Does the UN Effectively Fulfill its Mission?

Posted by Frederick Jones
October 23, 2007
United Nations Headquarters

By Presidential Proclamation, the United States celebrated October 24th as "United Nations Day." Many today question the relevance of the United Nations. Founded to maintain international security and help solve economic, social, and humanitarian problems...

Does the United Nations continue to effectively fulfill its mission?

Comments

Comments

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
October 23, 2007

Eric in New Mexico writes:

A short answer might be that if one needs to ask this question in the first place, then it's logical to conclude there's vast room for improvement on the implementation side of the UN's mission.

Century45
October 24, 2007

C writes:

As a development person, I am very curious about the UN and the U.S. government's position.

Kashif
|
United States
October 24, 2007

Kashif in America writes:

Yes the U.N. may not be effective at times and might seem to serve the interests of certain nations who have veto power but without a consensus, no matter how horrible the other parties you are forming a consensus with are, it is still important to include them in the process. Without inclusion then you end up giving on aura of exclusivity and if that occurs all nations will feel themselves to be exempt from a framework of international law due to this aura of exclusivity. This is already occuring where Ameica thinks it can preempt and label countries as good and evil, what is stopping other coutries like Russia in doing the same against legitimate freedom struggles like in Chechnya by labeling these freedom fighters "evil" to justify horrible means of subjugation. Legitimate freedom struggles around the world have only to be labeled evil for dominating hegemonic powers to assert their will over these freedom fighters. Hey maybe the colonists of America were evil too and maybe Britain was right back then to call american colonists traitors; a list like this can go on forever but I think my point has been made.

Jared
|
Indiana, USA
October 24, 2007

Jared in Indiana writes:

The UN is effective in: peace keeping and humanitarian aid missions. Beyond that, it is rather ineffective. However, it is still an effective forum for international discussion. And there's a huge difference between that and effective action.

Scott
|
District Of Columbia, USA
October 24, 2007

Scott in Washington, DC writes:

The U.S.-UN relationships is like a marriage. It isn't always perfect and we don't always get what we want, but life would be much more difficult without our partner. The UN today is at least as relevant - and as helpful to U.S. interests - as it has ever been.

Robert
|
Ohio, USA
October 24, 2007

Robert in Ohio writes:

As far as keeping some sort of dialogue open, I'll say sure.

As for the "help solve economic, social, and humanitarian problems" bit... unless you count writing futile angry letters a viable solution I'll say no.

And as with any org there will be corruption (Oil for Food prog, etc).

So, I guess it really depends on what function you'd like to stress.

Ralph
|
Greece
October 24, 2007

Ralph in Greece writes:

I believe the UN has always done the best it can. With any organization run by people, you will have problems, but the system works. Now, please get them to pay their parking tickets!! Please!

Don
|
Virginia, USA
October 24, 2007

Don in Virginia writes:

The UN needs the U.S. and we Need the UN We're going to the UN for help on Iran, Iraq, Darfur and North Korea, as well working with our partners to facilitate elections and defeat terrorism. For its part, the UN needs the U.S. to be a constructive force for reform and bring countries together to cooperate on the world's most pressing challenges. The United Nations does a remarkable job considering the relatively low level of resources it has to work with and the complexity of its decision making system. Apparently, the U.S. majority of the public gets this, considering the UN's 64% approval rating compared to the 27% rating that Congress is currently receiving.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
October 25, 2007

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Kashif in America -- Hi Kashif,

You make some good points, and while I'm pretty sure the Brits considered our "Boston tea party" a "terrorist act" at the time, the UN of today cannot agree on a definition of "terrorism".

When I consider the difference (by definition) between a terrorist and a freedom fighter, The targeting of civilians, and the methods employed may serve. Beslan was not the act of "freedom fighters", and terrorism in general does not well serve a people struggling for independance. In fact it betrays legitimate aspirations.

While it is important to maintain inclusiveness in the UN among the nations of the world, the UN is a chartered org. and members signatory to that charter and documents such as the Universal Delaration of Human Rights have a solemn responsibility to live by this charter or risk their membership in the UN.

To enforce the rules would not be an attempt to exclude member states, but to reform the UN as a whole, consistant with its mission.

