Slides in this set

Slide 1

Preview of page 1

UN Aims
· Purpose of the UN is laid down in the Un charter, Who is not in the UN?
·To bring peace and security by providing a forum ·Palestinian authority has
through which states can settle conflicts. What do member states gain from the UN?
an `observer status' as
°Methods: mediation, peacekeepers, peace ·They want or gain peace.
does the Vatican
enforcers, trade sanctions and opportunity for ·A place for states to put a message across
·Taiwan is not in the UN as
neutral ground. and other countries must listen.
it's independence is not
°Last resort: collective security ­ all countries ·Leverage: countries of similar sizes join
recognised by China
join together in the case of war. against other bigger countries for influence ­
·To help build a more peaceful world by promoting i.e. Alliance of Small Island States (48)
economic and social progress.
General Assembly Secretariat
·The (Parliament) of the UN although not actually a Aims and ·Civil service body of UN
Parliament, just a set of delegates ·Led by Secretary General (most high profile figure)
·All members are represented; plenary sessions - every
Structure ·Secretary General is limited by state sovereignty, he
states makes a speech of the UN can make proposals but requires state agreement
·Special sessions for special problems e.g. SARS ·Secretary General is supposedly chosen by the
·Makes recommendations to governments and pass General Assembly but in reality is chosen by permanent
resolutions members of UNSC
·In charge of UN budget, other bodies report back to it ·Must be neutral and not a citizen of 1 of the 5 great
·General Assembly resolutions are not binding BUT when powers
there is a global decision against an individual, it can be ·Position of Secretary General can be renewed but
embarrassing and therefore influential. requires the support of the Americans
·Kofi Annan had his position renewed
·Butros Butros Gali did not as he fell out with the
UN Security Council
·Meets irregularly; on request of a member from the UN e.g. with the Beslan siege
·Is responsible for international peace and security - sends peacekeeping forces enforces
·Resolutions are binding on member states
·Made up of 15 countries ­ 5 permanent and 10 chosen by General Assembly every 2 years
·Regional basis ­ Africa: 3, Western Europe: 2, Asia: 2, Latin America: 2, Eastern Europe: 1
·Permanent ­ UK, USA, Russia, China, France
·For a resolution to be passed, 9 out of 15 members must be in favour but all 5 permanent
members must either be in favour or abstain
·Existence of permanent members is recognition of the reality of where dominant power lies
in the world today
·Having all 5 permanent members agree gives the UN a lot of power
·Council resolutions are often evaded in practice but do have status and influence can lay
down the basis for future settlements e.g. Resolution 242 1967…read more

Slide 2

Preview of page 2

Programmes run by the UN directly:
·UN Environmental Program (UNEP) The World Health Organisation
·UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) ·Plays many important roles ­ for instance, its network of
·Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) scientists act as a defence against SARS, Bird Flu etc.
·UN Development Program (UNDP) ·It can be drawn into political disputes between states ­ e.
·UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCT AD) g. Arab countries refuse to allow Israel to participate in
WHO regional activities in the Middle East.
·Can be held back by a lack of resources and its reliance
on governments to support its campaigns. Its AIDS
campaign depends on national governments to spread
information about AIDS and implement policies to limit its
spread, but some are frightened to give full statistics and
UNESCO some have religious/cultural objections to promoting sex
·Became a North-South battlefield education.
in the `80s - was criticised for being ·The richer countries that give the South assistance for
inefficient and wasteful, with the fight against AIDS prefer to give it directly to
excessive spending on its HQ. governments they approve of, rather than giving it to the
·It was too political, promoting WHO to spend where it is most needed.
disarmament and anti-Israeli
attitudes in its educational work. Main UN
·Low point:: It adopted the G77 Organisations
Countries' proposal for a "New
World Information and
Communication order" meant to Autonomous Agencies: (linked to UN but have
correct reporting of the South in the freedom of action)
Western-dominated global media - ·Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
US claimed this was censorship of ·UN Industrial Development Organisation
the media (which the US (UNIDO)
dominates). ·International Labour Organisation (ILO)
·1984 - US withdrew (followed by ·World Health Organisation (WHO)
Britain), taking 25% of UNESCO's ·United Nations Educational, Scientific and
funding. On the face of it the G77 Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)
had won, but UNESCO was ·These organisations have considerable
starved of funds. achievements but also face funding shortages and
·Recognising the need for US co- some have been criticised for being inefficient
operation, the G77 dropped and/or have become political battlegrounds
NWICO in 1990, and UNESCO ·There are a large number of bodies
changed radically under a new co-ordinated by the UN or affiliated to
Director General: two-thirds of staff it. These fall into two categories:
cut, budgets frozen. programmes run by the UN directly,
·It now champions press freedom, and autonomous agencies.
criticising member states who
arrest journalists.…read more

