The countries that founded the United Nations in 1945, the UN, drew up guidelines for a powerful world organization that would not only “save future generations from the scourge of war” but also provide a platform for countries’ cooperation on economic and social issues. Many of the great visions proved far more difficult to fulfill than hoped for. For long periods of the UN’s existence, political differences between countries have prevented operations from functioning as intended.
For four decades, the Cold War between East and West paralyzed the UN’s work for peace and security based on the Charter. But at the same time, the cold international climate during the East-West conflict contributed to the international community being forced to create new forms in order to work for peace. This is how, for example, the UN peacekeeping forces emerged.
Another political stumbling block was the conflict between developing and industrialized countries that erupted in the 1960’s and 1970’s, since developing countries became independent and joined the UN. The equitable distribution of the world’s resources and the social development demanded by poor countries has not yet taken place, largely due to a lack of political will on the part of rich countries. At the same time, new emerging economies in Asia and Latin America have contributed to a change in the playing field and the traditional division into North and South, while some African countries also had a strong economic development a few years into the 2000’s.
Since the end of the Cold War, the UN has changed dramatically in line with increased expectations of the organization’s ability to create peace and security in the world. Today, UN peacekeeping operations are larger and more multifaceted than ever before. The organization has learned several lessons from peacekeeping operations during the first half of the 1990’s – not least from the terrible failures in Rwanda and Bosnia – and peace efforts have improved in many ways.
Today’s globalized world presents the UN with new challenges such as climate change, poverty, widening gaps, civil wars, etc. But in several areas, development has stalled and the UN is more or less paralyzed – in the early 2010’s it was especially climate work and the humanitarian catastrophe. in Syria, which the outside world has not yet put an end to.
The demands that the UN should change its work to be more in tune with today’s world recur at regular intervals. The UN Security Council does not reflect the global power relations in the world, many claim. Countries such as Brazil, India, Nigeria and South Africa want a permanent place. The UN’s development work must also be reformed, say researchers and other assessors, and work on a new development plan that will apply after 2015, the so-called post-2015 agenda, has begun. What future aid should look like is a question that concerns many, when several developing countries have taken the step up to become middle-income countries and when the gap between poor and rich within countries has become an increasingly obvious problem instead of the former traditional division into rich and poor countries.
According to aristmarketing, the number of UN members has today increased to 193 states with Montenegro becoming a member in June 2006 and South Sudan in July 2011. Thus, the organization includes all the world’s internationally recognized countries except the Vatican City. Taiwan, which is only recognized by a few states, lacks membership, as does, for example, Kosovo. The Palestinian Authority has had observer status since 2012.
After the United Nations’ predecessor, the League of Nations, with the outbreak of World War II in 1939, finally failed in its task of preserving world peace, this international cooperation organization was disbanded in practice, although it formally lasted until 1945. Suffering and destruction in the wake of the war made clear states that entered into alliances with Nazi Germany that the world needed a new organization that could prevent future wars.
The first attempts to draw up guidelines for today’s UN took place in Washington DC in the United States in 1944, when representatives from the Soviet Union, Britain, the United States and China met on the Dumbarton Oaks estate. The participants agreed on many of the future UN’s tasks, members and rules for co – operation.
The issues that have not yet been resolved were managed by the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the US President Franklin D Roosevelt and the leader of the Soviet Union Josef Stalin during the famous meeting in Yalta in February 1945. An important decision was that five major powers (Soviet Union, Great Britain), The United States, France and China) would have a veto in the Security Council, the body responsible for peace and security.
On April 25, 1945, delegates from 50 countries met in San Francisco, USA, to jointly sign a charter for the organization. The losers of World War II did not participate. On October 24, the charter formally entered into force. This date has since been celebrated as UN Day.