2.1.1. United Nations
1. Read and translate the text into Ukrainian.
Charter of the United Nations
It is by means of treaties that international or regional organizations are set up. For example, the Charter of the United Nations, the Covenant of the League of Nations and the instruments creating the International Labour Office, the Universal Postal Union, the Specialized Agencies, etc can all be regarded as multipartite agreements between states. The international organizations thus established themselves become capable of entering into treaties and agreements with states and other international organizations.
The United Nations Charter was drawn up by the representatives of 50 countries at the United Nations Conference on International Organization, which met at San Francisco from 25 April to 26 June 1945. They deliberated on the basis of proposals worked out by the representatives of the USSR, the United Kingdom and the United States at Dumbarton Oaks (USA) in August - October 1944. Subsequently, the draft was also approved by China The Charter was signed on 26 June 1945. Poland, not represented at the Conference, signed it later and became one of the original 51 Member States.
The United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, then the Charter had been ratified by China, France, the USSR, the United Kingdom and the United States, and by a majority of other signatories. 24 October has since been celebrated as United Nations Day.
The Charter specifies the fundamental purposes and principles of the United Nations and defines the functions and powers of the UN main organs: the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice, and the Secretariat.
The US Charter is a unique document in the history of international relations. It takes account of the lessons mankind has learnt from the bloodiest war in its history - a war that consumed millions of human lives. The Charter reflects the desire of all nations of the world to prevent a new war, their confidence that war can be prevented and that different countries, irrespective of their social systems, can unite around a common goal - the establishment of a lasting peace on Earth The very fact that such a document has been drawn up goes to show that this goal is attainable provided all countries and peoples sincerely wish to cooperate.
The UN Charter is the first international document ever to have been adopted on such a broad and collective basis. It is a concentrated expression of the basic principles of contemporary international law which are of a universal character and binding on all members of the international community. The obligations of states as stipulated in the UN Charter have priority over all their other commitments.
In the more than four decades of its existence, the United Nations has often been called upon to prevent a dangerous situation from escalating into war, to persuade the contending parties to use the conference table rather than resort to arms, and to help restore peace or at least cease hostilities when conflicts arise Despite frustrations and setbacks, the Organization has steadily developed its capacity as a peace-keeping and peacemaking Organization.
The admission to the UN of a large group of newly independent states have substantially strengthened the positions of the peace-loving forces within the Organization.
A Answer the questions:
1. What is the way of setting up international and regional organizations? 2 When was the United Nations Charter drawn up? 3 When is the United Nations Day celebrated? 4 What does the Charter reflect? 5. What is binding on all members of the international community' 6 What capacity has the UNO steadily developed? 7. What is the role of the UNO in world affairs today?
B Suggest the English for:
1) благородні цілі і принципи; 2) багатостороння угода; 3) загальна мета; 4) основні принципи сучасного міжнародного права; 5) установчі акти; 6) відновити мир; 7) визначати функції та повноваження; 8) запобігти війні; 9) удатися до зброї.
C Study the use of italicized words indifferent phrases, suggest their Ukrainian equivalents.
a document certifying one's ~; an international ~ to act; treaty-making ~; in a consultative ~; in the ~ of ambassador; in the consular ~; In one's individual (personal) ~; in one's ~ as depositary of conventions.
first ~; high ~ measures; ~ message; ~ right; on a ~ basis; of high ~; to establish an order of ~; to observe the rules of ~.
2. Translate into Ukrainian taking note of the phrases in bold type.
1. It decided that the Committee shall meet whenever necessary. 2 The next Medium-Term Plan should be based as far as possible on the previous Plan. 3. Despite difficulties connected with the intensification of inflation it proved possible to carry out the programme in full. 4 The draft Plan should, wherever possible, include a number of options. 5. He noted the need to provide instructions in the mother tongue, followed if required by the teaching of a second language. 6 In such circumstances the Conference may grant to the former Director General such indemnity as it deems proper. 7. The amendments should be made where appropriate.
