UN: The journey of 75 years
To make a peaceful and cooperative world, the United Nations (UN) started its journey in 1945 after ending the Second World War. The reason for establishing such an international organization was to protect the world from conflict and make a habitable world for all.
To bring peace and protect the world from conflict, the UN was formed with some basic goals. Such as maintaining world peace and security, promoting international economic and social cooperation, promoting human rights for all, developing friendly relations among member states, taking appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace, practicing tolerance and living together in peace as good neighbors, establishing justice and respect for international law.
To achieve success in these goals, the UN is trying its best from its structure, capability and position since 1945. From the beginning to the present the UN has achieved success in several areas. For example- the UN was born in a more difficult situation than its predecessor the League of Nations. About 70-85 million people died inSecond World War. Because of it, the world economy and social stability were almost broken down.
In such a situation, surviving as an international organization and retaining all members were the main challenge for the UN. The League of Nations was unable to survive more than two decades and retain its member states in order to resolve disputes in a peaceful way. In that case, the UN has been able to survive and retain its members from the beginning to the present.
To ensure the rights of all the peoples in the world, the UN declared Universal Human Rights in 1948. To resolve inter-state disputes peacefully by ICJ (International Court of Justice), the UN has enacted various international laws. In the case of peace and security, the UN was able to do well in the field of disarmament. It conducted several peacekeeping operations. The UN also uses preventive diplomacy to reduce disputes without military intervention.
The UN has success in the field of socio-economic development through its specialized agencies. For example- UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) works for reducing poverty, promoting good governance, removing illiteracy, increasing women empowerment. UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) works for children's rights protection, girl's education.
In the field of climate change, the UN is the first organization that took initiative on environmental safety. It established IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) to save the world from environmental pollution. Under the UN, many initiatives have been taken to protect the environment of the world. Such as the Rio Earth Summit (1992), the Kyoto Protocol (1997), the Paris Agreement (2015).
UN's specialized agency FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) works continuously to reduce hunger and famine in the world. It helps various countries to develop their agricultural sector through its research, knowledge, statistics. As a result, FAO was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020 for its efforts to combat hunger and improve conditions for peace.
Along with many successes, there are also many failures of the UN. The list of UN failures is not so small. The UN failed to make an accented and peaceful solution in Israel-Palestine issue, Kashmir issue,Rohingya crisis, Afghan crisis.
The UN failed to take proper initiative in Cambodian genocide, Rwandan civil war Somalian Civil war, Srebrenica massacre, Darfur crisis, Iraq invasion, Syrian crisis, The UN got failure in the Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, Yemen civil war.
The UN has been unable to take appropriate steps against global terrorism.
The UN has been unable to protect its less powerful members from the influence of big powerful members. The UN has also failed to implement various international laws properly.
There are many reasons for the UN's failure. One of the main reasons is its current structure. Which is not suitable for the present world. The Security Council is the vital organ of the UN. The responsibility of maintaining world peace and security is up to it. Every major decision of the UN is taken by it. But the problem is that the way in which it works is not suitable to deal with the current situation.
The permanent members of the Security Council often use their veto power for their interests. As a result, many times veto politics makes a hindrance to taking the necessary step in times of crisis situations. The cold war was the best example of veto politics.
Another reason for the failure of the UN is the lack of funding. The UN has to conduct many projects in different parts of the world. To conduct projects, the UN needs money. But in many times the UN does not get money in due time. That's why the UN has to face difficulties to complete its projects.
There is no separate budget for the peacekeeping operation in the UN. It completely depends on donor countries. On the other hand, it does not have any standing army for peacekeeping operations. It takes armed forces from its member countries.
Maximizing state interest is also a big factor in the UN's failure. Member countries see their own interests as greater than the interests of the United Nations. Countries in the world are not ready to accept any supranational authority over them. That's why member countries do not want to give enough space to the UN so that it can work itself. Because, if the UN gets supranational authority then it can create obstacles for maximizing state interest in various cases.
Despite having many problems, the UN is able to seat almost all the heads of the state of its member countries every September at the UN headquarter till now. It works as a common platform where member countries can discuss their issues with one another. Besides, another biggest achievement of the UN is that till now it has been able to save the world from the third world war. So, there is no way to deny the importance of the UN for a better world. And for this, the UN needs to be updated and strengthened.
The writer is a student,
Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka