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The United Nations was created in the aftermath of a devastating war, in order to help stabilize international relations and give greater consistency to peace.
In the midst of the threat of nuclear war and regional conflicts that seemed to have no end, peace missions have become an absolute priority of the United Nations. During the process, blue helmet activities have become the most visible role of these activities associated with this worldwide organization.
The United Nations, however, is much more than peace missions and forums for conflict resolution. The United Nations and its vast network of agencies are involved, often unnoticed, in a vast series of work covering all aspects of people’s lives around the world.
Survival and development of children. Protection of the environment. Human rights. Health and medical research. Poverty alleviation and economic development. Agricultural development and the fishing industry. Education. Family planning. Assistance in case of emergency or disaster. Travel by sea and air. Peaceful uses of atomic energy. Rights of workers. The list goes on. Here we have given you a short list of what the United Nations organizations have achieved since its founding in 1945.
MAINTENANCE OF PEACE AND SECURITY
Through the deployment of peacekeepers and observer missions, the United Nations has succeeded in re-establishing the necessary calm to allow negotiation processes to continue, while preventing millions of people from becoming victims of conflict.
Since 1945, the United Nations has gained recognition for having negotiated many peace treaties that have ended regional conflicts. Recent cases include the end of the Iran-Iraq war, the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan and the end of the civil war in El Salvador. The United Nations has made peacekeeping diplomacy the tool to prevent imminent wars.
The United Nations has made it possible for people from many countries to participate in fair and fair elections, including those held in Cambodia, Namibia, El Salvador, Eritrea, Mozambique, Nicaragua, South Africa, Kosovo and Timor-Leste. They have provided electoral advice, assistance and monitoring of results
PROMOTION OF DEVELOPMENT
The United Nations system has devoted more attention and resources to promoting the development of human qualities and potentials than any other external aid effort. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP), in close collaboration with Member States and other UN agencies, designs and implements projects for agriculture, industry, education and the environment. Support more than 5000 projects. It is the largest multilateral source of development aid.
PROMOTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the United Nations has been instrumental in passing dozens of comprehensive agreements on political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights. Through the investigation of individual complaints of human rights abuses, the UN Commission on Human Rights has drawn worldwide attention to cases of torture, disappearances and arbitrary detentions, and has succeeded in bringing international pressure to bear on governments to improve their figures in relation to human rights.
The United Nations has played a vital role in creating a global program designed to protect the environment. The “Earth Summit”, the United Nations Congress on Development and Environment, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, resulted in several treaties on biodiversity and climate change, and all countries adopted “Agenda 21” , a program to promote sustainable development or the concept of economic growth while protecting natural resources.
PREVENT NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION
Through the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations has contributed to reducing the threat of nuclear war. They have inspected nuclear reactors in 90 countries to ensure that nuclear materials are not diverted for military use.
PROMOTION OF SELF-DETERMINATION AND INDEPENDENCE
The United Nations has played an important role in the achievement of independence by countries that are now among Member States.
STRENGTHENING OF INTERNATIONAL LAW
Thanks to the efforts of the United Nations, more than 300 international treaties have been signed on topics as diverse as human rights conventions or agreements to regulate the use of outer space or seabed.
STATEMENT ON JUDICIAL REMEDIES OF INTERNATIONALLY SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCES
Through the issuing of judgments and counseling opinions, the International Court of Justice has helped to resolve differences between countries, such as territorial disputes, non-interference in the internal affairs of States, diplomatic relations, hostage-taking, asylum, transit rights and economic rights.
END OF APARTHEID IN SOUTH AFRICA
Apartheid, which the General Assembly did not hesitate to describe as a “crime against humanity”, was largely eradicated by the United Nations, which took measures ranging from an arms embargo to a convention against events segregationist sports. Elections were held in April 1994, in which all South Africans were able to participate in an egalitarian manner, followed by the establishment of a majority government.
