United Nations is an institutionalized effort to avert possible conflicts and facilitate cooperation among member nations.The importance of an apex inter-governmental organisation is closely associated with the pace of globalizing world. In the rapidly changing world, let’s see the role and functions of United Nations.
So far, United Nations has already proved its mettle as a catalyst to steer the global ambitions in the desired direction.
Before to move forward, we need to take an overview of the world’s most important institutional establishment.
Structure and composition of United Nations
UN is the direct product of two devastating World Wars which shook the entire global community. Though it was emerged out of compulsion, it is proving great resource for us. Comparatively, Its machinery is too vast in accordance with the ambit of role and functions.
Major organs of United Nations
United Nations have six major organs to fulfill day to day functions and responsibilities.
First of all, one thing we must not forget that UN isn’t a global government but an intergovernmental forum. It is created to discuss and resolve issues of global importance.
So, to function in that manner, General Assembly is the representing, as well as policy making body of all the independent members.Being the representing body, it has various powers and functions to negotiate with global issues. These are like:-
- The appointment of secretary general of united nations for five years term.
- To oversee the UN budget.
- The appointment of the non-permanent members to the security council for two years term.
- To give recommendations as a general assembly resolutions in regarding to various confronting issues.
The member strength of General Assembly is around 193. UN Headquarter is at the New York City.
2. Security Council
Security Council is the defence wing of the UN. It has great powers to ensure international peace and security.
It has five permanent members and ten elected members by general assembly for the two years term. Five members possess veto powers, whereas other elected don’t have such veto powers.
Let’s see some important functions of Security Council:-
Admission of new members to UN and to approve the changes in the UN charter are fall in the ambit of power and functions of security council.
Most importantly, peace keeping operation to avert conflicts or violence in the world is also a vital function that security council carried out effectively.
It also exercise the power to impose international sanctions on the members in question to influence their’s behaviour.
Security Council can support the military actions through binding resolutions to safeguard peace.
It is also known as powerhouse of UN.
3. The economic and social council Of UN
Social and economic council is the developmental organ of UN. As I mentioned earlier that the motive of UN is to encourage developmental endeavours to free the masses from the vicious cycle of ignorance and poverty.
Major function are:–
To discuss and address Socio-economic issues, confronting global community.
It works with the various NGOs to provide required pace for development activities.
It has 54 members elected by general assembly for overlapping three years term.
Apart from this, it has fifteen specialized agencies to provide required inputs in the operations.
Out of fifteen specialized agencies here are some:- FAO, IMF, ILO, UNESCO, WHO, UNIDO, WMO, and World Bank.
After the devastating second World War, there were a lot of disputed territories in the world. Theirs impartial administration in the interest of their inhabitants was utmost important. For that purpose, Trusteeship council came into existence.
Its power and functions are:–
to administer disputed territories until the involved parties agree for a workable solutions.
But, it suspended its operations in 1994. So, has no active status now.
5. International court of justice.
International court of justice is also a principal organ of UN. It is the justice delivering UN body. The major functions of ICJ are :–
to settle disputes among member states.
It also performs advisory function for UN.
Court has a panel of fifteen judges with nine years term.
Judges are elected not appointed by the both General Assembly and security council.
Unlike other organs, it is the only body outside of New York City with headquarter is at the peace palace of The Hague, Netherlands.
Its official languages are English and French. All members of UN are the party to the UN statute.
In the following three issues, it has jurisdiction:–
6. General secretary
The last principal organ of UN is General Secretary. Generally, SG plays the role of chief executive officer of the UN.
GS is nominated by Security Council and appointed not elected by General Assembly for five years term.
He or she is eligible for reappointment but not for more than two terms.
Being the head of the secretariat, he is obliged to follow the decisions taken by the UN.
According to the US stalwart Franklin D. Roosevelt, UN general secretary should be like a “World moderator”. But, there is no specific definition, prescribed in the UN charter.
It acts as a catalyst by bringing vital issues in the light of attention so that members could consider for solution.
In the present non-polar world, the role of SG is gaining more importance than earlier.
Role and functions of United Nations in the rapidly globalizing world
Nowadays, the power balance is shifting from unipolar world to nonpolar world. In earlier tlmes, United Nations used to work with single power to carry out functions.
But, now, it has to coordinate with multiple actors to ensure better world order. This is all about the role and functions of United Nations.
Really, UN is too vast to cover. I have tried my level best to provide a general outline. The rationale behind the outline is clear that in the rapidly globalizing world, everyone should know something about the apex organisation, serving global interests.