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Category: UN- Peace and Security



The United Nations founded in 1945 just after the Second World War; was formed to maintain peace and harmony across continents. The five permanent members of the United Nations are the United States of America, France, China, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union. They exercise the right to participate in the democratic methods of decision making as carried out by the United Nations.

All one hears about is how miserably the United Nations has failed to ensure world peace and security is maintained and how there have been more and more violence and bloodshed; be it millions of Iraqis being killed by America’s agenda of ‘war on terror’ or be it the Israel-Palestine conflict. Criticism is always at the forefront but here, we are going to look at the success achieved by the UN in bringing peace and security to the countries.
UN has built up an impressive record of peacekeeping achievements over more than 60 years of its existence, and also won the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize for the same.

Since 1948, the UN has helped end conflicts whose consequences could have been catastrophic and also in fostering reconciliation by conducting successful peacekeeping operations in dozens of countries such as Cambodia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mozambique, Namibia, Tajikistan, and Timor-Leste. It has also made a significant difference in places like Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste, Liberia, Haiti and Kosovo by providing the basic security guarantees and responding to them in situation of crisis. Through these, UN operations have supported political transitions and helped establish fragile new state institutions and have helped countries to overcome the state of conflict and have a real chance at normal development of the nation at a whole; even if major peace-building challenges within the country remain.

By May 2010, UN Peacekeeping operations had more than 124,000 military, police and civilian staff and there are currently 14 peacekeeping operations and one special political mission the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) led by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

In other instances, however, it can be debated that peacekeeping strategies and help from the UN peacekeeping and by the international community as a whole have yet not reached places such as Somalia, Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. But these setbacks provided important lessons for the international community for deciding how and when to deploy and support UN peacekeeping as a tool to restore and maintain international peace and security.

Recognizing the need to better prepare and respond to the challenges of peace building, the 2005 World Summit approved by the United Nations encourages the creation of a new Peace-building Commission in which the resolutions such as resolution 60/180 and resolution 1645 (2005)can come into play. The measures decided upon by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council included the mandatory as well as collective effort on the part of all participatory nations to advise on the proposed integrated strategies for post conflict peace-building and recovery; to marshal resources and help ensure predictable financing for these activities; and to develop best practices in collaboration with political, security, humanitarian and development in such countries.

There are certain guidelines/factors that the UN came up with, in order to ensure a fair and successful peacekeeping operation across countries worldwide. It must ensure the following:

  • Every step or measure of the UN should be guided by the principles of consent, impartiality and the non-use of force except in self-defense and defense of the mandate;
  • To be perceived as legitimate and credible, particularly in the eyes of the local population;
  • To promote national and local ownership of the peace process in the host country.

Unique global partnership

The first UN peacekeeping mission was established in 1948, when the Security Council authorized the deployment of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) to the Middle East to monitor the Armistice Agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbours. Since then, there have been a total of 64 UN peacekeeping operations around the world.

UN peacekeeping is a unique global partnership which brings together the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Secretariat, troop and police contributors and the host governments in a combined effort to maintain international peace and security. Its strength lies in the legitimacy of the UN Charter and in the wide range of contributing countries that participate and provide precious resources.

Other achievements of the United Nations:

  • The First and foremost achievement of the United Nations is that it has prevented the occurrence of any further world wars and has been instrumental in the maintenance of international balance of power till date.
  • It has managed to more or less eradicate Apartheid and colonialism and imperialism.
  • It played a Significant role in disarming the world and making it nuclear free. Various treaty negotiations like ‘Partial Test Ban Treaty’ and ‘Nuclear non-proliferation treaty’ have been signed under UN.
  • The UN Acted as vanguard for the protection of human rights of the people of the world, through the establishment of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948.
  • Despite being crippled by the Bretton Woods Institutions, UN played limited but effective role on economic matters and also supported the North-South dialogue, aspiring for emergence of new international economic order.
  • Agencies of United Nations like WHO, UNICFF, UNESCO have keenly participated in the transformation of the international social sector.
  • Peace keeping operations, peaceful resolution of disputes and refugee concerns had always been on the list of core issues.
  • Since 1945, the UN has been credited with negotiating 172 peaceful settlements that have ended regional conflicts.
  • The UN world body is also instrumental in institutionalizing international laws and world legal frame work.


Women may not be the main combatants and perpetrators of war, but they are the ones who have and continue to increasingly suffer the greatest harm in the process.  In contemporary conflicts, it is alleged that among the 80-90 percent of the civil casualties of war, most lives lost are those of women and children. Women in war-torn societies have faced horrific forms of sexual abuse and violence, which have sometimes been carried out for achieving military or political objectives. Moreover, even in today’s age and world, women continue to be poorly represented in formal peace processes and decisions, even when they play a very integral role (direct or indirect) towards contributing and resolving conflicts.

However, the UN Security Council has come to recognise the importance of including women and gender perspectives in decision-making, which can further strengthen prospects for sustainable peace worldwide. This recognition was formalized in October 2000 with the landmark unanimous adoption of Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, which specifically addresses the situation of women in armed conflict and majorly focuses on two key goals, i.e. to strengthen women’s participation in decision-making on conflict resolution and ending sexual violence and impunity.



Role of UN in Maintenance of International Peace and Security

By- Ruchi Nandu

The United Nations (UN) is an international organization whose objectives are assisting cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace. The UN was founded in 1945 after World War II to replace the League of Nations, to stop wars between countries, and to provide a platform for dialogue. It contains multiple subsidiary organizations to carry out its missions.

