The United Nations and Why it Should Matter to You
The United Nations is an international organization of 193 member-states. It was founded in 1945 to prevent another world war. Its headquarters is in New York. The UN is not a form of government and nor is it capable of making any binding laws, however, what the UN is capable of is using the technique of persuasion.
There are five main roles of the United Nations:
Maintain International Peace and Security
Protect Human Rights
Deliver Humanitarian Aid
Promote Sustainable Development
Uphold International Law
The reason behind one of its major roles being maintaining international peace and security is that the United Nations was formed after the Second World War, and it had one central mission which was this. How does it do this? By preventing conflict, helping parties in conflict make peace and creating the condition in order for peace to be held & flourish. Here comes the United Nations Security Council, one of the most important bodies of the UN and responsible for international peace and security.
Protection of Human Rights is also one of UNs’ main roles and is in fact a key purpose and guiding principle of the Organization. It even delivers humanitarian aid, as stated in the UN Charter, “to achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character." This enables and empowers the UN to coordinate humanitarian relief operations due to natural and man-made disasters in areas beyond the relief capacity of national authorities alone.
The UN promotes Sustainable Development- – development that promotes prosperity and economic opportunity, greater social well-being, and protection of the environment- for the very reason so that development today should not be at the cost of taking away resources from our future generations. Lastly, the UN being an international body of organization, it upholds International Law and this work is carried out in many ways - by courts, tribunals, multilateral treaties - and by the Security Council as well.
Every aspect involves our role as citizens of our nations. Be it in the case of any national/international security or when the rights of someone’s life are being marginalized.
The World Health Organization has helped in vaccination and even eradication of certain diseases such as in the case of smallpox, which according to TIME saved about 150 million lives. In the face of climate change, violence against women and children, global poverty, starvation, terrorist threats, and the risk of pandemic, we need to maintain a united front more than ever and the U.N. may be our best chance at keeping the fragile ties between nations intact. The UN is a lot more than we probably realize.
We as citizens of nations realize so little that we often forget that we are a part of a much bigger world. The UN is the one organization which keeps us all united even though there are borders segregating us as nationals of various countries. It is a more than enough justification in its own as to why the UN should matter to you- because you matter.