PROVISION OF HUMANITARIAN AID TO VICTIMS OF ARMED CONFLICT
Since 1951, more than 30 million refugees fleeing war, famine or persecution have received assistance from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in a continuing effort coordinated by the United Nations, often in collaboration with other agencies .
ASSISTANCE TO PALESTINIAN REFUGEES
Since 1950, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Middle East (UNRWA) has supported four generations of Palestinians by providing them with virtually free schooling, essential medical care, emergency aid and key social services.
RELIEF FROM CHRONIC HUNGER AND RURAL POVERTY IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has developed a system of lending, usually of small amounts, to the poorest and most marginalized groups, which has already benefited more than 230 million people in almost 100 developing countries.
PRIORITY FOR AFRICA’S DEVELOPMENT
For the United Nations Africa remains the top priority. In 1986 the United Nations convened a special series of meetings to obtain the necessary international support for Africa’s economic recovery and development. The United Nations has also established a system-wide operational force to ensure that the commitments made by the international community are met and that the objectives are met. The African Projects Promotion Service has helped entrepreneurs in 25 countries to find the necessary financing for new businesses. The Service has completed more than 130 projects, as well as creating more than 13,000 new jobs.
PROMOTION OF WOMEN’S RIGHTS
One of the long-term objectives of the United Nations has been to improve the living conditions of women, as well as give them greater autonomy so that they can have greater control over their own lives. During the International Women’s Decade, sponsored by the UN, several congresses established an agenda for the remainder of the century for the empowerment of women and their rights. The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW) have supported programs and projects to improve the status of women’s widows in more than 100 countries . These include credits and training courses, access to new food production technologies and marketing opportunities,
SAFE DRINKING WATER SUPPLY
Over the past decade, UN agencies have worked to deliver safe drinking water to more than 1.3 billion people in rural areas.
ERADICATION OF SMALLPOX
The 13-year effort by the International Health Organization resulted in the complete eradication of smallpox in 1980. This has saved about $ 1 billion a year in vaccines and supervision, almost three times which cost to eliminate the disease itself. The WTO also contributed to the elimination of polio from the West.
PRESSURE TO ACHIEVE UNIVERSAL IMMUNIZATION
Polio, tetanus, measles, whooping cough, diphtheria and tuberculosis still cause more than eight million children to die each year. In 1974, only five per cent of children in developing countries were vaccinated against these diseases. Thanks to the efforts of UNICEF and WHO, the rate now stands at 80%, saving the lives of more than three million children each year.
REDUCTION OF INFANT MORTALITY RATE
The infant mortality rate has halved since 1960 in developing countries, and life expectancy has grown from 37 to 67 years. This has been possible thanks to oral rehydration therapy, improved sanitation and water conditions and other nutrition and sanitary measures carried out by UN agencies.
FIGHT AGAINST PARASITIC DISEASES
The efforts made by UN agencies in North Africa to eliminate the dreaded screw worm, a parasite that feeds on human and animal flesh and is spread by flies, prevented this parasite from spreading to Egypt, Tunisia, Africa sub-Saharan Africa and Europe. In addition, a WHO program has saved seven million children from becoming blind and has cured many others from Guinea worm and other tropical diseases.
INVESTMENT PROMOTION IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
Through the efforts of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the United Nations has acted as a matchmaker for investments between North-South, South-South and East-West, promoting the initiative entrepreneurship and autonomy, industrial cooperation and technology exchange, as well as profitable and environmentally sensitive industry.
ORIENTATION OF ECONOMIC POLICIES TOWARDS SOCIAL NEEDS
Many UN agencies have stressed the need to take note of human needs in making economic adjustments and reshaping policies and programs, including measures to safeguard the poor, especially in the fields of health and education, and debt for children “.
REDUCTION OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF NATURAL DISASTERS
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has prevented millions of people from suffering the calamitous effects of both natural and human-induced disasters. Its early warning system, which uses thousands of surface controls as well as satellites, has provided information for the dispersal of oil spills, and has predicted long-term droughts. The system has made it possible to effectively distribute food aid to regions affected by drought, such as southern Africa in 1992.
