The United Nations (UN) turned 75 years on the 24th of October. The UN is truly unique as an international system: it is an intergovernmental organization whose mission is to promote international peace and security, justice and human rights.
The UN has to balance between the sovereignty of states and with the international cooperation. The UN Security Council has five permanent state members: the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China, which hardly reflects the power relations of today’s world. For example, there are no representatives of the Islamic world or the African continent among the permanent members. The veto right of the permanent members of the Security Council to any decision gives them a disproportionate amount of power, which sometimes makes it easy to accuse the UN of inefficiency. However. the UN is the sum of its member states. When we speak about a joint institution of 191 states, rapid movements cannot be expected. No one can be easily pushed over and that is why the states have given the UN even this much power than they have.
The many UN resolutions, agreements and norms form the very basis for our world order where global challenges are faced and solved together. Agenda 2030 is a program of 17 sustainable development goals and a politically binding document for the UN member-states. Unlike the Millennium Development Goals, the Sustainable Development Goals apply to all countries, including the “developed” ones. For example, the goals of gender equality and responsible consumption apply to our daily lives. 50 years ago we could not imagined to create a global agenda that would bind humanity together. We have come a long way.
The achievements of UN are, in fact, quite impressive. Providing food to more than 90 million people in more than 75 countries. Assisting more than 34 million refugees. Actions to mitigate global climate change together. Providing vaccines for about 60% of the world’s children. Assisting on a yearly basis about 50 states in organizing their elections. Helping about 30 million women each year in the field of reproductive health. Protection of human rights through more than 80 treaties and resolutions. 71 peacekeeping operations around the world. Yep, hard to call that unnecessary. The UN will certainly be needed another 75 years if it can be adequately reformed and supported. I wish the respectful organization health and many more years to come!