Essay on Restructuring Of the UNO to Reflect Its Present Realities


Essay on Restructuring Of the UNO to Reflect Its Present Realities


UNO-the predecessor of the League Nations was a product of World War II and was conceived by the Allied European power on 24th October, 1945 to make the world a safer and better place.


In other, words, it will act as a con­science-keeper of the International community. The four freedoms-Freedom of speech and expression, Freedom of ever, person to worship God in his own way,

Freedom from want and Freedom from fear as declared by Roosevelt formed the bases on which the United Nations was built.

The UN remained for its first 25 years at the centre of the international stage. Each time a new crisis arose it was to the UN that the world turned to play a leading role in finding a solution. By the 1960s and later in the 1970s most states no longer looked to the United Nations for effective action.

The superpow­ers preferred to deal with each other directly outside the ambit of the UN on all important bilateral issues. Therefore the UN role in maintaining world peace came to be increasingly marginalized.


However, since the late 1980s, the UN has to occupy the centre stage once again following sudden unexpected changes in the world scene: the greatly improved relations between the superpowers and their joint interest in making the UN work in solving regional conflicts and the gradual disintegration of the socialistic block and withering away of East-West tension.

By the last decade of this century, it is the US which dominates the UN once again. Much of the disillusionment that is often expressed about the failure of the organization is due to the high expectation placed on its fragile shoulders. However, three of its characteristics have a global significance.

First, the revolutionary developments in Eastern and Central Europe have given powerful expression to two of the cardinal principles of the charter of the United Nations: self-determination of peoples and respect for human rights.

Second, it has been strikingly demonstrated that a status -quo based primarily on the military factor is bound to prove unstable. Third, the wider and saner concept of security, encompassing all its dimensions, which has begun to emerge, is precisely the one the United Nations has been expounding all these years.


Role of UNO: A Critical Appraisal

The UN played an active role in promoting apartheid from South Africa and India’s role in this respect is commendable.

Through its trusteeship and non-self-governing provisions, the United Nations has provided the basic machinery needed for the most important as well as the biggest revolutions of our time decolonization.

Through its principles of trusteeship, it has been able to maintain the international accountability needed for the transformation of the colonial states into independent ones.


The United Nations has given international protection and material assistance to millions of refugees and has aided children and other target groups to meet their special needs. Although the wide gap between rich and poor has not been bridged but it has made a significant contribution to the growth of the idea that development is an international responsibility

It is however in the field of functional co-operation that the United Nations record has been most impressive. The work of UN agencies in such areas as international payments.

The UN role in promoting human rights has been limited largely to rule­making. Violations of UN standards in this regard have been innumerable. Nevertheless, through discussions, declaration reports and international covenants sponsored by the UN, the organization seems to have promoted the cause of human rights as never before in the past.

On the question of handling of international disputes, in several cases definite and permanent settlements were reached. For example, the former Soviet Union withdrew its troops from Iran in 1946 and later again from Afghanistan in 1988.


The Indonesian crisis was ultimately resolved with the establishment of an independent state of Indonesia in 1950 and similarly the Namibian dispute was finally resolved in the establishment of an independent Namibian state in 1990. In several cases it has; in effect defaulted for example Korea in 1950 and the Gulf War in 1991.

On the issue of Disarmament it has played a threefold role in different negotiations.

1. It has taken the initiative in starting negotiations and has been mainly responsible for keeping them going.

2. It has established procedures of consultation through which the concerned states have been brought together to exchange and discuss proposals.

3. It has made disarmament the concern of all states, enabling the smaller and less powerful states to become so well informed about the problems that it has been able to exert an increasing influence on the actual working of negotiations.

Although the UN charter does not mention disarmament in its basic purposes and principles, disarmament and arms control negotiations hosted by the United Nations have been carried on since its inception.

Recently held comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in September 1996 and approval of all the nations of the world except India, Belgium and Libya are advancing the effort of the UN towards disarmament. To promote disarmament in this renewed trend, today remains the greatest challenge for the UN

Peace-keeping has been one of the most significant innovations under the UN command, to help contain and resolve conflict between hostile state, and sometimes between antagonistic forces within a single state.

