17 September 2021 marks thirty years since Latvia became a member of the United Nations (UN). In 1991 on this day, the flags of the Baltic States were raised at the UN Headquarters in New York, symbolising the return of the Baltic States to the international community and the moral power of the rule of law. The UN is the first global organisation which Latvia joined shortly after regaining independence in 1991.
Latvia’s overarching goal in the UN is to protect and strengthen an international environment favourable for the country’s security, an environment where the principles of democracy and human rights, and the international rule of law are adhered to. UN membership has been one of Latvia’s foreign policy instruments for the strengthening of irreversibility of its statehood, protection of its national interests and engagement in global processes. Having participated in UN work for three decades, Latvia has evolved from a beneficiary into a donor; it builds relations with other countries, takes part in peacekeeping missions, as well as working in UN structures and addressing the problems of humanity.
To mark the 30th anniversary of Latvia’s membership of the UN, a series of events related to UN and UNESCO themes and topics will come together in a single UN month, from 17 September to 24 October. On 17 September, to launch the UN month, we invite you to follow a discussion organised by the President’s Chancery and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Latvia: 30 years of UN Membership”, on Latvia’s activities in the UN in various policy areas, the multifaceted character of the history of mutual relations, and a perspective of the future. The discussion can be followed on the websites of the President’s Chancery and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Latvia’s membership of the UN, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is publishing a video on Latvia’s accession to and work in the UN.
On 17 September, when the Foreign Ministry building is illuminated in the colours of the UN flag, the Permanent Representation of Latvia to the UN in New York, in partnership with the Permanent Representations of Estonia and Lithuania to the UN in New York will begin online brain games, for anyone interested in participation, about the activities of the Baltic States in the UN over 30 years.
On 17 September, the UN Palace of Nations in Geneva will host the unveiling of a touring exhibition, “Baltic Appeal to the United Nations”, organised by the Permanent Representation of Latvia to the UN in Geneva in association with the Representations of Estonia and Lithuania.
A strong commitment of Latvia to the UN will be reaffirmed by the participation of senior officials of the Latvian state and government in events at the high-level week of the UN General Assembly in New York from 20 to 24 September.
With a view to enhancing the role of museums and libraries in the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, a Baltic conference, “Localising Sustainable Development Goals Throughout Baltic Museums and Libraries”, will be held online on 23–24 September.
The 30th anniversary of the relations between Latvia and the UN will also be highlighted at the international security and foreign policy forum, Riga Conference, in the opening session of which on 15 October, an address will be delivered by the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres.
On 14 October 1991, Latvia joined the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
On 21–22 October, the Latvia National Commission for UNESCO will hold an online conference for its cooperation networks, “A Shift of Values: Ethical Challenges in the Virtual and Real World”.
Visual materials prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the occasion of 30 years of Latvia’s UN membership will be sent to the media individually.
For further information on Latvia’s 30 years of UN membership, see the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website at https://www.mfa.gov.lv/lv/latvija-ano-30