United Nations

WHAT IS UN(UNITED NATIONS)- UN is generally regarded as the most important international organization in today’s world. It is indispensable and represents the great hope of humanity for peace and progress. International Organization helps in matters of war and peace. They also help countries cooperate to make better living conditions for us all. Countries have conflicts and differences with each other. That does not necessarily mean they must go to war to deal with their antagonisms. International Organization discusses contentious issues and find peaceful solutions. An international organization is not a super-state with authority over its members. It is created by and responds to states. There are issues that are so challenging that they can only be dealt with when everyone works together. Each country can try to finds its own solution to the effects of global warming. But in the end a more effective is to stop the warming itself. This requires at least all of the major industrial powers to cooperate. An international organization can help produce information and ideas about how to cooperate. It can provide mechanisms, rules and a bureaucracy, to help members have more confidence that costs will be shared properly, that the benefits will be fairly divided, and that once a member joins an agreement it will honor the terms and conditions of the agreement.

HEADQUARTERS OF UNITED NATIONS

The headquarters of the United Nations is a complex in New York city designed by Brazilian Architect Oscar Niemeyer. It is located in the Turtle Bay Neighbourhood of Manhattan, on spacious grounds overlooking the East River. The UN General Assembly first met in war torn London on 10th January, 1946.

LOGO AND FLAG OF THE UN

The original UN logo was created by a team of designers, led by Oliver Lincoln Lundquist. The UN logo was approved on 7th December, 1946. The UN logo has been incorporated into the logos of several UN family members. The logo is also used on United Nation’s stamps.

The UN General Assembly adopted the UN flag on 20th October, 1947. The design is a map of the world representing an azimuthal equidistant crossed conventionalised branches of the olive tree, in gold on a field of smoke-blue with all water areas in white. The projection of the map extends to 60 degree South latitude, and includes five concentric circles.

LANGUAGES OF UN

The official languages of the United Nations are 6, namely Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. English and French were the only official languages in 1945, later in 1948 Spanish, in 1968 Russian and in 1973 Chinese was added by General Assembly in 1973, and by Security Council in 1982. Although, Arabic is not used as working language.

PURPOSES OF UN

The purposes of the United Nations, as set forth in the Charter, are

. To maintain international peace and security

. To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and sel-determination of peoples

. To cooperate, in solving international economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems and in promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms

. To be a centre for harmonising the actions of nations in attaining these common ends

PRINCIPLES OF UNITED NATIONS

The United Nations Acts in accordance with the following principles

. It is based on the sovereign equality of all its members

. All members are to fulfill in godd faith their Charter Obligations

. All members settle their international disputes by peaceful means and without endangering international peace, security and justice

. They are to refrain their international relation from the threat or use of force against any other state

. They are to give the United Nations evey assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the Charter

. Nothing in the Charter is to authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state

EVOLUTION OF THE UN

The First World War encouraged the world to invest in an international organization to deal with conflict. Many believed that such an organization would help the world to avoid war. As a result, the League of Nations was born. However, despite its initial success, it could not prevent the Second World War (1939-45). Many more people died and were wounded in this war than ever before.

The UN was founded as a successor to the League of Nations. It was established in 1945 immediately after the Second World War. The organization was set up through the signing of the United Nations Charter by 51 States. The UN’S objective is to prevent international conflict and to facilitate cooperation among states. The UN’s objective is to prevent international conflict and to improve the prospects of social and economic development all over the world. By 2006, the UN had 192 member states. These included almost all independent states. In the UN General Assembly, all members have one vote each. In the UN General Assembly, all members have one vote each. In the UN Security Council,   there are five permanent members. These are: The United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France and China. These states were selected as permanent members as they were the most powerful immediately after the Second World War and because they constituted the victors in the War.

The UN’S most visible public figure, and the representative head, is the Secretary-General. The present Secretary General is Antonio Guterres from Portugal. The UN consists of many different structures and agencies. War and peace and differences between member states are discussed in the General Assembly as well as the Security Council. Social and Economic issues are dealt with by many agencies including the World Health Organization (WHO) , the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC), the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHRC), the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHRC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), among others.