3. Translate into English:
1. Генеральна конференція постановляє, що комітет буде складатися з п'ятнадцяти членів, призначених державами-членами на термін два роки. 2. Голова закликав враховувати особливі умови, існуючі у суспільствах, що відрізняються різноманітністю культур. 3. Було запропоновано заохотити держави-члени і надавати їм допомогу у створенні і поширенні існуючих інститутів. 4. Конференція вважає, що Міжнародна програма розвитку комунікацій повинна координуватися Міжурядовою радою. 5. Він виразив надію, що будуть проведені дослідження, які стосуються фізичного виховання та спорту.
4. Translate into Ukrainian taking note of the words and phrases in bold type.
1. Membership in the United Nations is open to all peace-loving nations which accept the obligations of the United Nations Charter and, in the judgement of the Organization, are able and willing to carry out these obligations. 2. The original Members of the United Nations are those countries which signed the Declaration by United Nations of 1 January 1942, or took part in the San Francisco Conference, and which signed and ratified the Charter. 3. Other countries can be admitted by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council. 4. Members may be suspended from the exercise of the rights and privileges of membership or expelled by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council. 5. They may be suspended if the Security Council is taking enforcement action against them or expelled if they persistently violate the principles of the Charter. 6. The Security Council can restore the rights of a suspended Member-State. 7. Just as the world has greatly changed since 1945, so has the United Nations but the goal of a peaceful world still remains the paramount aim of the United Nations.
5. Translate the following into English making use of the suggested words and phrases.
ПОПРАВКИ ДО СТАТУТУ
Поправки до (amendments to) Статуту вступають у силу (to come into force) після того як вони прийняті (to be adopted) двома третинами голосів членів Генеральної Асамблеї ООН і ратифікованими двома третинами членів Організації, включаючи усіх постійних (permanent) членів Ради Безпеки.
Прийняття до цих пір (so far) поправки до Статуту торкались (to relate to) розширення членського складу (membership) двох основних органів – Ради Безпеки та Економічної і Соціальної Ради. Наприклад, поправки до статтей 23 і 27 були прийняті Генеральною Асамблеєю у 1963 році і вступили у силу у 1965 році. Поправка до статті 23 передбачає (to provide) збільшення числа членів Ради Безпеки з 11 до 15. Змінена (amended) стаття 27 встановлює (to set forth), що рішення Ради Безпеки з процедурних питань (on procedural matters) вважаються прийнятими, якщо за них було подано дев'ять голосів (раніше вимагалось сім), а з усіх інших питань – якщо за них голосували дев'ять членів (раніше – сім), включаючи збіжні (concurring) голоси п'яти постійних членів Ради.
6. Give an oral summary of the texts In English using the following plans:
1) How the UN Works;
2) The General Assembly;
3) The Security Council;
4) The Economic and Social Council;
5) The Trusteeship Council;
6) The International Court of Justice;
7) The Secretariat.
How the UN Works
The United Nations was established on 24 October 1945 by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security. Today, nearly every nation in the world belongs to the UN–188 countries in all.
When States become Members of the United Nations, they agree to accept the obligations of the UN Charter, an international treaty which sets out basic principles of international relations. According to the Charter, the UN has four purposes: to maintain international peace and security, to develop friendly relations among nations, to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights, and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.
UN Members are sovereign countries. The United Nations is not a world government, and it does not make laws. It does, however, provide the means to help resolve international conflict and formulate policies on matters affecting all of us. At the UN, all the Member States–large and small, rich and poor, with differing political views and social systems–have a voice and vote in this process.
The United Nations has six main organs. Five of them –- the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council and the Secretariat -– are based at UN Headquarters in New York. The sixth, the International Court of Justice, is located at The Hague, Netherlands.
The General Assembly
All UN Member States are represented in the General Assembly–a kind of parliament of nations which meets to consider the world’s most pressing problems. Each Member State has one vote. Decisions on “important matters”, such as recommendations on matters relating to international peace and security, admitting new members, the UN budget and the budget for peacekeeping, are decided by two-thirds majority. Other matters are decided by simple majority. In recent years, a special effort has been made to reach decisions through consensus, rather than by taking a formal vote.
