheim in 1981, Javier Perez de Cuellar in 1987 and Boutros Boutros-Ghali in 1993.
During 1994-2001 there were seven meetings of the President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma with the UN Secretary General: in New-York in 1994, in Vienna in 1995, in Moscow in 1996, in Davos in 1997, during the 52nd session of the UN General Assembly in September-November 1997, at NATO Summit in Washington in April 1999 and at the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000.
In 1995 Leonid Kuchma, the President of Ukraine took part in the Anniversary Session of the United Nations General Assembly at high level, which marked the 50th anniversary of the Organization of the United Nations. He also participated in the 49th and 52nd sessions of the UN General Assembly and was the Head of the Ukrainian delegation at the 19th special session of the UN General Assembly on ecology issues and at the UN Millennium Summit.
The President of Ukraine uninitiated a UN Security Council session at the level of heads of state and government (the UN Security Council Summit) which took place on 7 September 2000 and was dedicated to the issue of "Ensuring an effective role for the Security Council in the maintenance of international peace and security, particularly in Africa". The said second in the UN history Summit of the Security Council had a positive influence upon revitalizing and strengthening of the Organ’s authority as well as gave a strong impetus to the efforts aimed at consolidation of principles of the UN Charter, main facets of collective security system and the UN peacekeeping reform.
In 1997 Hennadiy Udovenko, the then Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine was elected President of the 52nd UN General Assembly session – the highest governing office 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. Being an active supporter and participant of the current process of the United Nations reform, Ukraine continues to apply considerable efforts to increasing UN efficiency as well as adjustment of the Organization to the new requirements of today.
Ukraine, during its membership in the UN, 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 Social and Security Council for four times (for the last time in 1993-1995). Representatives of Ukraine were repeatedly appointed to governing offices in 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 one of the most important confirmations of the 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 born primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. During its non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council, which lasted more then year and a half, Ukraine has convincingly proved its ability to be the Organ’s active member whose position is accounted for, influence effectively the adoption of vital decisions in the SC and practically contribute to their implementation.
Ukraine’s membership in the UN Security Council culminated in its Presidency of this organ in March 2001. The said month has become one of the most productive and efficient in the Security Council’s history. The Security Council scrutinized a number of most urgent issues of universal importance, including crises in Balkans and in the Middle East.
Our state renders paramount importance to the UN Security Council’s reform. Ukraine stands in favor of an increase of the number of the UN permanent and non-permanent members. The adequate representation of the Eastern European regional group in the Security Council is the sine qua non of support by our state of any variant of the reform. The said position of Ukraine also proceeds from the perception that the veto rule does not correspond to the current international reality. Ukraine renders proper attention to ensuring further increase of transparency and improvement of methods of the UN Security Council’s activity.
Today Ukraine is a member of the Committee for Program and Coordination, Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, Committee on Contributions, Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Advisory Committee on the United Nations Program of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Disarmament Commission, Commission on Population and Development, Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Executive Board of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)/United Nations Population Fund, Executive Board of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Executive Council of the International Labor Organization (ILO), Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). A representative of Ukraine, Ambassador Volodymyr Vasylenko has been elected an ad litem judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
Ukraine, being a founding member of the United Nations, renders paramount importance to the UN activities in the maintenance of international peace and security and perceives its participation in them as an important factor of own foreign policy.
Our state has been remaining a substantive contributor of military and civilian personnel to the UN peacekeeping operations since July 1992. Over the last nine years about 12 thousand of military and civilian personnel of Ukraine have discharged their noble mission under the UN flag.
Today Ukraine is the leading troop-contributor to the UN’s peacekeeping activities among European nations and enters a number of ten world’s biggest troop-contributors. The geography of Ukraine’s participation in the UN peacekeeping operations and missions has covered Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Croatia, East Timor, Georgia, Kosovo, Lebanon, Sierra-Leone.
