Is the UN solving or creating problems? Role and importance of the United Nations in the 21st century

Essay, 2016

18 Pages


The role and importance of UN in XXI century: solving or creating problems?

By: Ruslan Vlasenko

The United Nations as an intergovernmental organization has emerged since the end of the WWII as an outcome of the Yalta Conference and intended to prevent new conflict and to secure peace all over the globe. There are military and humanitarian operations conducted by UN in the end of 20th century took place and were quite succesful. However, there are a number of

disputes concerning the issue, whether UN is a tool for resolving the conflicts or it creates problems in international arena, are emerging in the contemporary world. Indeed, today UN demonstrates its inefficiency when it comes to the regional conflicts resolutions as well as international issues. There are a number of cases demonstating the success and failure of UN in the conflicts resolutions and an efficiency of UN, on the example of the several issues that took place and are continuing nowadays, should be analyzed.

One of the examples where the UN succeeded could be the armed conflict in the Sierra Leone during 1991-2002. In the beginning of the war, the established Revolutionary United Front [RUF] had an intention to overthrow the existing government and when the war became more intensive it was decided to send the troops under the UN mandate known as the peacekeeping mission. The reason for that was in the inability of the government to fight against the rebels who had been keeping a number of hostages and behave as terrorists. Before the military intervention happened, the world leaders decided to find the diplomatic solution and conduct the negotiations between parties. The Lome Peace Accord has been concluded as a result of the diplomatic efforts. In accordance with that agreement, it provided provisions on DDR and the transformation of the RUF into a political party. However, the UN signed that document as the witness and reserved the right not to accept the immunity in terms of war crimes and crimes committed against humanity (Hirsch, John L. 2001). It is well-know fact that the disarmament of the RUF did not succeed and rebelians were advancing their weapons in order to continue fighting against the government not taking into consideration the concluded agreement of peace. It can be seen that the attempt to implement the Treaty failed, however, after the British government intervened under the renewed UN mandate it has managed to defeat the RUF and take control of the captured cities and it has led to the end of the war.

During that war the significant number of resolutions were adopted and amended by the UN SC and one of the most important operations conducted by UN lasted since 1999 till the end of the war called the UN Mission in Siera Leone. Among the main objectives of that mission were to assist the government with the disarmament of the rebel groups, to provide the humanitarian assistance for suffering civilians, to protect them from physical violence, to monitor the implementation of ceasefire and to provide access of allied military troops to the battlefield (UN resolution 1270). However, the successful implementation of the resolution would not take place without the support of the superpowers that are the permament members of SC-Russia and Britain, because they possess the military arsenal, which was in demand in order to combat rebelians and implement provisions of the resolution. The request was sent to the Russian Federation by the SC to participate in the peacekeeping mission and helicopters along with the military staff were sent to the conflict area and they managed to liberate the capital of the state-Freetown. According to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1734 that was adopted in 2006, the new government was to be elected in 2007 and UN demonstrated its full commitment in order to make sure that those elected would be in accordance with the democratic principles-free, transparent, fair and peaceful (UN resolution 1734).

Giving the general assessment to the contribution of UN to the end of the war, it can be claimed that diplomatic efforts, round table negotiations, peacekeping interference based on unanimity played significant role of the conflict resolution in the Sierra Leone.However, without the engagement of two major superpowers the successful implementation of the resolution would take place. Therefore, from that point it can be stated that the role of the permanent members of UN SC is crucial in resolving the international disputes and conflicts.

Taking into consideration the War in Afghanistan since 2001, it can be stated that the UN did not manage to fulfill its obligations during the conflict. In accordance with the resolution 1386, the SC supported the establishment of the International Security Assistance Force the main objectives of which were to provide assistance to the temporary government and to train its security forces (UN resolution 1386). The issue was that in order to combat the Talibans it was necessary to use the military force, and with the NATO invasion the UN peacekeeping forces had to rely on the NATO troops. Taking into account statistical data, the total number of deployable troops available to NATO from the European Allies ranged from a low of 329,711 in 2005 to a high of 464,574 in 2008.At the same time the number of NATO- Europe troops which were deployed ranged from a low of 73,578 in 2005 to a high of 80,177 in 2008. The deployment of that forces included military operations conducted by the allies carries their obligations to EU, NATO and UN in accordance with the international agreemetns (Sperling, J, & Webber, M 2012, p.4 ). After the withdrawal of NATO forces, the tensions between parties increased and the UN has failed to protects the human rights of the civililians.The problems was that the Taliban, who were proclaimed as the terrorists, were responsible for terror of 76 % of the civilians (Bill,R., 2010). According to Amnesty International, the Taliban commit war crimes by targeting civilians, , bombing schools and recruting the citizens for terroristic purposes. Amnesty International asserted that up to 756 civilians were killed in 2006 by bombs, mostly on roads or carried by suicide attackers coming from the Taliban groups (Amnesty International Report 2014/15). The UN was powerless to protect civilians there,because of the inability to combat terrorists and release hostages. As it is known, the diplomatic efforts in terms of negotiations did not result in long-lasting peace. Moreover, the UN Secretary- General has acknowledged the failure of UN in that context claiming that he had found their missions frustrated by their inability to adjust rapidly to Afghan reality, and the approaches that they have adopted have almost invariably proved to be void of an adequate understanding of the nature of Afghan society and politics. This lack of success in the political arena has in turn affected the UN's humanitarian operations, limiting the organization, with some notable exceptions, to a largely cosmetic contribution to the well- being of a majority of the Afghan people ( Boot, M., 2000). Another conflict that is actual nowadays and where the UN is engaged refers to the Syria War.The UN has succeed in the coordination of humanitarian affairs in accordance with the resolution 46/182 adopted by General Assembly.The UN contributed significantly to the collection of humanitarian aid all over the globe from the common people, by organizing the special points of collection of the provision, food, medicaments and clothes for suffered syrian people who remain in their homecountry as well as those who became refugees. According to the Donor report, around 4 mln of beneficiaries of aid were estimated, several thousand of tons of food and clothes were provided under the supervision of UN (Donor report 2016). In spite of having provided the humanitarian assistance, the UN is also engaged in the financial support for recovery purposes in Syria, which came mainly from EU, Russia and USA. Additionaly, UN provided the free access to the humanitarian aid in order to let civilians obtain that help. The United Nations played a mediator role between the government of Bashad Al- Assad and its supporters such as Russia for instance, and the countries opposing his regime such as USA.As it can be seen today, the results from those negotiations between Russia and USA under the mediation of UN has succeeded and Russian troops withdrawed from the Syria which means the end of the tensions between the superpowers on the Syrian territory. Recently, it became known that there is prospective that the re-elections of Syrian government will take place in few years, which basically can lead to the end of the war. However, in order to be true for that, the ISIS should be combatted firstly. Analyzing the role of the UN as the mediator it can be claimed that it has managed to conduct an effective negotiations and there is almost no chance that USA and Russia can start the war against each other on the territory of Syria.


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Is the UN solving or creating problems? Role and importance of the United Nations in the 21st century
Lazarski University
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The author of this text is not a native English speaker. Please excuse any grammatical errors and other inconsistencies.
diplomacy, international organizations, United Nations, UN, peacekeeping missions, importance of UN, international relations, intergovernmental organizations
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Ruslan Vlasenko (Author), 2016, Is the UN solving or creating problems? Role and importance of the United Nations in the 21st century, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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