Multilateralism and the International Sanitary Conventions of 1944
In 1943, 44 Allied nations still fighting against the Axis powers came together to form the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA). With millions around the world in dire need, the organization aimed to help with the immediate needs of recovery once the war was over. Experience showed that war conditions produced diseases that were capable of leading to far greater casualties than the fighting itself. Unlike warfare, disease respected no set borders. Furthermore, it required a joint, multilateral effort for the world to succeed in fighting back the dangers of an outbreak. As one of its tasks, UNRRA, which in many ways created the foundation for the United Nations in 1945, was to make sure that the health of the world's population was properly safeguarded. This exhibit looks at how this effort came about and what was accomplished.