I have no intention in this post of out line the in and out of the United Nations. (This can be found in the many articles written and available on the Internet)
Also I have to the best of my memory address the subject twice before (Another look at the united Nations post dated 10/05/2014) so in the hope of avoiding repetitiveness in this post I will endeavor to concentrate on obscure facts and reforms that could be implemented to-morrow.
However this is probable the most difficult World Organisation to exam never mind suggesting reforms. As we all know with such a large Organisation it is impossible to effect reform from the bottom up. Any reforms have to come from the top down.
Its Members include virtually all countries in the World and in the 7 continents with one non-member observer state, the Holy See in Vatican City. Its an organization of the largest in the world.
Before we go any further it received the Nobel Peace Prize on 5 separate occasions. The first in 1954 awarded to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Geneva, for its assistance to refugees, and finally in 1988 to the United Nations Peace-keeping Forces, for its peace-keeping operations.
United Nations, started off as the League of Nations and is now called the United Nations. It was founded in 1919 shortly after the first world war in order to prevent any more wars. Almost all countries of the 51 countries that founded the United Nations are the winner of the Second World War.
We start with a few facts that you might not know.
The name “United Nations” was suggested by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The United Nations Headquarters is an international zone. This means that the land on which the UN sits does not belong to just the United States. It has its own flag and its own security officers who guard the area. The land of the United Nations Headquarters in New York City was purchased from real estate mogul William Zeckendorf with money donated by John D. Rockefeller. It doesn’t even meet all of New York City’s fire safety and building codes.
It also has its own post office and issues its own stamps.
The logo of the United Nations was designed by Donal McLaughlin, who worked for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the precursor of the CIA.
Agencies and organizations of the United Nations all have their own flags:
The UN Secretariat employed some 15,000 people worldwide (in comparison, the Pentagon employed 23,000 people in Washington D.C. alone!)
There are 6 official languages in the United Nations: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.
The newest member of the United Nations is South Sudan, bringing the number of member countries to 193.
The current Secretary-General is Ban Ki-Moon from South Korea.
The UN must pay its staff equally for work of equal value, despite differences in levels of pay in various countries from where they are drawn. This translates to a base salary of $113,000 for the Under Secretary-General, to the bottom salary of $32,000.
The UN budget comes from the member states, determined by their ability to pay (for example, France and the UK were assessed 6% of the budget, where as Liberia was assessed 0.001%, the minimum rate). The United States shoulder the lion’s share: it pays 22% (and 27% of the peacekeeping budget, which is assessed separately). In 2006, this turns out to be $423 million or $1.42 per American citizen.
The approved budget for UN Peacekeeping operations for the fiscal year 1 July 2014-30 June 2015 is about $7.06 billion. By way of comparison, this is less than half of one per cent of world military expenditures (estimated at $1,747 billion in 2013).
The top 10 providers of assessed contributions to United Nations Peacekeeping operations in 2013-2015
- United States (28.38%)
- Japan (10.83%)
- France (7.22%)
- Germany (7.14%)
- United Kingdom (6.68%)
- China (6.64%)
- Italy (4.45%)
- Russian Federation (3.15%)
- Canada (2.98%)
- Spain (2.97%
Although the payment of peacekeeping assessments is mandatory, as of 31 August 2014, Member States owed approximately $4.29 billion in current and back peacekeeping dues. Congress approved payment of only $819 million of the over $1 billion the United States owes the organization in unpaid dues. Moreover, the legislation set forth some 38 conditions to be met before the United States will pay its arrears.
Despite being assessed the most, the United States is constantly late in payment. By 2005, the US owed more than $960 million in arrears. Thankfully, it’s not alone: only 40 out the 192 members paid on time – in fact, late payment is considered standard practice by many nations!
Being a diplomat to the United Nations, on the other hand, has its benefits: because of their diplomatic immunity, many of them refuse to pay parking tickets. Indeed, 6 countries have an average of over 100 parking tickets per diplomat!
The U.N. Charter makes clear that the General Assembly can only offer “recommendations” to the world community. The decisions of the General Assembly were not – and are not – binding on members as a matter of international law.
