##Effectiveness of the UN

The United Nations is an organisation which represents each of the countries of the world with representatives from each region being involved in major decisions regarding international peace and security as part of the Security Council. The United Nations tries to achieve international peace through three main methods: peace-making, peace-keeping and peace-building. How effective is it at each of these roles?

The first way the UN attempts to retain peace before a conflict can break out is through peace-making. The UN encourages disputing counties to communicate and mediate as conflict is brewing to prevent it growing and spreading. The main part of the UN which is involved at this stage is the DPA which works with the Secretary General to complete mandates in keeping the peace. There are regional offices of the UN focussed on peace-making to allow each of the offices to have a better local relationship and better work with the people in the region if conflict does occur. For example, in Iraq the elections following the removal of the leader of the country were overseen by the DPA. The election services such as polling stations were created by the UN and security was provided to ensure a democratic result. However, a large presence is needed during elections to ensure they are effective making it difficult for the UN to help in a large number of locations effectively at once.

Peace-keeping by the UN occurs at the very end of conflict when agreements are being made and, while the country involved may be damaged, violence is decreasing. It is one of the most vulnerable times for negotiations. UN forces, "Blue Berets", are deployed in counties after conflict in an impartial role to keep peace. They do do fire unless fired upon. Modern peace-keeping missions are often enacted due to the result of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 after UN troops pulled out of their mission there due to the conflict growing to large to handle. Over 800,000 people died during the conflict, which is reported as being possible to have been prevented by just 5000 UN troops. One current UN peace-keeping operation, MONUSCO, is based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has been primarily successful, but there is still a vast amount of conflict in the region - despite democratic proceedings. For example, the LRA killed 321 and abducted 250 people in 2009, a year before the original operation MONUC was replaced. Therefore it can be concluded that the UN is partially successful at peace-keeping with location, accessibility and many other uncontrolled factors affecting their work.

The final stage of the UN in creating international peace and security is peace-building. This comes after conflict, after the destruction of war, when citizens are most in need of help. The UN works to repair society through the PBF. Services to help those involved in the conflict - for example, welcoming soldiers back to the country - and improve the relationship with government by having trusted law-enforcement. Free press is also important at this stage in allowing the people to trust their new leaders after conflict. Additionally, economic opportunities must be created to allow people to create their own businesses so they can contribute to bettering the economy of the entire country. Macro-business is something which improves communities at this stage after conflict and, along with social rehabilitation, allows life in peace to be better than life at war and something that the entire country strives to keep.

In conclusion, keeping international peace and security is a complex task for the UN. There are several ways of reducing the potentiality of conflict in a region, but to truly achieve peace in a single case, it appears that each stage must be done effectively to prevent a cycle of short-lasting peace and conflict. The UN is only partially successful at this, though external factors are somewhat responsible for its failures.


Reading time: 03:18 Written by Graham Macphee