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June 24, 2018

Essay - Is United Nations Unnecessary ?

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Is United Nations Redundant (Unnecessary) ?

  • The formation of United Nations.
  • Members and major organs of UN.
  • The main objective of UN. 0 • Institutional problems of UN. 
  • Relevance of UN, important work done by its specialised agencies. 
  • UN's role in conserving environment. 
  • UN's role in maintaining world peace. 
  • UN's role against drugs and drugs related crime. 
  • The effectiveness of UN.
The United Nations came into existence on 24th October, 1945. The term United Nations and the concept was the brainchild of US President Franklin D Roosevelt. The idea was the conceived in 1942 to fight against the Axis power (Axis power : Germany, Italy, Japan) during the World War II. The formation of UN in the aftermath of World War II was to prevent such pandemic war. However, with the passage of time UN has involved itself in wide ranging fields concerning maintenance of international peace, promoting social and economic development, preserving the environment, assisting in humanitarian aid, dispensing justice, protecting women and child rights etc with the aid of its various agencies.

As on 2017, UN has 193 members with its headquarters in New York. UN has five major organs, namely, United Nations General Assembly, (UNGA), United Nations Security Council (UNSC), United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Trusteeship Council and the International Court of Justice. UNGA is the forum where deliberation and policy making takes place. UNSC has a total of 15 members (5 permanent and 10 non-permanent members). The permanent members enjoy veto power on issues brought to their notice. UNSC can call the concerned parties to settle disputes amicably and can also recommend directives or terms of dispute settlement. The Security Council also has the authority to deploy forces to enforce peace and order.

The main objective of UN was to prevent future war and suffering on a mass scale. But millions have died in hundreds of conflict in the last fifty years of its exsistence. Syria is a burning example where lakhs of people have been killed. Morever UN has a mandate to promote Human Rights worldwide. But continued violence, genocidal civil wars in Balbans and Central Africa (1990), Sri Lanka, Syria (recently). Voting rights in General Assembly is not linked to a regime's human rights record. The UN also suffers from a bloated bureaucracy, in which seniority is not linked to ability, resulting in painfully slow decision making and operational failure in crisis such as Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

There are also institutional problems associated with the General Assembly and the Security Council, whereby General Assembly resolution with widespread support can be stymied by a single veto from one of the permanent five. This has lead to unilateral action by countries such as USA and organisations such as NATO, undermining the authority of the . UN, and to lack of credibility for the UN in dealing with issues such as Israel and Palestine. Much of the international progress made since 1945 has not involved UN at all. The Cold War and mutually assured destruction lent the peace between great powers, while institutions such as IMF, World Bank, GATT and the WTO have functioned independently of UN in promoting greater prosperity.

The relevance of United Nations is still there, as it carries out many activities through its funds, programmes, specialised agency and others. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) works in over 170 countries. The main objective of UNDP is eradication of poverty, reduction of inequality and exclusion. It assists countries in policy formulation, development of institutional capabilities and building resilience for robust growth and development.

Some notable efforts by UNDP are in areas of, sustainable development goal, democratic governance and disaster management. United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is an organisation promoting rights and well being of children. UNICEF works to overcome impediments viz poverty, violence, disease and discrimination, which are there in a child's path. They are involved in creating an enabling environment for actualisation of their dreams.

Similarly, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women works with similar organisation in policy for mutation of policies, global standards and norms. Another body which works in similar area is United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The agency works towards co-ordinating international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. The Geneva Convention, 1951 has been instrumental in this regard. The role of UNHCR in the Syrian civil war has been appreciated world over.

Other agencies which have worked towards the cause of humanitarian aid is World Food Programme (WFP). It works towards fighting hunger and malnutrition worldwide. It provides aid during civil war, natural disaster, wars etc. On an average WFP reaches over 80 million people with food assistance each year. The humanitarian aid by WFP in 2011 in Somalia improved the situation. Due to famine and extreme poverty almost four million people faced extreme food insecurity. Similarly United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) works towards ensuring that every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled. It provides assistance in promoting sexual and reproductive wellness, preventing child marriage, spread of HIV, female infanticide etc.

UN through its agencies and various mechanisons is also involved in conserving environment. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) sets the environmental frameworks and agenda promoting coherent implementation of environmental dimensions. Through United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), etc it promotes sustainable development. The outcome of Paris Talks in CoP 21 is a case in point where UN has made inroads in setting accountability for environmental degradation.

Other UN bodies which has worked towards maintaining world peace is United Nations Peace Keeping Force (UNPKF). Peace keeping operations are meant to maintain peace and security, facilitate political process, protect civilians, assist in disarmament demobilisation and reintegration, supporting democratic governance and rule of law and aiding legitimate state authorities. It also help in coordinating fight against terrorism. The role of UN in this regard is notable in the ongoing Syrian Civil War for orchestrating ceasefire in Syria.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) acts to counter drugs, crimes and terrorism. It aims to provide global standards in tackling proliferation of drugs and prevent drugs related crime. Its endeavour is also to prevent HIV and AIDS, money laundering, organised crime, maritime piracy, etc. UNODC has carried out various campaigns like world drug campaign, international anti-corruption campaign, world AIDS campaign, etc to create awareness and prevent drug use.

The effectiveness of United Nations and its bodies involved in various fields can be discussed at length. But the efforts made by UN can never be discounted. The world has set its foot in 21st century with a heavy baggage of past. In order to make the future more conducive and amicable the United Nations needs to have its presence in every quarter. Under the aegis of UN the world can more forwards sustainably. Therefore, it is necessary for all the stakeholders to repose faith in UN. The United Nations is still not redundant and will not be in the near future unit debates and discussion on major issues are done democratically.

Difficult Words with Meanings :
  • Concieved form or devise in the mind
  • Dispensing manage without or get rid of
  • Amicably relating to an agreement or decision that is achieved without making people arguing or being unpleasant
  • Stymied prevent or hinder the progress of
  • Resilience the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties
  • Orchestrating plan or coordinate the elements to produced a desired effect.
shared by Nisheeta Mirchandani
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