United Nations officially came into being on 24th October 1945, with the aim of saving the future generations from the scourge of war, to secure fundamental human rights, to ensure justice to the mankind and endure social progress. These principles form the gist of the UN Charter. With almost 191 member countries now, it is the largest International organization of its kind. We really do not have to sift too deep to find that this giant of an organization has failed to implement its vision effectively. If few urgent challenges are not overcome immediately, United Nations would soon lose its viability.
The first key reform is needed to convert United Nations into an efficient agency for averting armed strikes. As for preventing war, there have been nearly 300 wars since 1945 and over 22 million deaths resulting from these wars (Mark Falcoff et al, 2004). 1 The U. N. has authorized military action to counter aggression just twice: North Korea's invasion of South Korea and Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. The five permanent members of the Security Council have time and again used their veto to substantiate their might.
Soviet Union vetoed any move to prevent its invasion of Afghanistan from being stalled through the UN Security Council. USA did not pay any attention to Kofi Annan, the General Secretary of UN, or any of the four other permanent members, before it struck on fledgling Middle East. Superpowers easily override and shove aside the UN. The most practical way of overcoming this hurdle is to have rotating members in the Security Council. The permanence of the five countries has enslaved this organization to the whims and fancies of these countries.
Cyclical systems of replacing at least two member countries every two years from the five can even the balances. Expansion of this council has also been discussed for more than a decade now, but world leaders have failed to reach any consensus. The second aspect that requires immediate attention is the number of cash-draining scandals. The UN requires a more transparent system in its financial funding and aid distribution. The budget allocation, contribution from member countries and spending on programs, must be made public and subject to audits.
Developing countries often form informal alliances during voting and manage to walk away with major gains. While some of the big contributors like Japan, USA, Western Europe are facing economic slowdown as they are unable to leverage international trade decisions in their favor. So one country, one vote criteria has clearly backfired in this context and needs overhauling. Another main area that needs vital reforms is the Human Rights Commission with Cuba, China and Sudan, being also the members.
Realistically, UN should send monitoring teams to such countries to periodically report on human rights related issues or progress. Apart from these critical issues, UN will have to focus on consistent reforms in order to preserve its relevance. Concept of European Union European Union (EU) has evolved over a long period, into a large confederation of 25 independent states focusing on defense, trade, duties and agriculture. Without doubt, the EU suffers with many issues that stem all-inclusive growth of its member nations.
Managing cultural diversity as vast as its member states’ has created numerous problems that come with International management, for EU. The twenty official languages of this organization needs 4000 interpreters hired at the cost of one Billion Euros annually (BBC News, 23 Aug 2006). Since its inception, expansion has been always a stifling subject with the existing members at any point in time. Resistance from existing members has almost always resisted the inclusion of new states. At present, Turkey struggles to be included in EU, as it is an Islamic state.
The security concerns are central to any International organization. On the front of economic policies, EU has members pay heavy subsidies to its farmers, enabling them to sell their produce at a low price. This policy has effectively caused the developing countries to impose heavy duties on imported agricultural items from the developed countries. This has simply sidelined the farmers of EU countries from exporting their produce. The third world countries accuse EU of misusing its resources to protect the farmers, a classical case of economic conflict between rich and poor in today’s international society.