You may not have realized it, but the United Nations marked its 70th General Assembly session this year. The intergovernmental organization was chartered in June 1945, before the end of World War II and has been involved in peace efforts around the world ever since. While the mission and work of the UN are fairly well known, some people aren’t as familiar with Norway’s early contributions to the organization.
In 1945, 50 countries gathered to create what would become the United Nations. Norway was amongst them. Norway was admitted on November 27th; just one month after the first countries signed the UN charter. Norway was heavily involved in creating many of the fundamental structures of the organization. Trygve Lie was part of Norway’s delegation to the United Nations during its first meetings in San Francisco. He was instrumental in creating the Security Council structure, which still operates today and gives the UN its ability to respond to world crises.
In 1946, Lie was elected to serve as the United Nations’ first Secretary General. The Secretary General is responsible for creating the UN’s agenda and serves as the de facto spokesperson for the organization. Under Lie’s leadership, the UN was instrumental in the defense of South Korea after the North’s invasion, early peacekeeping operations in Kashmir and Israel. He would go on to set the precedent for the Secretary General being at the forefront of humanitarian crises as the arose.
Frieda Dalen was another important Norwegian in the early history of the UN. A member of the Norwegian resistance during World War II, Dalen was one of the first Norwegian delegates to the United Nations, starting her term in 1946. It was at this point that she became the first woman to address the floor of the General Assembly. Dalen was active in many pro-labor and women’s initiative. She also served for many years on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) committees, representing Norway until 1958.
Today, Norway continues to play a crucial role in the United Nations. Norway is the organization’s sixth largest contributor. In 2014, it gave $1.3 billion to the UN, despite having just the 46th largest economy in the world. As a UN member, Norway also contributes troops to peacekeeping operations around the world. Since Norway joined the UN, more than 50,000 Norwegian soldiers have been sent to places like Mali, Liberia, Cyprus and Afghanistan to ensure the success of peace agreements.
If you’re interested in learning more about Norway’s role in the United Nations, there are plenty of resources to check out. Norway’s UN mission is an active Twitter user and is even on Instagram. For up to date news, though, be sure to keep up with Norway’s Mission to the UN on their website.