United Nations Day, celebrated on 24 October, marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter.
Church House Westminster has a long and rich history interspersed with notable links to United Nations. The first meetings of the United Nations Preparatory Commission and Security Council were held in the Hoare Memorial Hall of Church House Westminster in 1945.
As World War II drew to a close in Europe, arrangements were being made for the new United Nations Organisation and its commissions to be moved from San Francisco to London, where they were lodged at Church House.
The War Crimes Commission was allocated half of the third floor, and the British War Crimes Executive was given offices on the floor below. They were later joined by American and French teams of lawyers, and at the last moment by the Soviet delegation.
The London Conference of the Commission opened twenty-four hours later on 26 June 1945. During its fourteen lengthy sessions, it examined the possible cases against the Nazi leaders and discussed the ‘organisation and methods of procedure for the trial of major war criminals’. Discussions were often very difficult.
The Executive Committee of the Commission that was to prepare for the first meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations was also housed in the building, and their deliberations were held in what was later to become the Bishop Partridge Hall. The Preparatory Commission itself, a much larger body, commenced its second session on 25 November 1945, attended by officials and journalists, in a tightly packed Hoare Memorial Hall. It was in this Hall also that the Security Council sat while the full General Assembly was meeting in January 1946 at the Methodist Central Hall.
Most recently, on 27-28 September 2022, Church House Westminster hosted the UK Statistics Authority’s 27th meeting of the United Nations High-Level Group for Partnership, Coordination and Capacity Building. Delegates from 15 countries came to London for the meeting, chaired by the National Statistician, Professor Sir Ian Diamond, whilst others joined remotely. The group was originally formed in 2015, by the United Nations Statistical Commission, and aims to establish a global partnership for sustainable development data.
It was good to update everyone on progress of #UNDataForum2023 & what a fitting venue – @Churchhouseconf – where the meetings of the 2nd sesion of the UN preparatory commission were held in 1945. Thank you @UKStatsAuth https://t.co/yTIrb7y4zX
— UN World Data Forum (@UNDataForum) September 29, 2022
In a blog summarising the meeting of global statisticians, Simon Jones of the UK Statistics Authority, mentions that the Group also plays a critical role in overseeing the planning for the World Data Forum and plans for the next Forum in China in April 2023 featured heavily in this year’s agenda. Other matters discussed included the implementation of the Cape Town Global Action Plan and plans for the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data’s next Datafest in 2023.
As part of the National Statistician’s attendance, the meeting also welcomed Tianna, a member of International Day of the Girl, who was standing in for Professor Sir Ian as the UK National Statistician for the day, to highlight the importance of empowering girls to ensure equal gender participation in senior leadership roles in organisations.
Michalina Popinska, Head of Marketing and Communications at Church House Westminster: “It was exciting to see the impact of expertise and cooperation of the attendees on facilitating statistics for the global good. We were delighted to host this event and see how strengthening statistical systems can help provide better data for citizens and policymakers”.