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The UN in Decline

Edited by Jay Taber on June 18, 2012
In The Other UN, Le Monde diplomatique contributor Anne-Cecile Robert gives an overview of the missions of the three UN headquarters outside the one in Manhattan. Writing from Vienna, Robert notes, The UN's supremacy on the international stage is eroding partly because its founding texts retain a humanist philosophy which is alien to the globalised economic order.As a bureaucracy that employs 44 thousand people worldwide, the big bureaucracy has become synonymous with big business interests. Yet, this tarnished image, says Robert, obscures the other UN work on such problems as landmines and refugees.In The UNHCR's Evolving Mandate, Le Monde diplomatique contributor Augusta Conchiglia reports that 50 million people are now uprooted. As the result of wars, politics, and large scale international development projects [including those of other UN agencies] leading to one humanitarian crisis after another, internally displaced persons now exceed other forced migrations.With the growing inequalities worldwide, however, the debate in Europe, observes, Conchiglia, is on how to prevent the entry of people, rather than how to provide their countries with the political and economic support they need.In New Challenges, Le Monde diplomatique writer Antonio Guterres notes that displacement shows no signs of abating. Indeed, refugees returning have dropped by 80%, while at the same time, the number of places available for resettlement currently accommodates less than 1% of the global refugee population.As Guterres remarks, impoverishment combined with easy access to arms results in increased conflict and political instability. As generators of both, the members of the UN Security Council have a lot to answer for.Beginning June 20, Le Monde diplomatique looks at the UN in Decline.
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