The Roles Of: The United Nations

The United Nations

  • Also known as the United Nations Organization (UNO), the United Nations is an international organisation which was officially founded on October 24, 1945, after the end of World War II.
  • The main mission of the UN is to protect and maintain international peace and security.
  • The UN is also an active organisation in terms of promoting and protecting human rights.
  • Only sovereign states can be members of the UN. The number presently stands at 193.
  • The UN, through its many international policies was able to resolve conflict and bring about peaceful settlement in many conflict affected regions. Examples include, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Burundi, the north-south conflict in Sudan and Nepal.
  • A study credits the UN and their peacemaking, peacekeeping and conflict prevention activities for a 40% decline in conflict around the world after the 1990s.
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) under the UN is serving as a global inspector of nuclear energy, making sure nuclear energy is not abused.
  • UNESCO as well as UNICEF have been key to overall social, economic, health and cultural development globally, especially in low-income regions.
  • Multiple departments and organisations under the UN are working to find out solutions to tackle global warming and other grave environmental issues. The UN also participates in creating mass awareness about socially, economically, clinically and environmentally challenging topics.
  • Even though the goals of the UN are universal, funding is often a setback in terms of achieving and fulfilling the desired goals.
  • Apart from funding, state sovereignty also remains a challenge when it comes to maintaining global peace.
  • There are also cases where member states cannot come to an agreement regarding conflicts, disputes and other issues. Member states may also not feel obliged to abide by the international laws because of state sovereignty.

Extract from Legal Studies Stage 6 Syllabus. © 2009 Board of Studies NSW.