When a member state such as Iran undermines the UN's mission, actively supports the targeting of civilians by proxi, targets its own citizens in multiple oppresive ways inconsistant with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights it is signatory to, and opposes peace and reconciliation efforts by the UN and other member nations, then what you have is a essential "test case" for effective UN reform.

Danie
|
North Carolina, USA
October 25, 2007

Danie in North Carolina writes:

The United Nations set out some grand plans in its Charter on how it was going to promote peace and security within an anarchic world system, and as the past 62 years since the founding of the UN has shown, it has been far from an easy task to actually implement those objectives. The UN is a structure in need of updating and it is imperfect in so many ways; however, it is still a good way to keep dialogue between nations. Instead of questioning the relevance of the UN, I think we need to question the structure of the UN to give it a little more of a presence on the world stage.

Nick
|
Maryland, USA
October 25, 2007

Nick in Maryland writes:

Collective action is the greatest hope and achievement of human civilization. The UN embodies that principle. Its successes greatly outweigh its failures, and for many global issues it is the only organization with a chance at fashioning workable consensus solutions. Much of its work is unnoticed and under-appreciated. If one is inclined to question its relevance and effectiveness then just look around and ponder the alternatives for a moment. Not very pretty, are they?

Phoebe
|
District Of Columbia, USA
October 25, 2007

Phoebe in Washington, DC writes:

I do believe the UN effectively fulfills its mission. The UN, like any multilateral organization, has its share of problems, but we cannot ignore all the good it does in the world. But the UN can't do it alone and without the support of its member states. The U.S. should be sure to pay all the dues it owes to the UN so that it CAN effectively carry out missions. We are setting the UN up to fail by not fully funding missions WE voted for in the Security Council.

Elizabeth
|
Pennsylvania, USA
October 25, 2007

Elizabeth in Pennsylvania writes:

Absolutely YES, the UN effectively fulfills its mission. I'd hate to think about a world without the UN - a world with millions more children dying from preventable diseases; a world with no global peacekeeping and negotiation efforts; a world with no internationally coordinated efforts to relieve so many of the world's most pressing issues. We in the U.S. often lose sight of what makes the UN so essential, but it would be a disaster if we as a country stopped supporting what is perhaps the most important international organization we have.

Joe
|
Michigan, USA
October 25, 2007

Joe in Michigan writes:

The UN does fulfill its mission by all that it does; however, it could do much more in peacekeeping throughout the world, dealing with global warming, and insufficient water supplies in too many places.

Laura
|
California, USA
October 25, 2007

Laura in California writes:

Yes, they are effective! See below:

The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Al Gore together won the Nobel Peace Prize for their work to educate the world on catastrophic climate change. This is the third time in the past seven years that a UN entity has been recognized with the Nobel Peace Prize.

Highest Number of Afghan Children Enrolled in School in Country's History

Aided by the UN's work in Afghanistan, more children are attending school than ever before in the country's history, most especially girls. This is turning the tide for the educational future of an entire generation of young Afghans.

Largest Number of Peacekeepers Ever Deployed

In the past year, more than 110 countries sent troops to serve in 18 UN peacekeeping missions in places like Liberia, Sudan, Lebanon, and Haiti, contributing to the largest deployment of UN peacekeepers in history.

Millions of Children Protected Against Preventable Disease

The Measles Initiative, which includes the World Health Organization, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the UN Foundation, has helped vaccinate over 372 million children -- reducing measles deaths in Africa by 75% (compared to 1999). By partnering with campaigns like Nothing But Nets, they also distribute life saving mosquito nets that protect children from malaria.

New Technology Enables Disaster Relief to Arrive Faster in Humanitarian Crises

In partnership with the UN's disaster relief organization (OCHA), the UN's Children Fund (UNICEF) and other UN agencies, the NGO Telecoms Sans Frontieres (TSF), also known as Telecoms Without Borders, deployed seven times this year to support emergency relief efforts in places like Darfur's refugee camps, and coastal areas of Peru devastated by the 8.1 magnitude earthquake this summer.

James
|
Colorado, USA
October 25, 2007

James in Colorado writes:

The UN is vital to world affairs! If only the U.S. would properly support its mission!