Slide 3

Preview of page 3

Waste and Corruption Why there is pressure for reform:
·The UN has been accused of being wasteful, inefficient, and of spending too
·Many observers see the UN as in crisis and
much on HQ activities.
·Staff are appointed under a national quota system - top posts often go to the badly needing reform.
nominees of more powerful states. ·The reasons are longstanding, but have
·Some see a UN job as a chance to enrich themselves ­ in 2000 there were over become more urgent in recent years.
300 investigations into fraud. · The UN needs to become more genuinely
·Steps have been taken to streamline organisation, with cuts in staffing - the dept. representative, to face up to some of the major
of Humanitarian Affairs has been overhauled, relief operations are now better run; global issues that it has been unable to
$100 million alone was saved by measures like putting documents on the internet.
respond to effectively in recent years, and to
·There is resistance from those with interests within the bureaucracy and many
Southern countries are think reform is an attempt to strengthen US influence. stamp out corruption and inefficiency in the UN
·Concerns about mismanagement have made worse by the scandal over the Oil organisation itself.
for Food programme in Iraq. ·Without major reforms to update a Charter
·One of the UN's problems is that it is under funded - the 2006/7 budget and organisation that that reflects the world of
is only $3.79bn. 1945, to make them relevant for the 21st
·Many members are in arrears, and the periodic withholding of century, the UN risks its credibility.
funds by the US has made the situation worse.
US Reaction to Reform
·The USA is important because it provides most of the UN's funds.
·Many right wing US politicians are hostile to the organisation - it is seen as Unrepresentative Nature of the UN
corrupt, wasteful, anti-US and Israel and a restraint on US power. ·Another area of concern is the
·In the 1980s and 1990s, Congress withheld UN funding. Although the US has unrepresentative nature of the membership
paid off some of its debts from this time, it didn't pay the full amount. It imposed of the UNSC, which reduces its legitimacy
stringent conditions on the UN - e.g. a US seat on the UN Budget Committee.
·The council's structure reflects the world of
·This left the UN struggling to make ends meet; attempts to retaliate (the
removal of the US from the UN High Commission for Human Rights in 2001) 1945, not the world of today.
play into the hands of right-wingers in Congress. ·Currently there are five permanent
·The Bush Administration contains many critics of the UN; their opinion was not members (the P5) with the power of veto ­
improved by the reaction to the Iraq War. There was fury over the declaration the power to block anything. The
that the war was illegal, and afterwards Bush appointed a critic of the UN, John concentration of power in such few hands is
Bolton as US ambassador. one thing which annoys other member
·Bolton tried to forward reform - however, many UN members regard the US
states and partly explains the demand for
reform agenda as being designed to browbeat the organisation and subordinate
it to US control change.
·US attitudes to the UN were also not helped by the anti American rhetoric of ·Japan and Germany are great powers that
Chavez and Ahmadinejad in the General Assembly in 2006. contribute substantial UN dues, but have no
permanent seat on the UNSC.…read more

Slide 4

Preview of page 4

Initial Assumptions The Impact of the Cold War
·`Peacekeeping' isn't in the UN Charter. The ·Cold War ruined these plans:
original assumptions in 1945 were: ·Polarisation of leading members led to desire
·Role would be to resolve conflict between states, to protect client states and overall meant there
not internal conflict and not against the will of the could be no UN army
government in question ·It was not possible to identify aggressors and
·UN would aim to settle conflict by mediation take enforcement action when war broke out
(chapter 6) or would identify an aggressor and use ·Only exception = Korean War 1950, US-led
sanctions, including military force, to restore peace UN force was authorised to defend South
(chapter 7) Korea from attack by North Korea.
·Member states would have military forces on
standby for UN use, in other words, there would
be a UN army directed by UN Military Staff
Response to the Impact of the Cold
·`Peacekeeping' was a response to the
impact of the Cold War: It aimed to
create neutral ground or options to
monitor a peace situation
·Traditional peacekeeping operations
involved monitoring peace settlements
Peacekeeping after the Cold War between states, and although they didn'
End of Cold War removed deadlock in the Security Council t guarantee permanent peace, they
and solutions to a number of conflicts became possible succeeded in halting or suspending a
UN became a useful facilitator of a series of peace number of conflicts, including in Cyprus,
agreements, monitoring both ceasefires and elections in Kashmir and several Arab-Israeli wars
Nicaragua, El Salvador and Namibia (UN observers remain in all three
The UN also monitored the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988 regions today).
and withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan in 1989…read more

