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Successes and Failures of the United Nations

Updated on November 13, 2015

United Nations Organisation was established after World War II with a motto to maintain world peace. And this in fact is known to every one of us in general. But the question is, was this really successful in doing the same i.e., maintaining the peace in every part of the world or are there any failures? Perhaps this is also one of the most important area to assess. Successes and Failures of the United Nations since its establishment, i believe is a very essential topic to be focused. Here are some of the positive roles played by UN and its failures.

Successes of the United Nations

  • The First and foremost it has prevented the occurrence of any further world wars. Instrumental in the maintenance of international balance of power.
  • 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.
  • Demise of colonialism and imperialism on one hand and apartheid on the other had UN sanctions behind them.
  • UN Acted as vanguard for the protection of human rights of the people of the world, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948.
  • Despite crippled by Bretton Woods Institutions, UN has played limited but effective role on economic matters. Supported the North-South dialogue and aspired 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 world body was also instrumental in institutionalization of international laws and world legal frame work.
  • Passage of various conventions and declarations on child, women, climate, etc, highlights the extra-political affairs of the otherwise political world body.
  • It has successfully controlled the situation in Serbia, Yugoslavia and Balkan areas.
  • A number of peace missions in Africa has done reasonably well to control the situation.

Failures of the United Nations

  • UN opinion on Hungary and Czechoslovakia were ignored by the erstwhile Soviet Union in 1950s.
  • Israel had been taking unilateral action through decades in its geographical vicinity and nothing substantial has come out even by September 2010.
  • No emphatic role in crisis of worst kinds like the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam crisis etc.
  • UN was nowhere in the picture when the NATO rained bombs over former Yugoslavia.
  • Uni-polarity and unilateralism has shaken the relevance of the world body. Unilateral action in Iraq was bereft of UN sanction.
  • Failed to generate a universal consensus to protect the deteriorating world climate, even at Copenhagen in 2009.
  • Number of nuclear powers in the world has kept on increasing. UN Could not control the horizontal expansion and proliferation of weapons and arms.
  • Financial dependence on the industrialized nations has at times deviated UN from neutrality and impartiality.
  • The world body has failed to reflect the democratic aspiration of the world. Without being democratic itself, it talks of democratization of the world.
  • Aids is crossing regions and boundaries both in spread and intensity.
  • Domestic situation of near anarchy in Iraq and many regions of Afghanistan, despite on active UN. The US President scheme of withdrawal has not able to bring any specific solutions in the region. In fact, the situation has been further aggravated.
  • The UN totally exposed in the case of US invasion on Iraq in name for the search weapon of mass destruction. US has withdrawn its combat forces but the law and order and mutual distrust has worsened and at this juncture UN seems to be clueless.


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      khaliq 5 weeks ago

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      S K Sattar 6 months ago

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      Poonam Lamba 11 months ago

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      Raj Shetty 2 years ago


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      Loice 2 years ago

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      absolutely fantastic

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      dog 2 years ago

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      PorkGriblet 2 years ago

      good stuff

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      goldey 2 years ago

      thanks...the information helped me in my history project... : )

    • profile image

      goldey 2 years ago

      u helpd me through my project

    • profile image

      abhighna 2 years ago

      it was very useful for me

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      Romisa khan 2 years ago

      thnxxxx an awesome info.... it help me a lot about my UN subject

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      Nijesh from india 2 years ago

      Its really good

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      Naboth 3 years ago

      the u n has got too much work load to attend to,dont be so harsh on it.just imagine if it never existed,there would be strife,anachy,attrocities being perpertrated on a quotidian basis,life would be nasty,brutish.we would have found ourselves in the state of nature.appreciate the efforts by the u n coz the league of nations was just a toothless bulldog with no eyes

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      larissa johnson 3 years ago

      Am very greatful for all the efforts of the uno in securing peace, promotting less developed countries n more to that providing for the refugees. but e uno has failed in solving the issue of the moslem sect called the Boko Haram which is a threat to Nigeria and the northern part of Cameroon.

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      bernard kabila 3 years ago

      Un has failed to maintain peace even during the Falkland saga they even have consentrated on promoting gay rights instead of peace promotion

      The human rights should also consider the local senario for Africa gay rights is not to be promoted with or without UN support.

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      babu 4 years ago

      good appreciated feedback

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      Nito 4 years ago

      thanks for ur info, n bdawae pls keep updating.... N once agan thank u.......

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      suresh 4 years ago

      help for my debate chandra

    • pramodgokhale profile image

      pramodgokhale 4 years ago from Pune( India)

      UNO is not a failure because it was dominated by super powers USA, USSR , European nations group and five powers were given veto power then they were dictating the situation.

      After WW--II UNO was formed in place of League of Nations. Cold war period these nations were crying for peace but actually they sold arms to the nations engaged in war. Deadlock of Palestine is still not resolved because USA decides when to resolve.

