Reform of the UN

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On October 24, 2013, the United Nations Organization will mark its 68th anniversary. This institution is often referred to as one of the 21st century most successful projects. The statements that the UN is an unmitigated success are undoubtedly justified. However, there has been a lot of debate among analysts about the UN’s possible reform lately. This debate puts perspectives of the UN’s existence into question.

The UN did its best in the course of the Cold War, having prevented the antagonistic countries from levying a new world war, which could have had severe ramifications for the whole world. By the same token, it has accomplished its decolonization mission. Measures taken by the UN to prevent nuclear proliferation proved to be successful too. Nevertheless, there were some drawbacks. The UN remained dormant during NATO’s military intervention in Yugoslavia and War in Iraq, as well as it proved to be too weak to put a girdle about the Rwandan genocide. Speaking of the UN’s virtues and shortcomings, it is necessary to remember that they belong to the world community. According to Margaret Thatcher (2012), “The UN does not have an alternative today; people from around the world anchor their hope in this organization”. That is why the international community gets understandably irritated at the UN’s downward approval rating.

Let us take a look at the changes that the UN has gone through since its foundation.

The rudiments of the UN’s structure were developed by the Allies of World War II in 1942. Fifty-one states ratified the UN Charter on June 25, 1941 in San Francisco. The UN Charter came into force on October 24, and this date became known as the United Nations Day.

One hundred and fifty states acceded to the UN since 1946 (although a few countries have dropped out after their partition into independent states). Southern Sudan is the last country to have joined the organization. This landmark event took place on June 14, 2011. After some amendments to the UN Charter were adopted, only diplomatically recognized countries can be granted a membership.

Since 1947, the UN has created a plethora of specialized agencies, which run the gamut from financial to military to educational institutions. Some of the UN specialized agencies have not originally been established by the UN, but were incorporated into this truly omnipotent organization later. All the specialized agencies were created on the basis of interparliamentary agreements. They were founded or incorporated in the following order:

1945 – International Bank for Reconstruction and Development;

1945 – Food and Agriculture Organization;

1945 – International Monetary Fund;

1946 – United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization;

1946 – World Health Organization;

1946 – International Labor Organization (incorporated);

1947 – International Telecommunication Union (incorporated);

1947 – World Meteorological Organization (incorporated);

1947 – Universal Postal Union (incorporated);

1947 – International Civil Aviation Organization;

1956 – International Finance Corporation;

1959 – International Maritime Organization;

1960 – International Development Assosiation (incorporated);

1966 – United Nation Industrial Development Organization;

1967 – World Intellectual Property Organization (incorporated);

1974 – World Tourism Organization (incorporated);

1977 – International Fund for Agricultural Development (incorporated);

Security Council is one of the six principal bodies of the UN and is responsible for the maintenance of security and peace around the world. In 1963, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 1991, which increased membership of the UN Security Council from 11 to 15 members. Meisler (1997) argues “this unanimous decision was spawned by the precipitous influx of member-states in the first place, and by the necessity to endow developing countries with a possibility to participate in the UN Security Council in the second”.

Due to the end of confrontation between antagonistic Soviet and American camps in early 1990-es, the UN Security Council has started adopting more and more resolutions, and the UN’s influence on international politics became more evident. Responsibilities of the UN transcend the confines of only military issues and revolve around the humanitarian, social, political and other matters. The UN Security Council starts gaining some features of the real world government.

Despite the alterations that have taken place already, the UN (similar to its headquarters in New York, which has undergone only minor repairs) still needs a comprehensive reconstruction. 

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