The United Nations is the most recognized representative inter-governmental organization of the world today and thus its role in dealing with world affairs is deemed irreplaceable in comparison to any other regional or international organization. It has made immense positive contributions in the overall maintenance of peace and security, international development and also in the promotion of co-operation among states. This thus puts it in the forefront in meeting the challenges that arise in global and regional issues.
The role of the United Nations, although mostly associated with the issues of peace and security, the vast majority of the Organization’s resources are in fact devoted to advancing the Charter’s pledge to “promote higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and. development”. The organization does this in the ways listed below: 1. Setting the agenda The UN has played a crucial role in building international consensus on action for development.
Beginning in 1960, the General Assembly has helped set priorities and goals through a series of 10-year International Development Strategies. While focusing on issues of particular concern, the Decades have consistently stressed the need for progress on all aspects of social and economic development. The UN continues formulating new development objectives in such key areas as sustainable development, the advancement of women, human rights, environmental protection and good governance – along with programmes to make them a reality.
An example of this is the Millennium Development Goals that world leaders developed at the Millennium Summit in 2000 aimed at eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality and empowering women; reducing child mortality; improving maternal health; combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; and ensuring environmental sustainability 2. Assistance for development. The UN system works in a variety of ways to promote economic and social goals. The mandates of the specialized agencies cover virtually all areas of economic and social endeavour.
The agencies provide technical assistance and other forms of practical help to countries around the world. In cooperation with the UN, they help formulate policies, set standards and guidelines, foster support and mobilize funds. An example of these agencies is the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN’s largest provider of grants for sustainable human development worldwide, is actively involved in attaining the Millennium Development Goals. Also, The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is the lead UN organization working for the long-term survival, protection and development of children.
Active in nearly 160 countries and territories, its programmes focus on immunization, primary health care, nutrition and basic education. 3. Pooling resources The UN system is increasingly pooling its efforts to tackle complex problems that cut across organizational areas of expertise and defy the efforts of any country acting alone. An example of this can be seen in The Joint UN Programme on AIDS which pools the expertise of eight UN agencies and programmes to combat an epidemic that currently affects some 33 million people worldwide.