Is the United Nations really Successful?
It has been 77 years of the San Francisco meeting of 1945 which resulted in the foundation of the United Nations organization. It is not like it was the first attempt at the establishment of such a multilateral organization. Earlier, an attempt was made to provide a platform where they could reach a cordial settlement. It was the League of Nations – The predecessor of the United Nations Organizations. This was the first multilateral institution that had the responsibility to discourage the use of war. It had the responsibility to prevent another disastrous event like World War I. However, unfortunately, the League of Nations was buried in the ruins and wreckage of the Second World war.
The United Nations was formulated to prevent previous faults and provide a futuristic agenda for the member countries.
The vision of the United Nations
Fifty-one countries were present in the San Fransisco meeting anticipated four main objectives of the United Nations Organization.
- Maintenance of Peace throughout the World and the development of friendly relations among member countries
- Providing assistance to countries for poverty reduction
- Elimination of diseases and illiteracy as well as respect for human dignity and human rights.
- Provision of platforms for coordination at the global level to achieve all these goals.
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What has Been Achieved?
The organization of 51 countries has been expanded to 193 countries. Furthermore, the UN has progressed from conflict resolving body to a socio-economic development body. In the history of 77 years, the UN has achieved a lot as well as failures to mar its image.
The development of a body of International Law is undoubtedly one of the greatest achievements of the UN. The organization has been at the forefront of providing legal frameworks like environmental protection, regulation of migrant labor, and human trafficking.
In many areas, the legal work done by the UN was pioneering and it helped start legislation in member states. The body of law developed by both the Legal Committee and the International Law Commission is enshrined in conventions, treaties, and agreements. UN General Assembly is the main deliberative organ on matters relating to international law. It has succeeded in coming up with binding conventions dealing with crimes like genocide; racial discrimination against women; civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, and more.
Similarly, UN Law Commission has come up with many drafts on aspects of international law that were eventually incorporated by UNGA into multiple conventions. The enactment and enforcement of International Humanitarian Law dealing with means and methods of warfare along with the protection of civilian lives is also a laudable area where the UN has done well, though with limited success.
So far, more than 500 multilateral treaties have been deposited with the UN Secretary-General’s office which speaks volumes about the enormity of legal work done by the UN. This legal work has contributed a lot to international peace and security and the advancement of economic and social development across the world.
The legal contributions of the UN continue today as international law is assuming a new and central role across a broad spectrum. UN has also provided a platform for judicial settlements of disputes, being in consent with states.
ICJ and ICC
ICJ: The International Court Justice (ICJ) and International Criminal Court (ICC), and War Tribunals are important tools in the hand of the UN Security Council to enforce International Law. The ICJ is an organ of the UN. It has the responsibility of resolving disputes between countries related to economic problems. Non-interference in internal matters of state, maritime boundaries, territorial integrity, asylum rights, and others. Till today ICJ has resolved more than 170 inter-state issues.
ICC: ICC (International Criminal Court) was established in July 2002. It was established because inhibits crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. Although ICC has a controversial record and is often criticized, the establishment of this legal body is an achievement in itself.
Tribunals: Un-assisted tribunals have also played an important role in providing justice to the victims of the worst human rights violation. Resultantly, we can say that the UN has been commendable efforts and they have impacted overall legal developments all over the world.
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The work of the UN has also given an advantage to people in the socio-economic realm. UN General Assembly, the UN Economic, and Social Council, and UN Secretariat are all multiple specialized agencies and organs of the UN. They all are responsible for carrying out social and economic development across the world.
For instance, UN Development Program extends direct support to more than 4800 projects in good governance, poverty reduction, crisis management, and environmental protection.
UNICEF works in more than 150 countries for child protection, immunization, girls’ education, and emergency aid. UN Conference on Trade and Development has successfully helped conclude trade agreements and secure preferential treatments for exports.
The World Bank, which reports to ECOSOC, has provided loans and grants to many countries and has completed more than 12,000 projects in 170 countries.
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has performed extremely well. The progress in all fields of civil aviation can be estimated from the fact that 590 passengers out of 21 million were killed in air accidents in 1947 and now that number has reduced to 173 out of 3.1 billion passengers.
Similarly, International Maritime Organization has also provided a significant role in international shipping safe and environment friendly. The Universal Postal Union, with more than 650,000 post offices across the world, has become one of the greatest networks providing a key bridge between physical, digital, and financial operations and is active as a key partner in global development.
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In a nutshell, the UN with its specialized agencies has helped humanity cross many milestones in various aspects of economic development. Social development is another area where the UN has performed exceptionally well. First, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and now Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have guided UN work in social welfare and development.