Moreover, while decisions of the Security Council, which has primary responsibility for the U.N.’s activities with respect to maintaining peace and security, were intended to be binding on all member states, they are not so in fact.
Decisions on major issues such as peace or security issues, new Member admissions or budget issues require a two-thirds majority. Other decisions require only a majority vote.
A new president, 21 vice-presidents, and the chairmen of the six Main Committees of the General Assembly are elected at the start of each regular session.
An emergency special session may be called within 24 hours if any of the nine members of the Security Council request it or if a majority of the Member States request it, or if one Member State requests it and the majority concur.
So the question of how it was to enforce its authority.
In truth, the United Nations was never intended to be representative of people’s but of sovereign states.
The governments of these states may or may not be the products of free elections. This does not mean the United Nations is antidemocratic, only that its non-binding resolutions represent the opinion of people as expressed through their governments.
Through debate in the Security Council and votes in the General Assembly, member states can express the moral outrage of their citizens over all sorts of earthly misbehavior. But, in the end, it is the five permanent members that decide issues of peace and war – and, I might add, determine who is secretary-general and what amendments are made to the U.N. Charter. None of the other 180 member nations – either individually or as members of the General Assembly – possess those prerogatives.
The veto is surely not democratic, it keeps the big players in the game, and there is no game without them. The reluctant acquiescence by the lesser powers to the veto at San Francisco was an acknowledgment of this reality.
The UN is biased, because Israel has violated 69 Rules of the UN, but the UN allowed Israel granted. But if an Islamic state violated one rule alone it will get heavy sanctions. The UN was not going to defend the Islamic State. It supports only the United States and its allies.
The UN does not deserve to be called as the Organization of Peace. Because it can not resolve the conflict and war, such as the Israeli raid into Gaza, Invasion USA to Iraq and Afghanistan, and other conflicts. It is stagnant when it comes to ISIS.
All permanent members of the State Security Council (Russia, China, USA, Britain, and France) have a nuclear bomb.
Every year, the Secretary General of the UN draws the lucky country who will sit in the front left seat for one year. Other countries will be seated alphabetically. This year, Jamaica has the front seat, followed by Jordan, Korea, etc and Italy is up in the back right-hand corner.
If resolutions are not followed, the first course of action is always a dialogue. Conversation and discussion is followed by fact-finding missions, eventually sanctions, and military action as a last resort. The practice of power politics still overwhelms the United Nations.
The UN has the image of a world organization based on universal principles of justice and equality. In reality, when the chips are down, it is nothing other than the executive committee of the Third World dictatorships.
There are currently 16 peacekeeping operations,
- Uniformed personnel…96,535 *
(83,327 troops, 11,420 police and 1,788 military observers)
- Approved budgets for the period About 7.06 billion
from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015
- Outstanding contributions to peacekeeping (as of 31 July 2014)
About 4.78 billion.
The 192 Members of the United Nations pay for everything that the Organization does. It has no other source of income. Police and other civilian personnel are paid from the peacekeeping budgets established for each operation.
The UN also reimburses Member States for providing equipment, personnel and support services to military or police contingents.
Peacekeeping soldiers are paid by their own Governments according to their own national rank and salary scale. Countries volunteering uniformed personnel to peacekeeping operations are reimbursed by the UN at a standard rate, approved by the General Assembly, of a little over US$1,028 per soldier per month.
A member of the public might desire to learn, for example, where the UN gets its money. How much is each member nation contributing to the UN’s regular budget? To the capital budget? To peacekeeping operations? For a brief period, the UN posted such details monthly. But then at the end of 2010, the UN stopped disclosing its personal financial records. All you can get now is a PowerPoint file. For a somewhat unfair comparison, imagine if President Obama submitted his budget to Congress via PowerPoint.
Another illusion on the part of many people is that the United Nations was organized on the basis of democratic principles. First of all the United nations has sought to bring Democracy to every corner of the world-to free the citizens of this planet from tyrannical governments and dictatorships.
As I have said it is an organization of sovereign nations not a world government. As such its peacekeeping forces are require to act passively and may not instigate an attack, unless in self-defense.
At this point it is not fully universal and still reflects some great power interests because of economic situations. This can be clearly seen in the environmental issues.
