A "glorious gamble" by world leaders 70 years ago paid off in the foundation of the United Nations, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday.
Mr Ban was speaking in San Francisco, the American city where 50 countries signed theUN Charter, the document establishing the global organization, on 26 June 1945.
Dianne Penn reports.
The UN Charter opens with an expression of hope: the desire to save future generations from the "untold sorrow" of war.
Mr. Ban described how the document put a world in rubble onto a path to renewal.
"The drafting of the Charter was a glorious gamble. Delegates from dozens of countries bet on humanity. So much faith was lost in the trenches and gas chambers of two World Wars in the space of just one generation. But they dared to believe in something bigger than person or country."
Mr. Ban looked to September when world leaders will meet at the UN to adopt a new development agenda, and to December, when a climate change agreement should be reached.
He described these events as "once-in-a-generation opportunities" and called for the international will to make them reality.
Ambassadors from several countries attended the San Francisco event alongside Nobel laureate Malala Yousafsai and one of the first UN staff members, former Spanish translator Ellen Magnin Newman.
Dianne Penn, United Nations.