Is the UN’s Power Actually Useful in Today’s World Conflicts?

Photo via the United Nations


The United Nations, or UN, is an international body founded on October 24, 1945, to foster international cooperation, maintain peace and security, and address global issues and difficulties. The United Nations serves as a forum for member countries to discuss and resolve international disputes, coordinate humanitarian operations, and work on a wide range of global issues. It was created after World War II, and was established to foster a more peaceful and just world. Its forerunner was the League of Nations, which was created in similar circumstances after World War I. The organization has evolved over time to keep up with an ever-changing world, and it describe itself as the only place on the Earth where all of the world’s nations can gather to discuss shared issues and find solutions that benefit all of humanity. However, since when has the UN truly served its stated purpose, or handled problems for which it genuinely had legally enforceable answers?

The world has experienced several crises in recent years, including a global pandemic. More crucially, it has encountered a hostile climate in which certain governments have initiated conflicts against their neighbors. Russia and Ukraine were the first, followed by Israel and Palestine and a slew of other minor—but no less important—conflicts. These conflicts have not only caused immense suffering and loss of life, but have also strained diplomatic relations and global stability. So again, the inquiry of “What has the UN actually done” arises. In light of the UN’s shortcomings, the international community has been grappling with the challenge of finding peaceful resolutions and fostering dialogue to prevent further escalation and promote lasting peace. Throughout this article, the true efficacy of the UN will be reviewed and contrasted to what it claims to achieve and how its funds are actually spent. 

To begin, we may learn from raw data that for fiscal year 1 July 2021—30 June 2022, the budget for UN Peacekeeping activities had been set at $6.38 billion. This amount supports ten of the twelve United Nations peacekeeping missions, some of which include the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the UN Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO), and the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). The financing for peacekeeping missions is determined by the Security Council’s mandate. They are therefore strategic papers that allocate resources in order to accomplish the operation’s main goals. Each peacekeeping operation has a separate budget and account that covers both operational costs like travel and logistics and human costs like salary. At the end of the financial cycle, each operation prepares and submits a performance report which shows the actual use of resources.
The performance report provides a comprehensive analysis of the effectiveness and efficiency of the peacekeeping operation’s utilization of resources. It allows for an evaluation of whether the allocated budget was effectively utilized and if any adjustments need to be made for future operations. The General Assembly’s approval of the performance report ensures transparency and accountability in the financial management of peacekeeping operations. 

After this, it is apparent that measuring successful peace is a difficult substantive and methodological issue, the latter of which differentiating between methods and outcomes is a perfect example. Political initiatives rely on assumptions about expected consequences; however, the analytic distinction should be emphasized as much as possible. In terms of the use of force, for example, a UN-managed strategy of force is usually useless when seeking to impose peace as in Russia and Ukraine, but it may be effective when used in discrete chunks to carry out a whole peace treaty. It is critical to understand that each conflict’s unique environment and dynamics affect how effective a UN-managed strategy of force will be. Past examples measure the significance of adjusting political endeavors to the particulars of each scenario in order to achieve desired results. 

In terms of assessing the UN’s effectiveness, one fundamental question emerges: “How are their operations managed and designed? Evidence has shown that the UN doesn’t lack financial help to make an operation go well, thus the only thing that might cause a failure is management. The UN hasn’t fully considered the implications of failure for a particular nation or state. A failure in a wartime mission might pave the way for a genocide like the one that occurred in Somalia, the second-largest only after the Holocaust. Therefore, it is crucial for the UN to prioritize effective management and design of their operations to prevent potential catastrophic consequences. Additionally, the UN should also focus on improving their understanding of the complex dynamics and unique challenges present in each nation or state they intervene in in order to mitigate the risk of failure. 

The UN has the space and the resources it needs to hold meetings and discussions. While it does have the capacity to receive guests and commercial partners, it also lacks the effectiveness to choose when to intervene in international affairs and when not to. I believe that there are too many associate nations in the organization for them to genuinely effect change. Throughout this essay, evidence has shown that  the organization consistently fails at the last minute, which would be when they have to carry out a thorough and sophisticated plan, and that sometimes this causes more suffering than is acceptable in some communities. Furthermore, the presence of numerous associate nations may dilute the decision-making process and hinder effective coordination among member states. This lack of cohesion often leads to delays and compromises, ultimately undermining the organization’s ability to address pressing global issues in a timely manner. As a result, it is crucial for the organization to reassess its membership criteria and prioritize quality over quantity to ensure more impactful and efficient outcomes in international affairs. The only thing the UN is now effective at is demonstrating what proper discussion and collaboration are. Despite its limitations, the UN, on the other hand, has efficiently supported peacekeeping operations and humanitarian relief initiatives but that doesn’t change the fact that we need peace solutions now, and while the UN has always stated that it wishes to correct certain problems, I feel that now is the time to enhance the organization and work to bring peace to nations that are unable to do it on their own.


This article was edited by Anousheh Naqvi.