At its 1998/1999 session, the Assembly is considering 166 different topics, including peace and security issues, disarmament, development, reform of the UN, protection of the environment and the year 2000 date-conversion problem for computers. The Assembly cannot force action by any State, but its recommendations are an important indication of world opinion and represent the moral authority of the community of nations.
The Assembly holds its annual regular session from September to December. When necessary, it may resume its session, or hold a special or emergency session on subjects of particular concern. When the Assembly is not meeting, its work is carried out by its six main committees, other subsidiary bodies and by the UN Secretariat.
The Security Council
The UN Charter gives the Security Council primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. The Council may convene at any time, day or night, whenever peace is threatened.
There are 15 Council members. Five of these –- China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States–are permanent members. The other 10 are elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms. In recent years, Member States have discussed making changes in Council membership to reflect today’s political and economic realities.
Decisions of the Council require nine yes votes. Except in votes on procedural questions, a decision cannot be taken if there is a no vote, or veto, by a permanent member. All Member States are obligated to carry out the Council’s decisions.
When the Council considers a threat to international peace, it first explores ways to settle the dispute peacefully. It may suggest principles for a settlement or undertake mediation. In the event of fighting, the Council tries to secure a ceasefire. It may send a peacekeeping mission to help the parties maintain the truce and to keep opposing forces apart.
The Council can take measures to enforce its decisions. It can impose economic sanctions or order an arms embargo. On rare occasions, the Council has authorized Member States to use “all necessary means”, including collective military action, to see that its decisions are carried out.
The Council also makes recommendations to the General Assembly on the appointment of a new Secretary-General and on the admission of new Members to the UN.
The Economic and Social Council
The Economic and Social Council, under the overall authority of the General Assembly, coordinates the economic and social work of the United Nations and the UN family. As the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues and for formulating policy recommendations, the Council plays a key role in fostering international cooperation for development. It also consults with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), thereby maintaining a vital link between the United Nations and civil society.
The Council has 54 members, elected by the General Assembly for three-year terms. It meets for one month each year, alternating its session between New York and Geneva. A special meeting of ministers discusses major economic and social issues. Beginning in 1998, the Council expanded its discussions to include humanitarian themes.
The year-round work of the Council is carried out by subsidiary bodies that meet regularly and report back to the Council. The Commission on Human Rights, for example, monitors the observance of human rights throughout the world. Other bodies focus on such issues as social development, the status of women, crime prevention, narcotic drugs and environmental protection. Five regional commissions promote economic development and strengthened economic relations in their respective areas.
The Trusteeship Council
The Trusteeship Council was established to provide international supervision for 11 Trust Territories administered by 7 Member States and ensure that adequate steps were taken to prepare the Territories for self-government or independence. By 1994, all Trust Territories had attained self-government or independence, either as separate States or by joining neighbouring independent countries. The last to do so was the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (Palau), administered by the United States, which became the 185th Member State.
Its work completed, the Trusteeship Council now consists only of the five permanent members of the Security Council. It has amended its rules of procedure to allow it to meet as and when occasion requires.
The International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice–also known as the World Court–is the main judicial organ of the UN. Consisting of 15 judges elected by the General Assembly and the Security Council, the Court decides disputes between countries. Participation by States in a proceeding is voluntary, but if a State agrees to participate, it is obligated to comply with the Court’s decision. The Court also provides advisory opinions to the General Assembly and the Security Council upon request.
The Secretariat carries out the substantive and administrative work of the United Nations as directed by the General Assembly, the Security Council and the other organs. At its head is the Secretary-General, who appoints such additional personnel as required and provides overall administrative guidance.
The Secretariat consists of departments and offices with a total staff of about 8,700 drawn from some 160 countries. Duty stations include UN Headquarters in New York as well as UN offices in Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi.
