Chanakya IAS Academy Blog


The article discuss about the increasing importance of an impartial and vibrant U.N. in order to achieve international peace.

  • The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will conduct the first straw poll to elect the ninth secretary general of the UN today.
  • The UN, established in 1945 to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, is, on the occasion of its 70th anniversary, facing a severe crisis.
  • Threats to international peace and security are more serious today than at any time since its inception.
  • The “use of force”, with or without the UNSC’s authorisation, and the arming of rebels has resulted in much turmoil.
  • Iraq 2003, Libya 2011, the ongoing crisis in Syria, and Ukraine 2014 constitute, at the very least, a severe indictment of the UN and, at its very core, the functioning of the security council.
  • One could argue that this is a mess entirely of our own making. It is after all the member states, whose policies are ultimately responsible for the rise of the ISIS and the ever-increasing terrorist threats.
  • Kofi Annan in 2003 and the recent Chilcot report characterised the military actions in Iraq as lacking legal sanction, and correctly so. The situation has, if anything, gone from bad to worse.
  • A security council hamstrung by the exercise of vetoes even in situations of mass atrocities, member states accused of war crimes buying their way out after being publicly incriminated, and an overall atmosphere of impunity, poses an existential threat to the UN.
  • Unless rectified, the UN runs the risk, not of disappearing (being a multilateral institutions) but suffering a thousand cuts and ultimately becoming the world’s largest non-governmental organisation.
  • At stake is the unique and unparalleled convening power of the UN, which carries both moral and legal weight.
  • World without U.N.:
    • Without the UN, another world body would need to be recreated. The UN has done stellar work in the normative field, especially on human rights, gender equality and sustainable development.
    • The International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court are the obvious institutional examples in matters pertaining to the rule of law.
    • Without the UN, the international order will be vulnerable to domination and manipulation by a few.
  • Secretary General:
    • According to the principle and system of geographic rotation in the UN, the ninth secretary-general should preferably be from Eastern Europe. Eight of the twelve candidates are East European.
    • Since the permanent members of the council wield a veto, the candidate finally selected must be acceptable to the US and Russia, two countries that have not hesitated to use the veto in the past.
    • This alone increases the chances of the SG being more secretary and less general.

The UN has done stellar work in the normative field, especially on human rights, gender equality and sustainable development. But somehow it is lacking in complete achievement of its objective of international peace and security. Discuss.
Suggested Approach

  1. Examples of work done by U.N. in multiple fields including world peace and security.
  2. Why it is lacking in complete achievement of peace.
  3. Suggested reforms.


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