In this day and age, society operates in constant threat of terrorism, war, and nuclear fallout; the rapid growth of international militaristic power contributes to the ever-present fear in the back of all of our minds. None of us can go through the day without hearing a newscaster or radio personality talking about the growing threat that Iran or Afghanistan or North Korea, Isis poses to the global community.
The problem is that the UN does not have enough power internationally to fully contain any of these issue. The question is whether the United Nations is important to the world, or if it should be thrown out. There is no transparency, there is lack of accountability.
Current UN Peacekeeping Operations
|Western Sahara (MINURSO)||April 1991|
of the Congo (MONUSCO)
|Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI)||April 2004|
|Liberia (UNMIL)||Sept. 2003|
|Sudan (UNMIS)||March 2005|
|Darfur (UNAMID)||July 2007|
|Haiti (MINUSTAH)||June 2004|
|ASIA and the Pacific|
|India/Pakistan (UNMOGIP)||Jan. 1949|
|Timor-Leste (UNMIT)||Aug. 2006|
|Cyprus (UNFICYP)||March 1964|
|Kosovo (UNMIK)||June 1999|
|Middle East (UNTSO))||May 1948|
|Syria (UNDOF)||June 1974|
|Lebanon (UNIFIL)||March 1978|
Total: Troops 83.327, Military Observers 1788, Police 11420,
Total Personnel 115610, Budget $ 7.06 billion.
The world is changing, and with it the demands on the United Nations. The UN provides a unique platform for international action. It offers unparalleled legitimacy for global engagement, owing to its universal membership; its inclusive decision-making processes; its unequaled reach; and its ability to provide critical services that are essential to international peace, security, stability and prosperity.
It turns 69 this year and, like many individuals it is facing middle age. Reforms and changes in the United Nations have always been fraught with obstacles that must be overcome and they are many in the pipe line.
40 percent of the world’s population still relies on solid fuels for household use.
There are currently 190 million people unemployed and more than 500 million will be looking for jobs over the next 10 years.
Today 1.7 billion people have gained access to safe drinking water since 1990, but 884 million people are still without clean drinking water.
All countries are vulnerable to natural hazards, but most of the 3.3 million deaths from disasters in the last 40 years have been in poorer nations.
Of the 33 cities that will have at least 8 million residents by 2015. Twenty one of these cities are in coastal areas. Coastal flooding is expected to increase rapidly due to sea level rise and weakening of coastal ecosystems such as coral reefs impacted by sea temperature rise.
Over 60 per cent of the world’s major marine ecosystems that underpin livelihoods have been degraded or are being used unsustainably.
It is estimated that by 2050, adverse effects associated with global climate change will result in the displacement of between 50 and 200 million people globally.
Aid agencies like the United Nations in the 21st century cannot continue to act like old-fashioned travel agents–repositories of expertise and information about options, to whom the money was given and decisions delegated. If aid agencies want to retain public trust, mandate and funding, they will have to become a platform on which citizens can see meaningful, comparable and reliable information and then exercise choices themselves.
Unless aid agencies respond to these changing expectations, support for their work is likely to continue to decline, perhaps disastrously.
By dispelling the persistent myths about the founding and history of the United Nations, we should gain a clearer vision of the world organization around which the demands for reform, are long over due.
What we can see is in the United Nations is an organization that was born of and remains subject to politics. It is, moreover, an organization chronically torn by divisions between North and South as well as between dictatorships and democracies, in which the United States and, by extension, its two preeminent political parties, remains the major player.
As a body its authority, is moral, political, and economic rather than coercive.
It should be a body that adjust to changing conditions and be capable of acting swiftly and decisively – albeit sometimes indirectly.
It shows surprising durability but if it is to remain relevant it must be funded and not be seen as it is to-day pathetically appealing for help after the event.
If it does not reform it will be of little assistance when it comes to future events that are going to threaten our very existence.
There are 19 Specialized agencies (autonomous organizations) working with the United Nations. NGOs and foundations have been partners of the United Nations since 1947. In accordance with Article 71 of the UN Charter, NGOs can have consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Is vast.
This is why we must tap into Greed ( See previous Posts) It will finance the United Nations without the need to beg.