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United Nations Organization which was formed mainly to maintain peace throughout the world undergone and transform in many ways. Through its various mandates and operations, it seeks to establish peace during various conflicts. Here, we are analysing the role of the UN in changing time from traditional historic outlook to post-cold war era and the current global era. We'll briefly analyse the short term and long term impact of UN operations which broadly seek to reduce conflicts, maintain peace and fostering human development at large by developing human capabilities around the world.

Since its inception, the UNO is playing a key role in maintaining order and stability throughout the world, providing humanitarian assistance, economic development, enhancing all aspects of human life. The following chapter is trying to analyse the role of UN in two different time frame- during cold war era in which UN couldn't much achieve in establishing peace as most of the world was divided into two hostile camps while it has made enormous progress in other fields like human rights, liberation movement, disarmament etc. Secondly in the post-cold war era, various new issues reached on international forum. The further section will analyse India's relationship with the United Nations. Lastly, we will try to have a look at what UNO has achieved till date and what are its failures?


In 1939, it has been ascertained that the League of Nations was not as effective as an international organization. This organization was formed during the First World War (1914-1919). In 1939, during the Second World War, this organization became unable as well as ineffective. In 1941, the representatives of several countries respectively New Zealand, Canada, Australia and so on had a meeting at London. It was the first conferences among the six conferences. In 1944, the representatives of the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK), the Soviet Union and the Republic of China had a conference in Washington DC for establishing an international organization. In this respect, their collaborative effort and participation with various discussions that were also related with the aftermath of World War 2 (1939-1945), had led to the formation of United Nations Organization (UNO) on 24th October in 1945 (Moore and Pubantz, 2017). It was the replacement of the predecessor, League of Nations.

The president of the US, Franklin D. Roosevelt is one of the co-founders of UNO. He predominately confided that UNO possessed the power to solve every occurring minor problem that arose amidst the great powers of the world. In addition to it, he was strongly interested in the protection and prevention of human rights internationally. In this respect, UNO has been able to achieve success in amplifying human rights, economic development, health, education and also many aspects. In addition to it, the UNO also accentuates in integrating the people with a sense of collectivism with the development of friendly relations with the countries. In this respect, social progress is also noticeable. Roosevelt did not want that the UN would also suffer like its predecessor, League of Nations. Being an international organization, UNO had also developed a strong and effective association with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other social bodies. The collective mission of these bodies was to bring peace and harmony for the wellbeing of the people. The first meeting of the General Assembly was announced in 1946. The purpose of the leaders of the UN was also to bring peace and prosperity by preventing inner conflicts in order to resist all the wars that might be appeared in future. But it seemed to be impossible for the UN to bring harmony during the Cold War where the Soviet Union had left the Union States in a unique position that had created a wide range of problems for United Nation Organization.

United Nations in the Cold War Era

The United Nations had placed itself as a Cold War battlefield between the communist and non-communist countries. The United Nations was trying to providing proper security for the armed forces during the Cold War while makes a peaceful settlement between these two countries was failing. The founders of the UN scrutinized that UNO would not be able to prevent the inner conflicts between these two countries. It is the symbolism of failure of the UNO in fulfilling all its desired principles and rules in the Cold War. Apart from this, the Security Council of UN was also not performing effectively as they were failed in keeping the peace during this convulsive commotion.

During this cold war era, another astonishment for the UN was the Korean War. In this respect, UN censured North Korea for the attack on democratic South Korea. UN and US soldiers were also sent to fight against Korea. In this respect, it is transparent that the UN was undoubtedly supporting South Korea. The conflicts of the Cold War were carried on until 1991 when the Soviet Union became Russia. The UN has faced growing issues as per the aftermath of the Cold War (Messer, 2017). But the UN offered such ceasefires situations on the ground where the governments could resolve those occurring conflicts. UN also expanded in peacekeeping approach by implementing such complex peace plans that would focus on the human rights of the people.

Newly independent nations were keen to join the UN as a sign of their sovereignty. Gradually, the majority of nations in the General Assembly were developing countries. In 1964, UNCTAD was founded by developing countries. Immense progress has been made in the area of human rights through important conventions and declarations. These events defined, codified and developed international law. Moreover, UN specialized agencies like UNICEF, UNESCO and world food program were established and achieved much in their respective fields.


The United Nations got the chance to felicitate proper transformation at the time of the cold war come to an end. It also observed that the united nation got the green signal for functioning properly. The United Nation started to work properly when the proper reinforcement made by the cooperation in the ‘security council’ to create obstacles in front of Iraq to attack Kuwait (Mingst and Karns, 2019). However, the emerging conflictions highlight that the state sovereignty and non-intervention challenges could not properly be addressed by the ‘An agenda for peace’ program. Even in countries like Somalia, Yugoslavia, Cambodia, and Rwanda many kinds of internal conflicts created after the cold war. The last interstate traditional dispute was the Gulf War. The UN called to mitigate these problems as the internal conflictions emerged rapidly. However, the UN did not take these conflicts into account at the time of making the charters. So, it becomes difficult for the UN to handle these conflicts and as a result, the UN will unable to properly address these problems.

There are some traditional norms of the United Nations and these are no use of power for keeping the peace operations and no interventions in the affairs of the country’s own. However, to control the internal conflictions the UN needs to compromise with these ideologies. To provide security to the UN personnel in Rwanda, Bosnia, and Somalia and for the relief of humans, the SC allows them to take enforcing actions. It affects the credibility of the organization.

When the cold war finished, a new pattern of interaction was introduced and the old type of interaction obsoletes or changed. Dissatisfaction occurs in some of the counties that were members of the UN but there was no political power to manage the organization. To work as per the norms of the charter, the UN needs reformation. However, the powerful nations play an important role in the reformation of the UN as the United Nations is the semi-governmental body. Thus the US policies have manipulation over the UN because of the US one of the superpowers that time which helps the UN to solve the problems of Somalia and Yugoslavia.

As the conflicts grew worldwide, the troops sending countries even the US were reluctant to commit personnel with UN operations. The failure of the UN in Somalia, Bosnia and Rwanda negatively affected the willingness of contributing countries. Obviously, it's quite difficult for any government to justify why its own people die in conflicts that the public doesn't understand and a compelling political interest cannot be illustrated. So it's necessary to materialize the discussed proposals on an Agenda for Peace about peacekeeping, peacebuilding to keep alive the UN operations in future. It's important to find new sources for funding the UN's security activities. Also, it's important that none of the reform proposals should be done in an incremental fashion in response to urgent emergencies. It must reflect a long term plan aimed to provide UN required capability to respond quickly to request for peacekeeping involvement.

At the same time, in the post-cold war era UN provides a platform for discussing and negotiating many important global issues which have bearing on social and economic development. Many new issues such as environment, terrorism, became the subject of international discussion. For instance many climate summits such as Intergovernmental panel on climate change 1990, UN Earth Summit 1992, Kyoto Protocol 1997, and talks on the concept of Sustainable development and broader social issues like poverty eradication, providing education for all paved the way for the development of human capital mainly for developing countries.

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