It is a technique pioneered by the UN-the soldier as a catalyst for peace rather than as a instrument of power. Around the world, respect for the UN’s peace-keeping activities is growing.

In 1988 and 1989 alone there were five new operations. There is a growing demand for peace-keeping forces to perform an increasing variety of functions which will require new combinations of defense, police and civilian personnel peace-keeping operations make up part of what called “preventive diplomacy” keeping involved intervention by the United Nations, in conflicts that were marginal to the cold-war.

For preventive diploma- to succeed, the two most powerful UN members, the erstwhile Soviet Union and the United States, had to agree or at least keep hands off UN military actions. Recent experiences suggest that UN peace-keeping operations should be undertaken only when they are absolutely necessary.

Plagued by paucity of funds, with no military muscle of its own and constitutionally disabled from taking firm political decisions, the UN has been reduced to being a toothless tiger. Successive efforts by the UN to take action to meet the crisis in Somalia, Rwanda and Bosnia were brought to nougat. It was only in Iraq that the so-called UN initiative bore some fruit.

There have been disquieting developments on the peacekeeping front too. Since 1990 large portions of more than 50,000 forces engaged in peacekeeping operations have not only been contributed by the big powers, especially the USA, but they have also heavily armed and as the Somalian experience suggests, been engaged in all-out combat.

From the Bosnian case onwards, the US seems to be adopting a course of action independent of the UN through NATO. Recently West Asian crisis was resolved through intervention of US. Moreover, the UN has exercised very little control over the field commanders in such operations.

The USA has all along refused to put her forces under UN control. The delays by members of the UN to pay their dues and the absence of any coherent policy have led to a lot of uncertainty regarding the feature of these operations.

The UN civil services were largely dominated by the whites and they had set up the UN salary scales in their own images which the average member countries could ill-afford.

The permanent members of the Security Council armed with veto can nullify any action against them but also of the other recalcitrant states against whom it has not been possible to impose decisions.

UN is also under threat from regional blocks European Union, ASEAN. The idea of world government cannot be ruled out. Such a government can have all that the UN lacks today political powers, military muscle and economic strength and could be the most effective and meaningful successor to the UN.

The New International Economic Order as envisaged by the UN way hack m \<)74 is nowhere in sight and the gap between the rich and poor countries are steadily accelerating.

However, the ten-point declaration of the first ever UN sponsored World Summit for Social Development at Copenhagen on 6 March 1995 contains nothing to tackle the developing countries problems of poverty, unemployment and debt.

Revamping UNO: With the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the ending of cold war, the UN made valiant efforts to unravel regional and global conflicts and to lead the international community towards constructive co-operation in meeting the social and economic needs of humanity at large.

Notwithstanding those welcome developments an unprecedented crisis on the question of structural changes and reform has engulfed the UN since the mid-eighties. No, doubt every institution has to change to cope with an ever-changing environment and new challenges and opportunities.

The UN is no exception to this general pattern of institutional adaptation. At the present juncture, change and adaptation have become imperative for the UN because of the sweeping dimensions of the recent changes in the world and the rapidity with which they have followed each other.

Recommendations of the Working Group (1994)

1. About the reform in the UN Security Council, it has recommended a small increase in the number of members of Security Council. Many members of this working group have supported an increase of two in the number of permanent members.

2. Regarding the criteria for inclusion, it recommended (i) contributions to UN efforts in preserving world peace and (ii) independent foreign policy.

Recommendations of the Expert Group under Ford Foundation (1994)

3. Increase in the Security Council permanent membership from 5 to 10 and Security Council membership from 15 to 23.

4. Restricting the veto powers of the permanent members to issues concerning peace keeping and peace enforcement operations.

5. Setting up a team to keep track of the developments and warn the UN about exploding situations.

6. Constituting a rapid deployment force to tackle sudden eruption of conflicts.

7. Raising funds through taxes and fees.

8. Constitution of new Economic Council to coordinate the work carried out by UN agencies in monetary and trade policies.

