United Nations Debate

History and Debate of United Nations

The United Nations is an organization that focuses on developing and enforcing international laws and policies. The main goals of the UN are to achieve peace, social progress and economic development. The organization was founded after the end of World War II in 1945 as a way of replacing the failing League of Nations. There are currently 192 nations that are a member of the United Nations, and this includes all sovereign nations in the world except the Vatican. The Headquarters of the United Nations is located in New York City in the United States; the current President is Li Baodong of China.

The UN has several assemblies. The General Assembly is the main body of the UN and meets yearly. Each session lasts several weeks. During the first two weeks, all members are given the opportunity to address the assembly and bring items to the attention of the board. The General Assembly also votes on important issues. A two-thirds majority is needed in order to approve a law, an election or expulsion of a member.

The Security Council is a division of the United Nations whose goal is to maintain peace between nations. This is the only council with the power to make binding decisions which the members must carry out. All other councils can only make recommendations. Fifteen nations have members on the Security Council. Five of these are permanent and ten are temporary. China, Russia, France, the United Kingdom and the United States are the only permanent members.

The International Court of Justice is a division of the United Nations that is responsible for international trials and legal decisions. Its headquarters are located in the Netherlands. This court has heard cases of war crimes, ethnic cleansing and the like. The International Criminal Court is a division that began operation in 2002. This court judges those who have tried to commit war crimes and genocide across several nations and have violated international law in doing so.

The United Nations also includes several specialized agencies that work on particular issues. For example, the World Health Organization is dedicated to improving the health status of those in impoverished nations and ensuring that nations provide adequate health care for their citizens.

Funding for the United Nations comes from voluntary donations by member nations. The General Assembly is responsible for overseeing the budget and determining the capacity of each nation to pay based on their gross domestic product, or GDP. Less developed nations are asked to contribute less and instead advised to use their resources to improve the status of their nations.

Debating the Effectiveness of the United Nations

In recent years, participants in the United Nations debate have questioned the organization’s effectiveness. Those who criticize the organization often feel that the small administrative structure undermines the UN's peace keeping mission. Also, there are few repercussions in place for nations that do not follow mandates. Permanent members of the Security Council have been known to avoid mandates themselves because they cannot lose their status as members as easily. Still, many people believe that the United Nations provides a great basis for international relationships. Though the organization was founded over 50 years ago, it is still able to oversee the international court system and bring justice to many dangerous criminals. Without the United Nations, the world would be a very different place.

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