How can we modernize the United Nations?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Since its creation, there has been near-unanimous consensus that the United Nations (UN) needs modernization to deal with the crises confronting the global community. Several internal studies within the UN come to a conclusion that reforming the international body is critical to its long-term viability, credibility, and effectiveness. The obstacles to reform are often the members of the United Nations themselves. Many see the words "reform" and "modernization" as code for further disempowerment of less influential nations and maintaining the status quo of the influence of China, Russia, the United States, and European coalitions.

Though the UN is a body formed conceptually to provide a forum for equal voices within the member nations, many of its members believe the organization is another one of the myriads of international organizations that funnel political influence from the economically sound Big Four. The view is that a few dominate the UN, and, rather than advancing a global perspective, the United Nations is a channel to promote the views of the dominant members. The first needed modernization is to give more significant voice to developing countries in making decisions.

Overall, the United Nations does some remarkably good work in many parts of the world, given the heavy-handed and burdensome bureaucracy managing the UN programs (in my view). Bureaucratic reform is the second area most ripe for modernization. The method, control, management, and accountability for the distribution of resources is under constant fire for being inefficient and wasteful. The archaic systems used for tracking data are insufficient to manage an organization as large as the United Nations. The result is that many resources that should go directly to countries in need seldom solve the problem they are allocated to address, and in some instances, they never reach the intended beneficiaries. According to UN internal audits, fraud and waste are standard practices. Modernizing the system for tracking is necessary for the UN to remain viable in the modern world.

The United Nations, by all accounts, has some internal problems that seem to prevent the organization from achieving its vision and mission. Despite the obstacles presented by unequal power-sharing and outdated systems, the United Nations is a vital component to maintaining world peace and, at the very least, in keeping communication lines open between the competing world powers.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial