The Structure and operation of the United Nations

The Structure and operation of the United Nations -

Accomplishments of the United Nations:

During its 60-year history, the U.N. has achieved many remarkable accomplishments in fulfilling it goals. The U.N. has peacefully negotiated 172 peace settlements that have ended regional conflicts and is credited with participation in over 300 international treaties on topics as varied as human rights conventions to agreements on the use of outer space and the oceans. The U.N. has been involved in every major war and international crisis since its inception and has served as a catalyst for the prevention of others. It authorized the international coalitions that fought in the

Korean War (1950-53) and the Persian Gulf War (1991). It provided a forum for mediation in the Arab- Israeli conflict resulting in numerous peace accords and keeping the conflict localized to the Middle East. During the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, the U.N. was used as a podium by the United States to challenge the Soviet Union’s placement of nuclear missiles in Cuba. The embarrassment of public indictment was instrumental in forcing the Soviets to remove the missiles. U.N. military forces (provided by member states) have conducted over 35 peacekeeping missions providing security and reducing armed conflict. In 1988, the U.N. Peace-Keeping Forces received the Nobel Prize for Peace. The U.N. has also set up war crimes tribunals to try war criminals in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. The U.N. has also made great strides in raising the consciousness of human rights beginning with the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” adopted by the General Assembly in 1948. The U.N. Commission on Human Rights through its investigations and technical assistance in promoting free and fair elections has helped many countries in the transition to democracy. The U.N.’s intense attention to specific human

rights abuses helped end apartheid in South Africa. In its humanitarian efforts, more than 30 million refugees fleeing war, persecution, or famine have received aid from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. The International Court of Justice has helped settle numerous international disputes involving territorial issues, hostage-taking and economic rights. Since the end of the Cold War, the U.N. has become increasingly involved in providing humanitarian assistance and promoting improvements in the health of the world’s peoples. In addition to providing relief for humanitarian crises caused by international conflicts, the U.N. can also respond to emergencies caused by natural disasters such as floods and hurricanes. On a proactive level, the World Health Organization (WHO) and other U.N. affiliated groups have eliminated smallpox and are actively pursuing a battle against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria around the world. The WHO played a significant role in diagnosing and containing the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003. U.N. programs, like the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have saved and enriched the lives of the world’s children through immunization programs for polio, tetanus, measles, whooping cough, diphtheria and tuberculosis. The lives of over 3 million children a year have been saved.

The U.N. operates under the principle that promoting economic and social development will help bring about lasting world peace. The United Nations Development Program provides economic assistance through expert advice, training, and limited equipment to developing countries. The U.N. Development Program coordinates all the U.N. efforts in developing nations and has had success in part because it is not perceived as an outside group threatening a developing countries’ authority or degenerating it to colonial rule. In addition to promoting workers rights and the right to organize and bargain for better pay and working conditions, the U.N. has also played a significant role in improving agricultural techniques and increasing crop yields in Asia, Africa and South America. The U.N. has also helped developing nations obtain funding projects through the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, also known as the World Bank. A related U.N. agency, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) promotes international cooperation on monetary issues and encourages stable exchange rates among nations.

Post-reading activities:

1. Explain underlined terms and expressions.

2. Answer the following questions: What is the mission of the U.N.? To accomplish its mission, what do member countries agree to do? What are the function of the six bodies of the United Nations?

Why can it be said that the Security Council does not operate as a democracy? What kind of occupational skills would someone need to be a staff member or a diplomat at the U.N.? How does each of the six bodies help the U.N. achieve its mission? How is the use of military action in keeping with the U.N.’s mission and

goals? What efforts has the U.N. made in protecting human rights? In what ways has the U.N. extended these efforts in the other areas of accomplishment described in the reading?


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