Slide 5

Preview of page 5

By November 1990 there no sign of Iraq
·Saddam Hussein invaded and annexed Kuwait in
budging , so the UNSC passed a resolution
August 1990. This differed from previous attacks
authorising use of force under chapter 7 of
including attack on Iran
the UN charter.
·The UNSC responded fast:
·Passed to USA who led a multinational
·Defined seizure of Kuwait as act of aggression and
coalition and who had built an army in Saudi
condemned Iraq
Arabia (contingents from Western Europe
·Passed resolution applying mandatory economic
and Arab states) since August 1990
·Required Iraq to withdraw and hold negotiations over
differences with Kuwait
The Gulf
·The overall response encouraged hope for a more peaceful
and orderly world, where the combined efforts of UN and
international community would prevent aggression
·Collective security had proved to work in Kuwait -
aggressor was punished and victim restored.
·It was made apparent that circumstance that enabled ·February 1991 ­ Iraq was driven out of Kuwait
effective UN action would unlikely happen again: ·UNSC imposed harsh terms on Iraq in ceasefire
·Oil - the conflict showed the Iraqis threatening the world's resolution ­ destruction of nuclear programme, chemical
vital interest and biological weapons and reparations to Kuwait
·Foreign investment ·Army led by USA did not attempt to overthrow
·Iraq threatened Israel, whose main allies are western, Israel Saddam. Saddam survived and repressed any
has no Arab allies and was centred right in the conflict zone opposition brutally. This led to further UN intervention
·Threat on sovereignty ·UN passed Resolution 688 which allowed interference
·Land/terrain suited the USA ­ flat desert in the internal affairs of Iraq and arguably was a breach
·This therefore proves that the Gulf War itself did not of UN Charter
demonstrate `New World Order' ·Authority was used by USA and allies to establish `no-
fly' zones to protect Kurds (North Iraq) and Shia
Muslims (South Iraq)…read more

Slide 6

Preview of page 6

The Immediate Aftermath Examples of success:
·There was a new feeling of optimism - UNSC ·Cambodia 1993 - 21,000
started to go beyond traditional peacekeeping peacekeepers and administrators ran
and took on humanitarian interventions in a much of the government and managed
number of conflicts within states following the to hold elections
end of the Cold War ·Mozambique 1992 ­ 7000
·The number of operations and of US troops peacekeepers monitored a ceasefire in
rose steeply (5000 peacekeepers in 1990, 1992
80,000 in 1994)
The UN After
the Gulf War
·The UN did have some relative success but also
started to see some dismal failures as it was clear
that the will to act demonstrated by key leading
powers in the Gulf War would not be the same in
other conflicts. The USA was not the only reluctant
power in reference to further peacekeeping
operations but was the most important by far
·Small force of 1000 peacekeepers were sent to
implement a peace agreement between 2 heavily
armed groups (factions) in the country and monitor The causes of UN failures during this
elections period were:
·UNITA (group that lost election) resumed fighting ·An unrealistic mandate
which made UN unsuccessful attempts to stop ·Inadequate troop levels
before withdrawing in 1999 ·Warring parties who had no want for
peace…read more

Slide 7

Preview of page 7
Preview of page 7

Slide 8

Preview of page 8
Preview of page 8

Slide 9

Preview of page 9
Preview of page 9

Slide 10

Preview of page 10
Preview of page 10


Old Sir


This is a useful overview of issues affecting any discussion of UN effectiveness. It offers a number of examples and case studies which would help develop informed discussion, (AO2 - evaluation and analysis). However, students might also want to research the varying degrees of enthusiasm and support for UN activities on the parts of different governments and leaders and how they have impacted upon its activities.

Similar Government & Politics resources:

See all Government & Politics resources »