PROVISION OF FOOD TO VICTIMS OF EMERGENCIES PROVISION OF FOOD TO VICTIMS OF EMERGENCIES
The World Food Program (WFP) distributes more than two million tons of food each year. Today there are 1.020 million malnourished people in the world. This means that at least one in six people does not have enough food to be healthy and lead an active life. Hunger and malnutrition are considered the main health risk worldwide, rather than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
The United Nations is leading an international effort to eliminate landmines from former battlefields in Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, El Salvador, Mozambique, Rwanda and Somalia, which still kill and maim thousands of innocent people every year.
PROTECTION OF THE OZONE LAYER
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) have played a key role in highlighting the damage to the Earth’s ozone layer. As a result of a treaty, known as the Montreal Treaty, there has been a global campaign to reduce the chemical emissions of substances that have caused the depletion of the ozone layer. This effort will reduce the risk that millions of people will get cancer from further exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
PUTTING A STOP TO GLOBAL WARMING
Through the Global Environment Facility countries have contributed abundant resources to curb the conditions that cause global warming. Increasing emissions of fossil fuels and changes in land-use methods have led to a concentration of gases in the atmosphere, prompting experts to think that this can lead to a warming of the temperature of the earth.
PREVENT DEPLETION OF FISH STOCKS
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) oversees marine fishery production and issues warnings to avoid damage caused by the depletion of fish stocks.
LIMITING DEFORESTATION AND PROMOTING THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF FORESTRY ENGINEERING
FAO, UNDP and the World Bank, through an Action Program for Tropical Forests, have formulated and implemented forest engineering action plans in 90 countries.
CLEANING OF POLLUTION
UNEP led a major campaign to clean up the Mediterranean Sea. He encouraged adversary countries like Syria and Israel, Turkey and Greece to collaborate to clean the beaches. As a result of this cooperation, more than 50 percent of previously contaminated beaches are now fit for use.
PROTECTION OF CONSUMER HEALTH
In order to ensure the safety of foods sold in markets, UN agencies have set minimum levels for more than 200 products and safety limits for more than 3,000 food packaging.
REDUCED FERTILITY RATES
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), through family planning programs, has been able to advise many people so that they can make responsible choices, and therefore has given families, especially women, greater control over their lives. As a result, women in developing countries are having fewer children. In 56 developing countries, the poorest fifth of the female population continues to have an average of five children, compared with 3.2 in the wealthiest quintile. In the 1960s, only 10 percent of families throughout the world used effective family planning methods. Currently this figure is around 55%.
FIGHT AGAINST DRUG ABUSE
The United Nations International Drug Control Program (UNDCP) has worked to reduce the demand for illegal drugs, to suppress drug trafficking and has helped farmers to reduce the economic dependence of the cultivation of narcotic products by shifting agricultural production towards other sources of decent income.
IMPROVING GLOBAL TRADE RELATIONS
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has worked to obtain preferential trade deals for developing countries so that they can export their products to developed countries. It has also negotiated international commodity agreements to ensure fair prices for developing countries. And through the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), now replaced by the World Trade Organization (WTO), the United Nations has supported trade liberalization, which will increase the economic development opportunities of developing countries.
PROMOTING ECONOMIC REFORMS
In collaboration with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations has helped many countries to improve their economic management, provided training courses for government finance officials, and provided financial assistance to countries experiencing difficulties in dealing with their payments.
PROMOTION OF WORKERS’ RIGHTS
The International Labor Organization (ILO) has worked to ensure the freedom of the right of association, the right to organize, collective bargaining, the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples, to promote employment and equal pay, and has sought to eliminate discrimination and child labor. In addition, by creating safety levels, the ILO has contributed to reducing the number of occupational accidents.