Declaration of the 50thAanniversary of the UN (1995)

9. It reiterates the UN (1995) to save succeeding generations from the

Scourge of war. It promises to give to the twenty first century a United Nations equipped, financed and structured to serve effectively the people in whose name it was established.

10. It recognizes the need to reform the UN to expand the Security Council and to continuously review its working methods to enhance its representative character, efficiency and transparency.

11. On self determination, the declaration clearly warns that this cannot be seen as authorization to actions that would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity of political unity of sovereign and independent states.

12. On terrorism it expresses the resolve to defeat the threats to states and people posed by terrorism in all its forms and manifestations like transactional organised crime, illegal, production and trade in amiss and drug trafficking.

13. On human rights, the declaration resolves to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms which are inherent to all human beings. It recognizes that democracy, human rights and development are interrelated and mutually reinforcing.

14. On non-proliferation and disarmament, it supports efforts on arms control, limitation and no-proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

15. It advocates promoting methods and means for the peaceful settlement of disputes and enhancing the capabilities of the UN in preventive diplomacy, peace-keeping and peace-building.

16. On development, investment and technology transfer, it resolves to promote an open and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system and a framework for investment, transfer of technology and knowledge as well as enhanced co-operation in areas of development.

17. On environment and sustainable development, it recognizes that economic development, social development and environmental protection are inter­dependent and mutually, reinforcing components of sustainable development.

18. Renner’s World watches Report on Peace-keeping the UN and the international community will have to discuss and define a set of criteria which will trigger appropriate peace-keeping action if the UN is to be turned into peace-maker of first recourse, rather than peace-keeper of last resort.

19. Establishment of an early warning office that continuously monitors potential trouble spots around the world.

20. Setting up permanent and conflict resolution committees in each region of the world to defuse tensions before violence erupts.

Deploying Peach-Keepers Pro-actively to Prevent Aggression.

21. Creation of a two-tier UN peace force consisting of a permanent, individually, recruited, non-combat race, as well as a specially trained back-up army made up of troop of contingents available to the Security Council on short notice.

Establishing a regular annual peace-keeping budget with a reserve fund to cover unforeseen expenses.


A stronger research and advisory staff within the secretariat for monitoring political situation all over the world might be needed to keep potential conflict situations under constant review.

1. The Security Council should activate the procedures incorporated in chapter VI, whenever necessary rather than try to intervene after the outbreak of actual war (Iran-Iraq), when it is extremely difficult to stop the fighting. The Secretary General should be accorded a stronger position and better means to exercise authority.

Permanent political offices in key regions, military observer teams, fact finding missions and military collective security forces could constitute a global emergency problem.

2. The UN should maintain and extend the sub-commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities Activities and effort should be made to revive the post of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

3. A global law enforcement role for the UN should be elaborated focusing on the role of sanctions and military enforcement measures. The potential of the Military Staff Committee of the Security Council should be reviewed.

4. The role of UN peace-keeping forces could also be used to ensure that countries are not destabilized across frontiers. Future peacekeeping should normally be authorized and controlled by the Security Council.

5. They should play a neutral political role within the country where they are operating. The possibility of a permanent peace-keeping fund should be explored.

6. Veto decisions of Security Council should be used only on vital issues and procedural matters should be immune from it. The veto should be eliminated with respect to the admission of new members and the peaceful settlement of disputes.

7. The declining role of General Assembly called for a system of weighted voting’s, hut it is difficult; to implement. If no change is made the effort will be to reduce the influence of the Assembly and to enhance the role of the Security Council.

8. To make the International court of justice more effective it is desirable that the members should agree to submit their legal disputes to it.

9. Other changes include the setting up a permanent fund to make its financial position secure and to improve the capacity of the United Nations to coordinate the large number of social and economic activities now being carried out by its organs and specialized agencies.


The United Nations, in order to live up to the challenges of tomorrow, needs certain changes towards anticipation of potential conflicts, promotion of negotiation and the formulation of general norms the international behaviour and the growing needs of regional co-operation.

In fine, the UN should strive to become far more effective than it is today in the words of its charter: a centre for harmonizing the interests of nations.

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