1) What the UN Does for Peace;
What the UN Does for Peace
Preserving world peace is a central purpose of the United Nations. Under the Charter, Member States agree to settle disputes by peaceful means and refrain from threatening or using force against other States.
Over the years, the UN has played a major role in helping defuse international crises and in resolving protracted conflicts. It has undertaken complex operations involving peacemaking, peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance. It has worked to prevent conflicts from breaking out. And in post-conflict situations, it has increasingly undertaken coordinated action to address the root causes of violence and lay the foundation for durable peace.
UN efforts have produced dramatic results. The UN helped defuse the Berlin crisis in 1948-1949, the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 and the Middle East crisis in 1973. In 1988, a UN-sponsored peace settlement ended the Iran-Iraq war, and in the following year UN-sponsored negotiations led to the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. In the 1990s, the UN was instrumental in restoring sovereignty to Kuwait and has played a major role in ending civil wars in Cambodia, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mozambique, restoring democratically elected governments in Haiti and Sierra Leone and resolving or containing conflict in a number of other countries.
Halting the spread of arms and reducing and eventually eliminating all weapons of mass destruction are major goals of the United Nations. The UN has been an ongoing forum for disarmament negotiations, making recommendations and initiating studies. It supports multilateral negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament and in other international bodies. These negotiations have produced such agreements as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (1968), the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (1996) and the treaties establishing nuclear-free zones.
Other treaties prohibit the development, production and stockpiling of chemical weapons (1992) and bacteriological weapons (1972), ban nuclear weapons from the seabed and ocean floor (1971) and outer space (1967); and ban or restrict other types of weapons. In 1997, more than 100 nations signed the Ottawa Convention outlawing landmines. The UN encourages all nations to adhere to this and other treaties banning destructive weapons of war. The UN is also supporting efforts to control small arms and light weapons. The General Assembly has endorsed the recommendation of a special UN panel to hold an international conference on the illicit arms trade by the year 2001.
The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, through a system of safeguards agreements, ensures that nuclear materials and equipment intended for peaceful uses are not diverted to military purposes. And in The Hague, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons collects information on chemical facilities worldwide and conducts routine inspections to ensure adherence to the chemical weapons convention.
UN peacemaking brings hostile parties to agreement through diplomatic means. The Security Council, in efforts to maintain international peace and security, may recommend ways to avoid conflict or restore or secure peace–through negotiation, for example, or recourse to the International Court of Justice.
The Secretary-General also plays an important role in peacemaking. He/she may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which appears to threaten international peace and security. He/she may use “good offices” to carry out mediation, or exercise “quiet diplomacy” behind the scenes, either personally or through special envoys. The Secretary-General also undertakes “preventive diplomacy” aimed at resolving disputes before they escalate. He/she may also send a fact-finding mission, support regional peacemaking efforts or set up a local UN political office to assist in building trust between the parties in conflict.
The UN is increasingly undertaking activities which focus on the underlying causes of violence. Development assistance is a key element of peace-building. In cooperation with the UN system, and with the participation of donor countries, host Governments and NGOs, the United Nations works to support good governance, civil law and order, elections and human rights in countries struggling to deal with the aftermath of conflict. At the same time, it helps these countries rebuild administrative, health, educational and other services disrupted by conflicts.
Some of these activities, such as the UN’s supervision of the 1989 elections in Namibia, mine-clearance programmes in Mozambique, and civilian police training in Haiti, take place within the framework of a UN peacekeeping operation and may continue when the operation withdraws. Others are requested by Governments, as in Liberia where the UN has opened a peace-building support office, in Cambodia where the UN maintains a human rights office, or in Guatemala where the UN is assisting in the implementation of peace agreements which affect virtually all aspects of national life.
The Security Council sets up UN peacekeeping operations and defines their scope and mandate in efforts to maintain peace and international security. Most operations involve military duties, such as observing a ceasefire or establishing a buffer zone while negotiators seek a long-term solution. Others may require civilian police or incorporate civilians who help organize elections or monitor human rights. Some operations, like the one in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, have been deployed as a means to help prevent the outbreak of hostilities. Operations have also been deployed to monitor peace agreements in cooperation with peacekeeping forces of regional organizations.