      Recently Indian diplomat Shashi Tharrur contested for the post of Secretary general's post but he was defeated by western group

      against India (USA+EU+JAPAN+CHINA+PAKISTAN) This is a western conspiracy against India. India should get veto right , but denied.

      There is a bright side United nations when they donated food and other aid to developing nations. India has been benefited by their many schemes and with open mind I admire UNO contribution to the developing nations's growth.

      thank you

      pramod gokhale

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      Thyaga Withana 4 years ago

      UNO is a failure.It's very viible now as it hasn't took any action against Korian war which is about 2 break out.I thiknk it is silent because USA has involved in it.Is UNO afraid of USA?

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      lakshmee 4 years ago

      these information can be good for presentation.

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      Gavin Davies 4 years ago

      I believe that that the cases in the former Yugoslavia, Somalia and Rwanda, amongst others, should be put onto the FAILURES list. The UN were completely overwhelmed by these case and their Peace Missions were a failure.

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      memoona 4 years ago

      such nice information it helped me a lot thanks

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      Hataf Siyal 5 years ago

      I would like to add up the Kashmir Dispute on the list of UN's failure.

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      Luqman khan 5 years ago

      Great work indeed. It thoroughly worked out to shedding light on the pros & cons of this gigantic world organization.


    • shampa sadhya profile image

      Shampa Sadhya 5 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA

      Hello dilipchandra12,

      Voted up and useful!

      This article of yours helped me to guide my son in doing his holiday homework for Social Studies. Very nicely and categorically written. It really helped me a lot. Many many thanks for it. Well Done!

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      Freakout gal 5 years ago

      Da failures of da un is mostly due 2 dis irrational veto power. . Y shud only 5 countries get dis exclusive power of denying da decision of da obvios majority. . Dis veto shud b remuvd if un reali wants 2 do sumthng worthwhile

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      Kiki C. 5 years ago

      Nicely done, very good info (:

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      msexyniknowit 5 years ago

      I LOVE U, u saved my life coz my assingments due tomo and its 12 midnight already :o

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      Mohamed Sallieu Barrie, Hons.1, peace studies,F.B.C 5 years ago

      Let us reflect our memories to the sad event that took place in RWANDA,I call it the 'genocrime'! An estimated figure of 800.000 were killed. Children and women experienced the worst. All these were committed infront of the no.1 body in the world whose claims are to 'maintain international peace and security.' Where is the peace? Where is the security? The UN as far as I know is just a toothless buldog.

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      Mohamed Sallieu Barrie, Hons.1, peace studies,F.B.C 5 years ago

      The UN? Just a " decoration", post-defacto legislations, resolutions after mass-killings. As in the case of Sierra leone, Res. 1132 gave legal backing to ECOMOG intervention.

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      History assignment 5 years ago

      Mehn.....tanx guyz dis has and will b greatly helpful 4 my history assignment...keep it up....

      Abt UN deir is no org witout it is only a fullfillmental idealogy 4 it 2 b biased and partial.....and i ciriously dnt blame it cos dere is no oda option...due 2 poverty if it were 2 b impartial wit dis big 5(u knw dem).

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      After the people's war in Nepal stopped, United Nations came to Nepal to monitor peace process. The peace process is still ongoing but the UN mission in Nepal has halted. Maybe this is another failure of UN.

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      Wusu Conteh 5 years ago

      The United Nations has registered series of failures since its inception. In the first place, the formation itself is clear indication. Why was is that only five countriers among hundreds were given veto power to deny a decision taken by the majority. Second, the world body most time respond to issue at the eleventh hours.

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      LoSt iN lOvE bAbY 6 years ago

      This will help me a lot for my U.N. project in global history. 10 pages rambling on about their failures

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      divya kanica 6 years ago

      thanks............this really helped me in my history project.

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      Johnattan 6 years ago

      Having read this text and another sources, there's no doubt that the United Nations has failed a lot (much more than succeeded). This failures are the consequences of the problems that the organization have. For example, the UN has a corrupt system, where their staff live and luxurious lifestyle, their priorities to their own problems, etc. And they're really playing with our lifes! The time they spend solving their little needs, PLENTY OF PEOPLE ARE DYING! This corrupt society is turning into a completely disaster! Anyways, in spite of this huge organization problem, their successful missions have changed many nations lifes and althought they could do more, this changes are great for this society.

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      whatmore chagonda 6 years ago

      basing on the failures of the united nations in actual fact the european desire to take it on their control was the major cause of the failures and also as according to the realist theory the international system is a brutal arena where the fit will survive @ the expence of the weak.

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      Isaac Velez 7 years ago

      Thanks this has helped a lot. Awesome info.

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      abhilasha 7 years ago

      it helped me a lot in my eng activity

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      nextstopjupiter 7 years ago from here, there and everywhere

      You write about (near) anarchy in Iraq and many regions of Afghanistan, but I think it is not right to call the situation in these countries anarchy because anarchy means order without authority (or self government). The right term to describe the situation in these countries is chaos.