2The United Nations was created at the end of the Second World War, replacing the League of Nations US President Franklin D Roosevelt was a driving force behind the creation of the United NationsThe name “United Nations” was used by Roosevelt to describe the alliance fighting the Axis powers in World War 2
3The Four PolicemenWorld peace was to be maintained by what Roosevelt described as the “four policemen”-the US, UK, USSR and China, acting together to prevent conflictThese four policemen, along with France, became the five permanent members of the UN Security CouncilThe USSR initially opposed China’s inclusion as one of the “policemen”, but Roosevelt insisted. Churchill was not happy about it either.
4The Birth of the United Nations 26 June 1945, representatives of 50 countries sign the charter of the United Nations at a conference in San FranciscoUN officially comes into existence on 24 October 1945
5The Preamble to the Charter WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINEDto save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, andto reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, andto establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, andto promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
6The UN Charter Outlawed War Except In Self Defence All members were to settle their disputes peacefullyMembers were to refrain from the threat of force, or the use of force against other member statesThe Security Council, not individual countries, was to decide whether military force is to be used.Countries were supposed to keep a certain proportion of their armed forces for use by the United Nations
7The Structure of the UNSecurity Council: responsible for peace, has 15 membersGeneral Assembly: main deliberative forum of the UN has 191 membersThe UN Secretariat headed by the Secretary GeneralInternational Court of Justice based in The Hague, Holland
8Cont’dEconomic and Social Council- deals with issues of economic developmentSpecialised agencies such as the World Health Organization, International Atomic Energy Agency, International Labour Organization
9The Security CouncilThe Security Council has five permanent members: US, UK, France, Russia and China.10 other countries elected for two year termsNot all members are equal: permanent members have the power of vetoCharter gives the Security Council “primary responsibility for international peace and security”
11What Does The Security Council Do To Maintain Peace? If the Security Council decides there is a threat to international peace it normally begins by calling for negotiations to resolve the problemThe UN Secretary General or his representative talks to the countries involved and urges them to settle the problem
12If that does not work Can impose diplomatic and economic sanctions Air and sea blockadesIf there is still no progress the Security Council can authorize military action
13The Weakness of the UN System in Enforcing Peace Veto power: the UN can only take serious action when all the “policemen” agree:“Decisions of the Security Council shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members”When one or other great power has been involved, the UN has been powerless- ie Hungary in 1956 and Vietnam 1950’s-1970’sThe exception was Korea in 1950.
14The Composition of the Security Council does not reflect present day realities France is a member of the Security Council only because it was a victor in World War 2. Should France still be there?Japan and Germany the world’s third and fourth largest economies are not Security Council members.Efforts to expand Security Council membership have failed because countries cannot decide on how it should be done.Probable candidates: Japan, India, Brazil and one African country (Nigeria?)
15Korea Somalia Bosnia Gulf War In more than 50 years, the UN Security Council has only authorized military action in the following casesKoreaSomaliaBosniaGulf WarIn all these cases different countries have undertaken military action with the permission of the UN. The UN itself has not gone to war
16Typical UN Operations Are Peacekeeping Not War Fighting These operations usually come into effect once a war is overThey monitor ceasefires, and help to maintain a buffer between the warring partiesThe peacekeepers are there at the request of the warring partiesTheir main role is to calm things and build confidence among the warring partiesSoldiers from different countries are assigned to the UN, and are responsible to the United Nations, not their own countries
17UN Peacekeeping Operations At present, there are 40,000 UN peacekeepers serving all over the world.13 UN peacekeeping missions all over the worldThe first ever UN peacekeeping mission established in the Middle East in 1948 is still continuing
18Cont’dThe UN has no military force of its own, and is dependent on other countries to provide military forcesThe UN Charter requires countries to maintain a certain part of their forces for the use of the UN. This has never been doneInstead of representing the world, the UN is often pushed into becoming an instrument of its most powerful members
19Points to RememberThe United Nations system was based on the belief that the great powers who won the Second World War would continue their war time alliance, and continue to work together to maintain world peace. That never happened.The United Nations can only do what its members, particularly its most powerful members allow it it do.When the UN is unable to act, it is usually because one or two of its powerful members do not want it to do so.The UN is not perfect, but it is the only institution we have where countries can solve problems together.
20QuestionsWhat is the purpose of the UN? Are the UN’s purposes and principles realistic? Does the UN today live up to what it set forth so many years ago?Does the UN challenge the status quo, or preserve it? The UN is “based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members”. But some members are more equal than others; the Permanent 5 have veto power in the Security Council. Is the UN about promoting global progress or preserving the power of the Permanent 5?2. Health, refugees, human rights, environmental issues, sustainable development, promoting economic development-all these issues require international cooperation. The UN is the only forum for such cooperation