INTRODUCTION OF IMPROVED AGRICULTURAL TECHNIQUES AND COST REDUCTION
With the help of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Asian rice farmers have saved more than $ 12 million in pesticides, and governments over $ 150 million in pesticide subsidies, which has benefitted crops.
PROMOTING STABILITY AND ORDER IN THE WORLD’S OCEANS
Through three international congresses, the last of which lasted more than nine years, the United Nations has spearheaded an international campaign to promote a comprehensive global agreement for the protection, conservation and peaceful development of the oceans. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which entered into force in 1994, establishes the rules for the determination of national marine jurisdiction, navigation on the high seas, rights and duties of coastal states and others, the obligation to protect and conserving the marine environment, cooperation in how to conduct marine scientific research and the conservation of living resources.
IMPROVEMENT OF AIR AND SEA TRAVEL
The establishment of certain levels of safety for travel by air and sea is the responsibility of UN agencies. The efforts of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) have contributed to making air travel the safest way to travel. Namely: in 1947 nine million people traveled, and 590 lost their lives in aviation accidents; in 1993 the number of deaths was 936 compared to the 1.2 billion airline passengers. Over the past two decades, pollution from tanks has been reduced by up to 60 per cent thanks to the work of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
PROTECTION OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) protects new inventions and maintains a record of nearly three million registered national marks. It also protects the works of artists, composers and authors throughout the world through treaties. The work of WIPO makes it easier and cheaper for individuals and companies to enforce their property rights. It also extends opportunities to distribute new ideas and products without giving up control over property rights.
PROMOTING THE FREE CIRCULATION OF INFORMATION
To enable all people to obtain censorship-free and culturally-unbiased information, UNESCO has provided assistance to develop and strengthen communication systems, created new agencies and supported the independent press.
IMPROVING GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS
The Universal Postal Union (UPU) has maintained and regulated the international delivery of mail. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has coordinated the use of radio spectrum, promoted cooperation for the assignment of stationary satellite positions and established international standards for communications, thereby ensuring unrestricted information flow Worldwide.
EMPOWER GROUPS WITHOUT REPRESENTATION
UN-sponsored international years and congresses have made governments recognize the needs and contributions of groups usually excluded from decision-making, such as the elderly, children, youth, homeless people, indigenous people or the disabled.
ESTABLISHMENT OF “CHILDREN AS AN AREA OF PEACE”
From El Salvador to Lebanon, through Sudan or the former Yugoslavia, UNICEF has promoted the creation of “Days of Tranquility” and the opening of “Peace Corridors” to provide vaccines and other assistance desperately needed by children who are are involved in armed conflicts.
CREATE A GLOBAL COMMITMENT TO SUPPORT THE NEEDS OF CHILDREN
Thanks to UNICEF efforts, the Convention on the Rights of the Child entered into force as an international law in 1990 and became law in 166 countries by the end of September 1994. Following the 1990 World Summit for Children, convened by UNICEF, more than 150 governments committed themselves to reaching more than 20 measurable targets in order to radically improve the lives of children by the year 2000.
IMPROVING EDUCATION IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
As a direct result of the efforts of UN agencies, more than 60 percent of adults in developing countries now know how to read and write, and 90 percent of children in these countries go to school.
IMPROVING LITERACY AMONG WOMEN
Programs to promote the education and advancement of women have contributed to raising the female literacy rate in developing countries from 36 per cent in 1970 to 56 per cent in 1990.
SAFEGUARDING AND PRESERVING HISTORICAL, CULTURAL AND ARCHITECTURAL SITES
The ancient monuments of 81 countries, including Greece, Egypt, Italy, Indonesia and Cambodia, enjoy protection through UNESCO’s efforts, and international conventions to conserve cultural property have also been adopted.
FACILITATE ACADEMIC AND CULTURAL EXCHANGES
The United Nations, through UNESCO and the United Nations University (UNU), have encouraged scientific and intellectual cooperation, the interconnection of institutions and the promotion of cultural expressions, including those of minorities and indigenous peoples.