Peacekeeping operations may last for a few months or continue for many years. The UN’s operation at the ceasefire line between India and Pakistan in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, for example, was established in 1949, and UN peacekeepers have been in Cyprus since 1964. In contrast, the UN was able to complete its 1994 mission in the Aouzou Strip between Libya and Chad in a little over a month.
Since the UN deployed its first peacekeepers in 1948, some 118 countries have voluntarily provided more than 750,000 military and civilian police personnel. They have served, along with thousands of civilians, in 49 peacekeeping operations. Currently, some 12,500 military and civilian police personnel are deployed in 14 operations.
1) Human rights;
2) International Law;
3) Ending Impunity.
What the UN Does for Justice, Human Rights and International Law
Through UN efforts, Governments have concluded hundreds of multilateral agreements that make the world a safer, healthier place with greater opportunity and justice for all of us. This comprehensive body of international law and human rights legislation is one of the UN’s great achievements.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed by the General Assembly in 1948, sets out basic rights and freedoms to which all men and women are entitled–among them the right to life, liberty and nationality, to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, to work, to be educated, to take part in government.
These rights are legally binding by virtue of two International Covenants, to which most States are parties. One Covenant deals with economic, social and cultural rights and the other with civil and political rights. Together with the Declaration, they constitute the International Bill of Human Rights.
The Declaration laid the groundwork for more than 80 conventions and declarations on human rights, including conventions to eliminate racial discrimination and discrimination against women; conventions on the rights of the child, the status of refugees and the prevention of genocide; and declarations on self-determination, enforced disappearances and the right to development.
With the standards-setting work nearly complete, the UN is now shifting the emphasis of its human rights work to the implementation of human rights laws. The High Commissioner for Human Rights, who coordinates all UN human rights activities, is working with Governments to improve their observance of human rights, seeking to prevent violations and investigating abuses. The UN Commission on Human Rights, an intergovernmental body, holds public meetings to review the human rights performance of States. It appoints independent experts -“special rapporteurs” - to report on specific human rights abuses or to examine human rights in specific countries. At the UN Office in Geneva, a 24-hour fax hot line to report violations of human rights is available to the public (41 22 917 0092).
UN human rights bodies are involved in early-warning and conflict prevention as well as in efforts to address root causes of conflict. A number of UN peacekeeping operations have a human rights component: in Georgia and in Guatemala, for example. In Haiti, a joint UN-Organization of American States operation is doing this work. In all, UN human rights field activities are currently being carried out in 15 countries or territories.
Promoting respect for human rights is increasingly central to UN development assistance. In particular, the right to development is seen as part of a dynamic process which integrates all civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights and by which the well-being of all individuals in a society is improved. Key to the enjoyment of the right to development is the eradication of poverty, a major UN goal.
The UN Charter specifically calls on the United Nations to undertake the progressive codification and development of international law. The conventions, treaties and standards resulting from this work have provided a framework for promoting international peace and security and economic and social development. States which ratify these conventions are legally bound by them.
The International Law Commission prepares drafts on topics of international law which can then be incorporated into conventions and opened for ratification by States. Some of these conventions form the basis for law governing relations among States, such as the convention on diplomatic relations or the convention regulating the use of international watercourses. The Convention on the Law of the Sea seeks to ensure equitable access by all countries to the riches of the oceans, protect them from pollution and facilitate freedom of navigation and research. The Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs is the key international treaty against drug trafficking.
The UN Commission on International Trade Law develops rules and guidelines designed to harmonize and facilitate laws regulating international trade. The UN has also pioneered the development of international environmental law. Agreements, such as the convention to combat desertification, the convention on the ozone layer and the convention on the transborder movement of hazardous wastes, are administered by the UN Environment Programme.
To combat terrorism, the UN and its specialized agencies have developed international agreements that constitute the basic legal instruments against terrorism.