Being a substantive contributor of military and civilian personnel to the UN peacekeeping operations, Ukraine is convinced that one of the important elements of any peacekeeping operation is to ensure the adequate level of security and safety of its personnel. In view of the acuity of the problem (19 Ukrainian peacekeepers lost their lives for the noble cause of peace and over 60 were wounded while serving with the UN peacekeeping operations), Ukraine initiated a Convention on the Safety of the United Nations and Associated Personnel, which came into effect in January 1999.
Ukraine directs significant efforts towards developing cooperation with international economic and ecological organizations and to employing their potential in its social an economic interests for the purpose of speeding up its integration into the world economy and tackling acute environmental issues.
The need to deal with the said issues, which are of great importance for the consolidation and formation the Ukrainian State, has triggered an increase of role of multilateral diplomacy as one of the most efficient tools of realization of Ukraine’s national interests. Since gaining independence, Ukraine has drastically reviewed its traditional approaches to participation in international economic, scientific and technical, and ecological organizations, which had been subdued to the political interests of the former USSR. As a result of it, Ukraine’s activity along the social and economic line of the United Nations, in its specialized agencies and in the framework of funds and programs of this authoritative international universal Organization has been put on a qualitatively new footing, relieved from excessive politization, as well as become pragmatic and transparent.
Today Ukrainian diplomacy channels its main efforts along the said line 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.
Due to its active position in international organizations, Ukraine has received a 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 (UNPF), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Universal Postal Union (UPU), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) etc. A United Nations Mission has been acting in Ukraine since 1993. A number of important projects and programs of the UN, its bodies and specialized agencies have been implemented in Ukraine under the UN flag in fields of social-economic reform, development of entrepreneurship, environmental protection, demography. A UN House in Ukraine was officially inaugurated in July 2000, comprising all UN bodies and agencies, operating in Ukraine (UNISEF, UNFPA, UNHCR). Ukraine received a substantial portion of foreign assistance for solving a complex of issues pertaining to overcoming of the consequences of the Chornobyl catastrophe and settlement of the deported peoples, including the Crimean Tatars.
Ukraine’s election to a number of UN functional commissions, governing bodies of the International Labor Organization (ILO), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNPF), World Tourism Organization (WTO), Universal Postal Union (UPU) etc. is an acknowledgment of our state’s contribution and role in international organizations.
Ukraine is an active participant in the international process of implementation of sustainable development policy aimed at a comprehensive solution of environmental protection and global economic growth tasks. A high level Ukrainian delegation took an active part in the 1992 ground-laying United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (The Earth Summit). Leonid Kuchma, the President of Ukraine came forth with a number of international initiatives in the field of nature conservancy at the 19th Special Session of the UN General Assembly on an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of agenda XXI (Rio+5, 1997).
Ukraine’s participation in the international process of implementation of provisions of the UN conventions in the field of nature conservancy, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kioto Protocol, Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and Convention on Biological Diversity etc., is another but no least important issue of ecological dimension.
The United Nations relies exclusively on its member states for funding. The size of contributions is calculated for each state according to a scale of contributions approved by the General Assembly. As a result of the inequitable decision of the UN General Assembly taken in 1992, for many years Ukraine had been charged unfoundedly high contributions both to the regular UN budget and peacekeeping operations, which did not correspond to its capacity to pay. The aforesaid decision was based on a delusive index of Ukraine’s GDP which figured in Soviet statistics.
Due to certain arrangements, Ukraine’s share in the UN budget has been reduced from 1,87 per cent in 1995 to 0.053 per cent in 2001, becoming thus 35 times as less as six years ago.
In order to settle down its current indebtedness and resume its voting right in a number of international organizations, Ukraine has restructured its indebtness to UNESCO and International Labor Organization. Our state has been negotiating a restructuring of its indebtness to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as well.
Ukraine initiated a Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on HIV/AIDS which was held in June 2001 and charted a priority course of action for all nations to intensify their fight against HIV/AIDS.