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The Goals of the United Nations

The UN Charter was signed on June 26, 1945 at the Veterans Building across the street from San Francisco City Hall. The first paragraph of the Charter lists the original goals of the UN in memorable words:



* to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and

* to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and

* to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and

* to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom…

Peace, human rights, gender equality, respect for international law, social progress and individual freedom. That’s a good start. The first resolution of the UN called for establishment of a Commission for nuclear disarmament. The Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons was adopted by the UN in 1970 and ratified by the U.S. The NPT as it is called is still in force and it calls not just for nuclear non-proliferation, but also for both nuclear and complete and general disarmament. So disarmament is right up there in the list of UN Goals. How else can we expect to eliminate the scourge of war?

Human rights were famously upheld with the adoption of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. San Francisco established its own Human Rights Commission in 1964. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979, but has yet to be ratified by the United States. In 1997, San Francisco adopted a local implementation of CEDAW with a carefully drawn resolution. The San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women (COSW) oversees the implementation of the resolution. 

In 2015 the UN unanimously adopted the awesome Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 (SDGs). There are seventeen SDGs with 169 associated targets. It is a long list, but so important.


  1. No Poverty  

  2. Zero Hunger  

  3. Good Health and Well-being

  4. Quality Education

  5. Gender Equality  

  6. Clean Water and Sanitation  

  7. Affordable and Clean Energy  

  8. Decent Work and Economic Growth  

  9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure  

  10. Reduced Inequality - this goal includes both social and economic inequality  

  11. Sustainable Cities and Communities  

  12. Responsible Consumption and Production  

  13. Climate Action  

  14. Life Below Water  

  15. Life on Land  

  16. Peace and Justice, Strong Institutions - to be implemented locally and nationally; peace means safe streets  

  17. Partnerships to achieve the Goals.

The SDGs do not include international peace and disarmament for the excellent reason that they never would have been approved if they had. Nuclear arms in particular are very self-sustaining. The existence of nuclear weapons is strong evidence that we live in a ruthless world, and in such a world the nuclear weapons states are convinced it would be folly to disarm. The problem is that in this distrustful world overshadowed by nuclear weapons we don’t have the cooperation needed for 2030 SDG success. That is why the coalition we are building will include all the goals of the UN, starting with peace and disarmament. The SDGs cannot succeed without peace and disarmament.

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