Massive violations of humanitarian law during the fighting in the former Yugoslavia led the Security Council in 1993 to establish an international tribunal to try persons accused of war crimes in that conflict. In 1994, the Council set up a second tribunal to hear cases involving accusations of genocide in Rwanda. The tribunals have brought a number of defendants to trial. In 1998, the Rwanda Tribunal handed down the first-ever verdict by an international court on the crime of genocide, as well as the first-ever sentence for that crime.
A key United Nations goal–an international mechanism to impose accountability in the face of mass violations of human rights–was realized in 1998 when Governments agreed to establish an International Criminal Court. The Court provides a comprehensive means for punishing perpetrators of genocide and other crimes against humanity. In voting to set up the Court, the international community made it clear that impunity–the assumption that crimes will go unpunished–was no longer possible for those who commit atrocities.
The UN has also contributed to the elaboration of a number of conventions relating to international humanitarian law.
1) Emergency Assistance;
2) Humanitarian Response.
What the UN Does for Humanitarian Assistance
Humanitarian disasters can occur anywhere and at any time. No matter what the cause–a flood or a drought, an earthquake, a civil conflict–a humanitarian disaster means lost lives, displaced populations, communities incapable of sustaining themselves and great suffering.
In the face of such disasters, the UN family of organizations supplies food, shelter, medicines and logistical support to the victims, most of them children, women and the elderly.
To pay for this assistance and deliver it to those in need, the United Nations has raised billions of dollars from international donors. In 1998, combined UN appeals led to pledges of about $2 billion for emergency humanitarian assistance to some 25 million people. In 1997-1998, the UN assisted more than 51 Member States in their efforts to cope with more than 77 natural disasters and environmental emergencies.
Providing humanitarian assistance requires that the United Nations overcome major logistical and security constraints in the field. Reaching affected areas can itself be a major obstacle. In recent years, many crises have been aggravated by an erosion of respect for human rights. Humanitarian workers have been denied access to people in need, and parties in conflict have deliberately targeted civilians and aid workers. Since 1992, more than 139 UN civilian staff have been killed and 143 taken hostage while serving in humanitarian operations worldwide. In efforts to prevent human rights violations in the midst of crisis, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has played an increasingly active role in the UN response to emergencies in the field.
The UN coordinates its response to humanitarian crises through a committee of all the key humanitarian bodies, chaired by the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator. Members include the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Other UN agencies are also represented, as are the major intergovernmental and non-governmental humanitarian organizations.
The Emergency Relief Coordinator is responsible for developing policy for humanitarian action and for promoting humanitarian issues, helping raise awareness, for example, of the consequences of the proliferation of small arms or the humanitarian effects of sanctions.
People who have fled war, persecution or human rights abuse–refugees and displaced persons–are assisted by UNHCR. In 1998, there were some 22 million people of concern to UNHCR. The agency’s largest operations were in western Asia (some 2-3 million Afghan refugees), the former Yugoslavia (some 1.8 million people in need) and the Great Lakes region of Africa, with some half million refugees.
Emergency food assistance is provided by WFP, which regularly supplies up to two thirds of world requirements. In 1997, WFP food aid reached 19.1 million people affected by conflict situations. During the same period, WFP provided food-aid assistance to 10 million people suffering the consequences of drought and floods.
War and civil strife have separated an estimated 1 million children from their parents over the past 10 years, made 12 million more homeless and left 10 million severely traumatized. UNICEF seeks to meet the needs of these children by supplying food, safe water, medicine and shelter. UNICEF has also pioneered the concept of “children as zones of peace” and created “days of tranquillity” and “corridors of peace” to help protect children in armed conflict and provide them with essential services.
Disaster prevention and preparedness are also part of UN humanitarian action. In 1998, for example, UNDP established national capacity-building programmes for disaster management in 11 countries. When disasters occur, UNDP coordinates relief work at the local level.
