Mission Is Cloudy – 70 Years of UN & International Bureaucracy

Today 70 years and half a trillion dollars later after the creation of the UN, we are faced with several legitimate questions. What the UN, and its complex systems of International Bureaucracy, has achieved in practical terms, e.g. for the poor, environment, water, agriculture, food, illiteracy, energy, climate, biodiversity, quality of life and in particular water and air …… sustainable developments and many many more? Also, how the future would like in terms of these aspects? 

Well, the United Nations has saved millions of lives and boosted health and education across the world. But what happened with the billions of people that were added to the world population since WW-II, i.e. about 4.5 billions? Did the majority of these new comers got better life and future, escape poverty and illiteracy, get better health, education and employment? As majority of the growing population, i.e. billions of them, is taking place in developing countries, then we can ask: what about affordability and accessibility to the basic needs as defined by the 21-century standards? Did the developing countries advance in the same way as the developed world did after WW-II? Whatever the answer is, it remains imperative to ask what would be the impacts of such trends on the global sustainability and what the developed world, modern technology and R&D did to save the planet Earth from total collapse?

In this context, what would be the future role of UN and its complex, ineffective bureaucratic systems? How would the UN and its bureaucratic systems change from “know-about” systems to “know-how” organizations with effectively managed instruments of implementation? What would be the next practical plans for effective actions and measures to achieve the so-called UN-SDG?

In a changing world with new powers of Internet, Google, Apple, Amazon, Ali Express, …. and the whole web of Social Media Instruments what would be the new role of the UN and its bloated international bureaucracy with undemocratic and ineffective cost-benefits solutions for the majority of the world population in particular the affordability and accessibility to basic life needs according to the 21-century standards?

It is totally true what Dag Hammarskjöld said, the tragic second UN secretary general, who had it best “The United Nations was created not to lead mankind to heaven but to save humanity from hell”? Did the UN save humanity from hell? More interesting what did Dag Hammarskjöld mean by hell? The kind of hell Dag Hammarskjöld had in mind was not hard to imagine in the wake of world war, massive destruction and with the atom bomb’s shadow spreading across the globe. But these threats are now more or less over and new emerging hells are either existing or soon facing us. 

Since it was set up in 1945, the UN helped save millions from other kinds of hell, e.g. the deepest of poverty, save children die of treatable diseases, starvation and exposure to classical wars. The UN’s children’s organisation, Unicef, provided an education and a path to a better life for millions. The UN’s development programmes were instrumental in helping countries newly freed from colonial rule to govern themselves. But in the very shadow of these achievements and on wide-scale prespective, the UN agencies ‘broke and failing’ in face of an ever-growing refugee crisis, global poverty, climate change and global warming, environmental threats and ecological degradation, the very late introduction and the ineffective implementation of UN-SDG with ultra-slow transformation speed to more sustainable future for planet Earth.

In its 70 years, the United Nations may have been hailed as the great hope for the future of mankind – but it has also been dismissed as a shameful organization with numbing bureaucracy, institutional cover-ups of corruption and undemocratic politics of its security council. Policies to go to war in the name of peace with no measures to clean up after collapse of states after wars and ineffective support for millions of victims.

These imperfections have now come to the surface and pressing the UN and its organisation to define its role in the 21st century. Tensions between western governments and developing countries have rippled across the organisation as ballooning costs drive the push for reform. The UN is overly bureaucratic and slow in the way it dealt with development issues. The UN has many organisations with overlapping mandates. It’s built systems on top of systems on top of systems with structures that protect the incompetence and ineffectiveness. Cooperation between organisations has been hindered by competition for funding, mission creep and by outdated business practises. This is clear in water, energy and environment sectors with many UN agencies are active and compete for limited resources without a clear collaborative framework. What we have now is another multiplication of targets and goals which are an extraordinarily comprehensive assessment of what’s needed to be done but there’s no operational clarity around them. Who’s going to do it? Who’s going to monitor it? Who’s accountable for it? The goals themselves are pretty impressive but it doesn’t say anything to the UN about what they should be doing.


But on the other hand the UN says it is the member states that fails to cooperate and to deliver effective local and regional solutions. The pile-up of mis- managements on local and regional scales is the major reasons for how the world looks like as it does today (http://m.sputniknews.com/world/20151023/1028980091/United-Nations-70-Years.html). 

So, in any case reforms are necessary and imperative to bring about remarkable changes for the majority of the world population. BUT WHAT,  HOW AND WHEN?

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