Robert
|
Arizona, USA
October 25, 2007

Robert in Arizona writes:

The United Nations should continue to receive our support since it is a ready made gathering place for most of the countries in the world. This is invaluable during a time of crisis. The United Nations has done a lot of good in the world since it was established. I would like to see the United States cooperate better with the United Nations than it has in the past. I would also like to see the United States contribute more monetary support than it has in the past.

Roger S.
|
Oregon, USA
October 25, 2007

Roger in Oregon writes:

Yes.

Marianne
|
Virginia, USA
October 25, 2007

Marianne in Virgina writes:

The UN is trying to fulfill its mission. Like any large organization there is room for improvement.

The world and yes, even the U.S., needs the United Nations.

Lemond
|
United States
October 25, 2007

Lemond in U.S.A. writes:

Without the UN the world would be more dangerious.

Joe
|
Colorado, USA
October 25, 2007

Joe in Colorado writes:

The UN may not be a perfect institution but no institution is. They do wonderful work however around the world and should be commended. If it were not for the UN body there could very well be more conflicts and other autrocities the likes of which the world has never seen.

Mary
|
Texas, USA
October 25, 2007

Mary in Texas writes:

The U.S. should have a better relationship with the UN.

Raymond
|
United States
October 25, 2007

Raymond in U.S. writes:

If the United States supported the work of the UN as it should the work of the UN could be more effective. Nevertheless, in spite of the necessary support, the UN is doing an effective mission. But it needs the total support of all member nations and it needs to operate from consensus building and not the domination of one particular group of member states or one particular state.

Sebastian P.
|
New York, USA
October 25, 2007

Sebastian in New York City writes:

Yes, I firmly believe in the ability of the UN to fulfill it's mandate in promoting peace, fellowship and understanding among all the world's people. Whowever, the UN can only function if the Security Council's veto power were eliminated which gives permanent and arbitrary status to a select cartel of nations who dominate the agenda.

Bridgette
|
Minnesota, USA
October 25, 2007

Bridgette in Minnesota writes:

Yes- The United Nations fufuills it's mission. I think the dilemma here is that it only has as much determination or effectiveness as its member state decide it does. It is am important forum for world voices.

Ray
|
California, USA
October 25, 2007

Ray in California writes:

The United Nations is to be congratulated on its accomplishments. In spite of the war mongering Bush Administration's policy of marginalizing the UN it has been quite effective in accomplishing its mission. With the illegal occupation of Iraq and the foolhardy contemplation of an attack on Iran, the US government has become a laughing stock of the civilized world, a hated country and completely ineffective in fulfilling its mission of building a real democracy here in the U.S. Instead the U.S. government is engaged in actively destroying all that stands in the way of transnational corporations that want to control the worlds' supply of oil and other sources of energy. Apparently there is some notion that the American public is made up of fools and idiots. The fools and idiots are the ones at the helm now. Those who are first now are later to be last for the times they are a-changing.

Virginia
|
Virginia, USA
October 25, 2007

Virginia in Virginia writes:

Yes, I believe the UN is fulfilling its mission. Peacekeeping missions are working. Children are being vaccinated for diseases. More children are enrolled in Afganistan than ever before. I hate to think where the world would be headed without the UN. The efforts by the UN to help combat global warming are recognized in the Nobel Peace Prize awarded this year. Without dialogue between countries, we are lost.

bernice
|
California, USA
October 25, 2007

Bernice in California writes:

Yes. We must support the UN finacially and morally. It is civilization's only hope.

James
|
Maryland, USA
October 25, 2007

James in Maryland writes:

Yes, I think the UN does effectively fulfill its mission although it might do even better if the U.S. paid its share more fully.

Grant S.
|
North Carolina, USA
October 25, 2007

Grant in North Carolina writes:

The United Nations is a flawed institution, that much is true. But it is also an institution that has not been given much chance to succeed by its major patron, the United States. For decades now, we have been failing to pay our bills, we have been sending diplomatic representatives who need training wheels, and we have been criticizing it at every turn. If the UN is ever to grow to a mature institution that can intervene effectively in world events, it must be fully funded and aggressively supported. It is already a far greater success than people give it credit for; the UN got it exactly right about Iraq. Had the United States listened and helped?instead of ignoring and criticizing?we would be richer by 4,000 American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars that have been wasted in an illegal and senseless war.

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