UNDP also helps ensure that emergency relief contributes to recovery and longer-term development. In countries undergoing extended emergencies or recovering from conflict, humanitarian assistance is increasingly seen as part of an overall peace-building effort along with developmental, political and financial assistance.
1) Setting the Agenda;
2) Assistance for Development.
What the UN Does for Development
One of the UN’s central mandates is the promotion of higher standards of living, full employment and conditions of economic and social progress and development. As much as 70 per cent of the work of the UN system is devoted to accomplishing this mandate. Guiding the work is the belief that eradicating poverty and improving the well-being of people everywhere are necessary steps in creating conditions for lasting world peace.
The UN has unique strengths in promoting development. Its presence is global, and its comprehensive mandate spans social, economic and emergency needs. The UN does not represent any particular national or commercial interest. When major policy decisions are taken, all countries, rich and poor, have a voice.
Setting the Agenda
The UN has played a crucial role in building international consensus on action for development. Beginning in 1960, the General Assembly has helped set priorities and goals through a series of 10-year International Development Strategies. While focusing on issues of particular concern, the Decades have consistently stressed the need for progress on all aspects of social and economic development. The Fourth Development Decade (1991-2000) prioritizes four areas: poverty and hunger, human resources and institutional development, population, and the environment.
A round of world conferences has identified practical ways of solving global problems in a range of areas such as education (1990), environment and development (1992), human rights (1993), population and development (1994) natural disaster reduction (1994), social development (1995), the advancement of women (1995), human settlements (1996) and food security (1996). The UN is now working closely with Member States to implement decisions taken at these conferences.
The UN has been responsible for formulating a number of new key developmental objectives, such as sustainable development, advancement of women, human rights, environmental protection and good governance, and for developing programmes to make them a reality. The General Assembly has brought those together with more familiar aspects of development-economic growth, eradication of poverty, trade, human resources development-in the policy blueprint entitled An Agenda for Development. This far-reaching agreement adopted in 1997 provides a framework for international cooperation and affirms the UN’s central role in international support for economic and social development.
Assistance for Development
The UN system - the UN, the specialized agencies and the UN programmes and funds–works in a variety of ways to promote economic and social goals.
The mandates of the specialized agencies cover virtually all areas of economic and social endeavour. The agencies provide technical assistance and other forms of practical help to countries around the world. Working in cooperation with the UN, they help formulate policies, set standards and guidelines, foster support and mobilize funds.
The World Bank, for example, provides more than $20 billion in development assistance each year. Developing countries use these loans to strengthen their economies and expand their markets. Although loans are available only to Governments, the Bank also works with local communities, NGOs and, through the International Finance Corporation, private enterprise to encourage sustained growth.
Close coordination among the UN and the specialized agencies is assured through the Administrative Committee on Coordination, comprising the Secretary-General and the heads of the specialized agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The UN programmes and funds work under the authority of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council to carry out the UN’s economic and social mandate. To enhance overall cooperation, the Secretary-General in 1997 set up the Executive Committee on Economic and Social Affairs–comprising the relevant Secretariat departments and offices, the regional commissions and the UN research bodies–and the UN Development Group, comprising the UN operational funds and programmes.
In the forefront of efforts to bring about social and economic progress is the UN Development Programme (UNDP). The UN’s largest multilateral provider of grants for sustainable human development, it works in 174 countries and territories to facilitate technical cooperation and eradicate poverty.
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is the lead UN organization working for the long-term survival, protection and development of children. In some 150 countries, UNICEF’s programmes focus on immunization, primary health care, nutrition and basic education.
Many other UN programmes work for development, in partnership with Governments and NGOs. The World Food Programme (WFP) is the world’s largest international food aid organization for both emergency relief and as part of development programmes. The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is the largest international provider of population assistance. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) works to encourage sound environmental practices everywhere, and the UN Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) assists people living in health-threatening housing conditions.
To increase the participation of developing countries in the global economy, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) promotes international trade. UNCTAD also works with the World Trade Organization (WTO), a separate entity, in assisting developing countries’ exports through the Geneva-based International Trade Centre.