REFORM OF THE UN AFTER THE COLD WAR

Reform of the organization’s structures and processes; and a review of the issues that fall within the jurisdiction of the organization . The biggest discussion has been on the functioning of the Security Council. Related to this has been the demand for an increase in the UN Security Council’s permanent and non-permanent membership so that the realities of contemporary world politics are better reflected in the structure of the organization. In particular, there are proposals to increase membership from Asia, Africa and South America. Beyond this, the US and other Western Countries want improvements in the UN’S budgetary procedures and its administration.

Some countries and experts want the organization to play a greater or more effective role in peace and security missions, while others want its role to be confined to development and humanitarian work (health, education, environment, population control, human rights, gender and social justice.)

REFORM OF STRUCTURES AND PROCESSES

. The Security Council no longer represents contemporary political realities.

. Its decisions reflect only Western values and interests and are dominated by a few powers.

. It lacks equitable representation

Following are just some of the criteria that have been proposed for new permanent and non-permanent members of the Security Council.

. A major economic power

. A major military power

. A substantial contributor to the UN budget

. A big nation in terms of its population .

. A nation that respects democracy and human rights

. A country that would make the Council more representative of the world’s diversity in terms of geography, economic systems and culture .

PERMENANT MEMBERS AND VETO POWER

The main privileges of the five permanent members are permanency and the veto-power. A country cannot be re-elected after completing a term of two years.  The non-permanent members are elected in a manner so that they represent all continents of the world. The permanent members can vote in a negative manner so that even if all other permanent and non-permanent members vote for a particular decision, any permanent member’s negative vote can stall the decision. This negative vote is the veto. Without the veto, there is the danger as in 1945 that the great powers would lose interest in the World Body. As the UN completed 60 years of its existence, the heads of all the member-states met in September 2005 to celebrate the anniversary and review the situation. The leaders in this meeting decided that the following steps should be taken to make the UN more relevant in the changing context.

INDIA AND THE UN REFORMS

India has supported the restructuring of the UN on several grounds. It believes that a strengthened and revitalized UN is desirable in a changing world. India also supports an enhanced role for the UN in promoting development and cooperation among states. India believes that development should be central to the UN’S agenda as it is a vital precondition for the maintenance of international peace and security. One of India’s major concerns has been the composition of the Security Council, which has remained largely static. India believes that development should be central to the UN’S agenda as it is a vital precondition for the maintenance of international peace and security. One of India’s major concerns has been the composition of the Security Council which has remained largely static. India considers that this has harmed the representative character of the Security Council. It also argues that an expanded Council, with more representation, will enjoy greater support in the world community. Overwhelming majority of the UN General Assembly members now are developing countries. Therefore India, argues that they should also have a role in shaping the decisions in the Security Council which affect them. Its representatives have argued that the activities of the Security Council have greatly expanded in the past few years. The success of the Security Council’s actions depends upon the political support of the international community. Any plan for restructuring of the Security Council should, therefore be broad-based. For example, the Security Council should have more developing countries in it.

India is the second most populous country in the world comprising almost one-fifth of the world population. India is also the world’s largest democracy. India has participated in virtually all of the initiatives of the UN. Its role in the UN’S peacekeeping efforts is a long and substantial one. The country’s economic emergence on the world stage is another factor that perhaps justifies India’s claims to a permanent seat in the Security Council. India has also made regular financial contributions to the UN and never faltered on its payments. India is aware that permanent membership of the Security Council also has symbolic representation. It signifies a country’s growing importance in world affairs. This greater status is an advantage to a country in the conduct of its foreign policy;

Despite India’s wish to be a permanent veto-wielding member of the UN, some countries question its inclusion. Neighboring Pakistan, with which India has troubled relations, is not the only country that is reluctant to see India become a permanent veto member of the Security Council. Some countries, for instance, are concerned about India’s nuclear weapons capabilities. Others think its difficulties with Pakistan will make India ineffective as a permanent member. Others feel that if India is included, then other emerging powers will have to be accommodated such as Brazil, Germany, Japan even South Africa whom they oppose. Given these concerns, it may not be very easy for India or anyone else to become a permanent member of the UN in the near future.