There are currently 193 member states, including every internationally recognised sovereign state in the world. The organization has six principal organs: the General Assembly (the main deliberative assembly); the Security Council (for deciding certain resolutions for peace and security); the Economic and Social Council (for assisting in promoting international economic and social cooperation and development); the Secretariat (for providing studies, information, and facilities needed by the UN); the International Court of Justice (the primary judicial organ); and the United Nations Trusteeship Council (which is currently inactive). Other prominent UN System agencies include the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

One of the primary purposes of the United Nations is to maintain international peace and security. Since its creation, the UN has often been called upon to prevent disputes from growing into war, to persuade opposing parties to use the conference table rather than force of arms, or to help restore peace when armed conflict does break out. Over the decades, the UN has helped to end numerous conflicts, often through actions of the Security Council – the primary organ for dealing with issues of international peace and security. The Security Council, the General Assembly and the Secretary-General all three play a major role in maintaining peace and security. United Nations activities cover the principal areas of conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping, enforcement and peace building.

General Indar Jit Rktye, 1 – the former President of the International Peace Academy defines peace keeping as being [1]“The prevention, limitation, moderation and cessation of hostilities between or within States due to the intervention of a third-party, which is organized and directed at the international level and which calls upon military, police and civilian personnel to restore peace.”

In 1948, the first peacekeeping mission was launched. This mission, the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), was sent to the newly created State of Israel, where a conflict between the Israelis and the Arab states over the creation of Israel had just reached a ceasefire. The UNTSO remains in operation to this day, although the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict has not stopped. Almost a year later, the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) was authorized to monitor relations between the two nations, which were split off from each other following the United Kingdom’s decolonization of the Indian Subcontinent.

In 1988, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the United Nations peacekeeping forces. The press release stated that the forces represent the evident will of the community of nations and have made a decisive contribution to the resolution of conflict around the world.

Since 1991, which is the end of the Cold War, a shift in UN and multilateral peacekeeping was noticed. In a new spirit of cooperation, the Security Council established larger and more complex UN peacekeeping missions, often to help implement comprehensive peace agreements between characters in intra-State conflicts and civil wars. Furthermore, peacekeeping came to involve more and more non-military elements that ensured the proper functioning of civic functions, such as elections. The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations was created in 1992 to support this increased demand for such missions.

[2]The attack on the World Trade Center on 11 September 2001 ‘dramatized the global threat of terrorism’, while focusing attention upon ‘reconstructing weak or collapsed states’. The Secretary-General has also emphasized the need to replace the culture of reaction by one of prevention and by developing inter alia a thirty to ninety-day deployment capability.

Tools for peace and security

The United Nations has developed many tools for controlling and resolving conflicts between and within the States. The most important of them are preventive diplomacy and peacemaking, peace-keeping, peace-building, arms reduction, sanctions, and peace enforcement.

The first three instruments can be implemented only with the consent of the parties to the conflict. On the other hand, sanctions and enforcement don’t require the consent of the party concerned. Arms reduction can take place on an agreed basis forcefully.

The United Nations does not have or claim a monopoly of any of these tools. All, and most of them have been employed by regional organizations, but the United Nations has unparalleled experience of them and it is to the United Nations that the international community has turned increasingly since the end of the cold war. The United Nations system is also better equipped than regional organizations and they apply the broad, long-term approach, needed to ensure the lasting resolution of conflicts.

Specialized agencies under UN that contribute to peace

There are other UN organizations that help promote a culture of peace. [3]The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) helps to protect the rights of children. It carries out both preventive initiatives to help promote the education of children in developing countries and protective actions to help children in times of war, when they are often the most vulnerable victims. Indeed, if the future is to be ensured, it is important that children be educated and not be mistreated. Children ensure a country’s future. Ensuring, that children are not mistreated helps both to develop a country’s capacities and to prevent, as much as is possible, the outbreak of future conflicts.

In addition, [4]the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) helps to promote a culture of peace by developing information programs for women, especially with regard to sex education. It provides women with all the necessary information and resources. This allows them to make fully informed decisions and contribute to a better management in controlling population.

As well, the World Health Organization (WHO) promotes scientific cooperation in health matters, helps reinforce health systems and assists governments which ask for emergency aid.

The World Food Program (WFP) promotes better nutrition by using food aid to support economic and social development. [5]It is helped in this by the FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which sets up programs to help foster greater agricultural productivity, thereby fighting hunger and poverty around the world. Hunger and poverty are two important factors in the outbreak of conflicts.

All of these UN programs are attempting to prevent conflicts and have a world that is free of violence. However, it will take some time before we reach this goal.


UN is playing a very important role on its part for maintenance of International peace and security, through its various agencies like UNICEF, UNESCO, WHO, UNDP, ILO, UNHRC which apart from peace keeping are ensuring general welfare. According to critics though UN is working but it is not an independent body in itself. In reality it is operated by various members nation which usually look after their interest first. Even the critics come to point out that there is no provision of peace keeping in the UN Charter. Although there are many criticisms against the UN but still we can observe that UN is working for the general welfare of the masses.


[1] Hoge, Warren. “Indar Jit Rikhye, UN Peacekeeping Adviser, Dies at 86.”  28 May 2007. Web. 24 Feb. 2013.

[2] “Millennium Report of the Secretary-General, 2000.” UN News Center. UN, Web. 24 Feb. 2013

[3] “Children’s Protection and Civil Rights.” Web. 25 Feb. 2013. <;

[4] “Is Peace in the World a Utopian Dream? The Role of TheUnited Nations.” Peace: The Role of the United Nations.. Web. 24 Feb. 2013. <;.

[5] “ Is Peace in the World a Utopian Dream? The Role of TheUnited Nations.” Peace: The Role of the United Nations. Web. 24 Feb. 2013. <;.