Is the septuagenarian UN relevant today?

Is the septuagenarian UN relevant today?

United Nations (UN) turned seventy on October 24 2015. It is a successor to the failed League of Nations which couldn't avert the World War 2. For any institution or organization to have such a long run of 70 years is impressive. But what is most pressing concern today is not how old or young the UN is or whether it needs reforms or not, but whether it is relevant or not. It actually seems redundant nowadays. Many crucial decisions are taken not at the doorstep of the UN but at in other organizations and summits. Seeing this, should we invest time, energy and money in being seen and heard in the UN? Has UN become just a formality or an unnecessary ritual?

Yes it is very much relevant –

1. UN is a symbol of joined and concerted efforts and will always serve to do so. It inspires confidence and shows that world peace can be achieved when all come together on a platform. Symbols never become irrelevant. Even if newer ways and methods emerge to solve problems, symbols always remain and keep inspiring. UN is not just a symbol, but also is the only body in which almost all nations are included giving it the authenticity needed to command authority. And we need such institutions.

2. They say that there are many new institutions which are becoming centers of power and many crucial decisions are taken in them.

3. We must realize that many of these institutions come under the aegis of the UN. Also, many of them still run to the UN for any conflict of interests. This speaks of the ever growing relevance of the UN. Also, the UN has indirectly provided platform for creation of such organizations by bringing leaders of all nations together.

4. We can never deny that a general body of all the nations is needed which can address all issues of the world. Currently there is no body other than UN. All of the others are sector and objective specific.

5. Each institution passes a phase where it matures as well as it may need reforms to keep in tune with the changing scenario. This does not mean that its relevance has declined.

6. Though many other organizations have sprung up and are being in forefront to make pacts and taking crucial decisions, they lack authenticity and authority which the UN commands. Still going on after 70 years shows how relevant UN is.

No. It has become redundant –

1. Many have voiced concerns as to the redundancy of the UN as there are specialized organizations that take care of all the sector specific needs of the nations.

2. UN might have had relevance against the backdrop of the World War 2, so as to bring all leaders together to maintain peace but apart from the security council of the UN, there seems no moving forward in the UN in this matter. UN is just used as a platform to raise objections, which very well can be done from anywhere in the world using the media.

3. Funding provided to the UN is also very less. Then what is the point in continuing such an organization with less funding and repetitive functions.

4. UN has authenticity and commands authority. But the same can be said for the sector specific institutions also like the WTO or WHO, etc.

5. Today is the world where bilateral and pluri-lateral talks can get things done more easily than waiting for consensus from all the leaders.

6. They say reforms can bring UN in tune with present realities but one must understand that for an organization with redundant functions, no amount of reforms can make it relevant as the objectives itself are redundant. And if we change the objectives, will it remain the same organization?

7. UN has an objective of peace. But how many decisions regarding peace have been taken by UN and how many by the International Court of Justice, other organizations like NATO, OPEC, etc. These other organizations bring in embargoes that make the deviant submit to the larger good. If such organizations are working well, why do we still need UN?

8. UN is mostly dominated by the US and the western nations. It hardly is a platform which provides equal opportunities.

It is very true that the UN seems less relevant nowadays. But it is far from reality. In this fragile political landscape no one knows when things go south. Though regional pacts and other organizations can take over functions of UN, it is important to note that such organizations can get dismantled easily once they serve their purpose or if it is found that they are now not of much use. Such dissolution is not possible with the UN. Once things start disintegrating, UN becomes an obvious choice where all can rally. Though UN seemed more important during the aftermath of the World War 2, it actually is most important now, as it is silently performing its main function i.e. to avoid World War 3.
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  • RE: Is the septuagenarian UN relevant today? -Deepa Kaushik (11/07/15)
  • UN was created following the Second World War. And we need to accept the fact that we haven't got any situation like another World War following that. The main motive behind the formation of UN remains well constructed and relevant till today. We have got many endangering situations with increasing terrorism day-by-day; still we are well stranded to maintain World Peace.

    We are living in the nuclear age, when we can expect any devastation anytime. Still we do abide to the pact signed up with the UN so as to maintain peace globally. UN has played and is playing a crucial role in keeping a check on the use of weapons which could destroy on a large scale.

    UN has lost its charm, yet we are unable to form a single entity as organization in all these years which could sum up all the nations of the World under its head. We have only one organization that spreads its hands over every nook and corner of the World and has the authority to question anyone anytime. UN is till date the only organization which every nation abides.

    Hence, UN would retain its relevance globally till the time anyother single organization could sum up the whole world under its arena.