ROLE OF US IN THE UN

US is a dominant, the UN can and has served to bring the US and the rest of the world into discussions over various issues. US leaders, in spite of their frequent criticism of the UN, do see the organization as serving a purpose in bringing together over 190 Nations and in dealing with conflict and social and economic development. As for the rest of the world, the UN provides an arena in which it is possible to modify US attitudes and policies. While the rest of the World is rarely united Washington, and while it is virtually impossible to ‘’balance’’ US power, the UN does provide a space within which arguments against specific US attitudes and policies are heard and compromises and concessions can be shaped.

ORGANS OF THE UN

World Bank

The World Bank was created immediately after the Second World War in 1945. Its activities are focused on the developing countries. It works for human development (education, health), agriculture and rural development (irrigation, rural services), environmental protection (pollution reduction), establishing and enforcing regulations) , infrastructure (roads, urban regeneration, electricity)  and governance (anti-corruption, development and legal institutions). It provides loans and grants to the member-countries. In this way, it exercises enormous influence on the economic policies of developing countries. It is often criticized for setting the economic agenda of the poorer nations, attaching stringent conditions to its loans and forcing free market reforms.

WTO

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an international organization which sets the rule for global trade. This organization was set up in 1995 as the successor to the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) created after the Second World War. It has 164 members (as on 1 September 2012). All decisions are taken unanimously but the major economic powers such as the EU, US and Japan have managed to use the WTO to frame rules of trade to advance their own interests. The developing countries often complain of non-transparent procedures and being pushed around by big powers.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

Amnesty International is an NGO that campaigns for the protection of human rights all over the world. It promotes respect for the entire human in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It believes that human rights are interdependent and indivisible. It prepares and publishes reports on human rights. Governments are not always happy with these reports since a major focus of Amnesty is the misconduct of government authorities. Nevertheless, these reports play an important role in research and advocacy on human rights.

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

Human Rights watch is another international NGO involved in research and advocacy on human rights. It is the largest international human rights organism in the US. It draws the global media’s attention to human rights abuses. It helped in building international coalitions like the campaigns to ban landmines, to stop the use of child soldiers and to establish the International Criminal Court.

Security means freedom from threats. These are the things that threaten the ‘core value’ should be regarded as being of interest in discussions of security. Security relates only to extremely dangerous threats- threats that could so endanger core values would be damaged beyond repair if we did not do something to deal with the situation. There are basically two types of threats. These are external threats and internal threats.

EXTERNAL THREATS

The traditional conception of security, the greatest danger to a country is from military threats. The source of this danger is another country which by threatening military action endangers the core values of sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. Military action also endangers the lives of ordinary citizens. It is unlikely that in a war only soldiers will be hurt or killed. In responding to the threat of war, a government has three basic choices: to surrender; to prevent the other side from attacking by promising to raise the costs of war to an unacceptable level; and to defend itself when war actually breaks out so as to deny the attacking country its objectives and to turn back or defeat the attacking forces altogether. Governments may choose to surrender when actually confronted by war, but they will not advertise this as the policy of the country. Therefore, security policy is concerned with preventing war, which is called deterrence and with limiting or ending war, which is called defense.

Traditional security policy has a third component called balance of power. When countries look around them, they see that some countries are bigger and stronger. This is a clue to who might be a threat in the future. The fact that this country is very powerful is a sign that at some point in the future it may choose to be aggressive. Governments are, therefore, very sensitive to the balance of power between their country and other countries. They do work hard to maintain a favorable balance of power with other countries especially that close by, those with whom they had differences, or with whom they had conflicts in the past.  A good part of maintaining a balance of power is to build up one’s military power, although economic and technological power are also important since they are the basis for military power.

INTERNAL THREATS

The reason it is not given so much importance is that after the Second World War it seemed that, for the most powerful countries on earth, internal security was more or less assured. After 1945, the US and the Soviet Union appeared to be united and could expect peace within their borders. Most of the European Countries, particularly the powerful Western European Countries, faced no serious threats from groups or communities living within those borders. Therefore, these countries focused primarily on threats from outside their borders. Some of the newly-independent countries, like the European powers, became members of the Cold War Alliances. They therefore had to worry about the Cold War becoming a hot war and dragging them into hostilities. The Cold War between the two superpowers was responsible for approximately one-third of all wars in the post-Second World War Period. Most of these Wars were fought in the Third World.

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