Q. Discuss the role and importance of an international organisation
An international organisation is not a super-state with authority over its members. It is created by and responds to states. It comes into being when states agree to its creation. Once created, it can help member states resolve their problems peacefully. International organisations are required because of the following reasons:
- Nations can usually see that there are some things they must do together.
- Some issues are so challenging that they can only be dealt with when very one works together. Some diseases can only be eradicated if everyone in the world cooperates
Thus An international organisation can help produce information and ideas about how to assist. It can provide mechanisms, rules and bureaucracy, to help members have more confidence.
Q. Discuss the evolution of the United Nations.
The First World War encouraged the world to invest in an international organisation to deal with conflict. As a result, the League of Nations was born. However, despite its initial success, it could not prevent the Second World War (1939-45). The UN was founded as a successor to the League of Nations. It was established in 1945 immediately after the Second World War. The organisation was set up through the signing of the United Nations Charter by 51 states.
The UN’s objective is to prevent international conflict and to facilitate cooperation among
states. It was founded with the hope that it would act to stop the conflicts between states escalating into war and, if war broke out, to limit the extent of hostilities. The UN was intended to bring countries together to improve the prospects of social and economic development all over the world.
Q. Name the present Secretary-General of the UN
Ban Ki-moon from South Korea is the eighth Secretary-General of the UN. He took over as the Secretary-General on 1 January 2007. He is the first Asian to hold the post since 1971.
Q. State the two kinds of reforms which the UN is facing.
Two basic kinds of reforms that the UN is facing are:
- Reform of the organisation’s structures and processes:
The biggest discussion has been on the functioning of the Security Council. This has been the demand for an increase in the UN Security Council’s permanent and non-permanent membership so that the realities of contemporary world politics are better reflected in the structure of the organisation.
- A review of the issues that fall within the jurisdiction of the organisation:
Some countries and experts want the organisation to play a greater or more effective role in peace and security missions, while others want its role to be confined to development and humanitarian work (health, education, environment, population control, human rights, gender and social justice)
Q. What changes have occurred in the functioning of the UN after the Cold War
After the Cold War, some of the changes that have occurred in the international situation are:
- The Soviet Union has collapsed.
- The US is the strongest power.
- The relationship between Russia, the successor to the Soviet Union, and the US is much more cooperative.
- China is fast emerging as a great power, and India also is growing rapidly.
- The economies of Asia are growing at an unprecedented rate.
- Many new countries have joined the UN (as they became independent from the Soviet Union or former communist states in eastern Europe).
- A whole new set of challenges confronts the world (genocide, civil war, ethnic conflict terrorism, nuclear proliferation, climate change, environmental degradation, epidemics)
Q. Which complaints were reflected in the resolution adopted by the UN
In 1992, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution. The resolution reflected three main complaints:
- The Security Council no longer represents contemporary political realities.
- Its decisions reflect only Western values and interests and are dominated by a few powers.
- It lacks equitable representation.
Q. State the proposed criteria for new permanent and non – permanent members of the UN Security Council?
After the 1992 resolution over the reform in the UN, the following criteria have been proposed for new permanent and non- permanent members of the Security Council. A new member should be:
- A major economic power
- A major military power
- A substantial contributor to the UN budget
- A big nation in terms of its population
- A nation that respects democracy and human rights
- A country that would make the Council more representative of the world’s diversity in terms of geography, economic systems, and culture
Q. Discuss the composition of the UN Security Council? State the main privileges enjoyed by the permanent members of the UNSC.
In the Security Council, there are five permanent members and ten non-permanent members. The main privileges of the five permanent members are permanency and the veto power. The non-permanent members serve for only two years at a time and give way after that period to newly elected members. A country cannot be re-elected immediately after completing a term of two years. The non-permanent members are elected in a manner so that they represent all continents of the world.
Q. What steps should be taken to make the UN more relevant in the changing context.
Q. What changes have been recommended to make the jurisdiction of the UN even more effective.
As the UN completed 60 years of its existence, the heads of all the member-states met in September 2005 to celebrate the anniversary and review the situation. The leaders in this meeting decided that the following steps should be taken to make the UN more relevant in the changing context
- Creation of a Peacebuilding Commission
- Acceptance of the responsibility of the international community in case of failures of national governments to protect their own citizens from atrocities
- Establishment of a Human Rights Council (operational since 19 June 2006)
- Agreements to achieve the Millennium Development Goals
- Condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations
- Creation of a Democracy Fund
- An agreement to wind up the Trusteeship Council
Q. As a citizen of India, how would you support India’s candidature for the permanent membership of the Security Council? Justify your proposal.
India itself also wishes to be a permanent member in a restructured UN
- India is the second-most populous country in the world, comprising almost one-fifth of the world population.
- India is also the world’s largest democracy
- India has participated in virtually all of the initiatives of the UN.
- Its role in the UN’s peacekeeping efforts is a long and substantial one.
- The country’s economic emergence on the world stage
- India has also made a regular financial contribution to the UN budget and has never faltered on its payments.
- Permanent membership of the security council signifies the country’s growing importance in world affairs.
Q. Why do some countries question India’s inclusion as the permanent member in the Security Council?
Despite India’s wish to be a permanent veto-wielding member of the UN, some countries question its inclusion.
- Neighboring Pakistan is reluctant to see India become a permanent veto member of the Security Council.
- Some countries, for instance, are concerned about India’s nuclear weapons capabilities.
- Others think that its difficulties with Pakistan will make India ineffective as a permanent member.
- Others feel that if India is included, then other emerging powers will have to be accommodated such as Brazil, Germany, Japan, perhaps even South Africa,
Given these concerns, it may not be very easy for India or anyone else to become a permanent member of the UN in the near future.
Q. Can the UN serve as a balance against US dominance?
In a unipolar world, the UN cannot serve as a balance against US dominance in a very effective manner because the powers of the US cannot be easily checked.
- With the disappearance of the Soviet Union, the US stands as the only superpower.
Its military and economic power allow it to ignore the UN or any other international organisation.
- Within the UN, the influence of the US is considerable. As the single largest contributor to the UN, the US has unmatched financial power. The fact that the UN is physically located within the US territory gives Washington additional sources of influence. The US also has many nationals in the UN bureaucracy.
- With its veto power, the US can stop any moves that it finds annoying or damaging to its interests or the interests of its friends and allies
- The power of the US and its veto within the organisation also ensure that Washington has a considerable degree of say in the choice of the Secretary-General of the UN.
The UN is not, therefore, a great balance to the US. Nevertheless, in a unipolar world in which the US is dominant, the UN can and has served to bring the US and the rest of the world into a discussion over various issues. for the rest of the world, the UN provides an arena in which it is possible to modify US attitudes and policies. The UN is an imperfect body, but without it, the world would be worse off
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