The United Nations (UN) is an international organization comprising several sovereign states. Its roles and responsibilities are widespread but mainly focus on maintaining political, economic, and social stability. In this paper, the purpose of the UN will be examined to understand the challenges it has encountered in fulfilling its core mandate outlined above. Discussions will highlight the progress made by the organization in managing its core challenges and identifying areas that could be exploited to realize more development.
Purpose of UN
It is vital to understand the purpose of an organization because it defines the framework for assessing its successes and challenges. As alluded to in the introduction section above, the purpose of the UN is to maintain political, social, and economic stability. The organization employs several strategies to accomplish this objective, including promoting negotiations among member states through dialogue and open engagement. Solutions to complex problems affecting the world have been realized in this manner. In line with its role as a stabilizing force in global politics, the UN creates conditions for warring parties to discuss issues during times of crisis thereby averting wars.
The UN maintains open communication channels to promote peace and dialogue among nations with competing interests to meet its core objectives. At the same time, it addresses humanitarian challenges that emerge from conflict. Relative to this goal, the UN also plays the benevolent role of helping vulnerable populations to improve their well-being. Overall, these goals are designed to promote peace and stability in communities by addressing specific challenges affecting this quest. Overall, these objectives demonstrate that the purpose of the UN is to maintain political and social stability.
Challenges Encountered by the UN
Like other international organizations, the UN encounters several challenges in its operations. The first one is the presence of competing interests among member states that create disagreements and conflict within the organization. For example, disagreements between Western countries, such as the US and the UK, and Eastern bloc nations, such as China and Russia, have negatively affected most of the organization’s activities. Therefore, competing interests within the organization have made it difficult for the institution to operate optimally.
The second challenge affecting the UN’s operations is growing skepticism about its ability to influence the actions of member states. For example, there is speculation that the UN impartially serves Western interests as opposed to those of the collective whole. This idea has further morphed into a belief that the organization is unlikely to influence the actions of powerful member states or enforce the consequence of noncompliance on them. For example, there are incidences where the UN has been unable to prevent powerful nations in its security council, such as the US, from starting wars, despite its position as the apex body of international politics.
At the same time, some people believe that the UN tolerates unfair practices due to double standards in the manner international conflicts are addressed. For example, the UN did not stop Russia from starting a war in Ukraine but was instrumental in enabling Western powers to invade developing nations, such as Libya and Iraq, to depose governments. In this regard, there is a growing perception that the UN misapplies the rules of natural justice. This dual standard of treatment in international conflict resolution has dented the image of the UN as a neutral body of global repute.
The third challenge associated with the operations of the UN is the dependence on the goodwill of member states to enforce its policies and decisions. This engagement framework relegates the global role of the UN to an agency of independent governments controlled by member states. Some of these actors may be complacent in enforcing their resolutions, thereby failing to fulfill their duties as expected. The potential of noncompliance has undermined the effectiveness of the UN in enforcing its resolutions.
Solving the Challenges
As highlighted above, three challenges affect the operations of the UN. They include competing interests among member nations, a growing negative perception of the institution’s practices, and the dependence on the goodwill of member states to enforce resolutions. To address competing interests among various countries, the New York-based organization appeals for consensus among opposing parties. The pursuit of this strategy has been fixated on harnessing the potential of realizing combined synergies among member states in solving global challenges. This strategy minimizes the opportunity of channeling sectarian interests in the organization. At the same time, the UN addresses competing interests among rivals by allowing other member countries to break the impasse via democratic voting. This plan enables the global body to seek consensus as a strategy for promoting collective decision-making in the organization. Therefore, when major powers cannot agree on a common issue, other member countries could lend support or oppose the view of one of the parties through voting, thereby creating a binding decision for all members.
On the issue of a deteriorating public image, the UN relies on promoting transparent and accountable practices to communicate the challenges it experiences in building consensus among member countries. This way, the organization fulfills its duty of informing stakeholders about issues impacting its operations. In the process, the public is made aware of challenges affecting the organizations’ operations. Similarly, to minimize dependence on the goodwill of member states to implement resolutions, the UN has allowed different member countries to contribute to organizational plan development. This strategy has made it possible for committed states to offset the contribution of their noncommittal counterparts in the organization. In the end, a diverse pool of resources from various countries makes it possible to fill gaps in policy implementation that occur when one party or a group of nations cannot implement the UN’s resolutions.
The UN’s dominance in global politics has highlighted challenges that prevent world powers from collaborating. The global body plays a role in shaping international politics because of its visibility in transnational governance. In line with its goal of promoting peace and stability in the world, the UN has employed several strategies to foster engagement among countries. Conflicts have been averted and human suffering alleviated because of these initiatives. However, competing interests, overdependence on the goodwill of member countries to enforce resolutions, and a growing poor public image are impediments to the realization of the UN’s goal of promoting peace and stability in the world. Consequently, there is a need to explore innovative solutions to address these issues. One way to initiate progress is to increase the membership of countries with veto powers to create broader consensus on global issues. The outcome would be more diversity in decision-making, which would improve the organization’s effectiveness.