Reforming the U.N.

June 24, 2016 • Volume 26, Issue 24
Does the United Nations need to change to stay relevant?
By Reed Karaim


A team from the U.N.'s World Health Organization administers polio drops to a child (AFP/Getty Images/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Rana Sajid)
A team from the U.N.'s World Health Organization administers polio drops to a child in the Pakistani city of Lahore on May 24. The U.N. vaccinates some 58 percent of the world's children against polio and other diseases, according to the Better World Campaign. (AFP/Getty Images/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Rana Sajid)

Seventy-one years after its founding, the United Nations remains a work in progress. Established in 1945 after a murderous world war, the new international organization set out to achieve peace and prosperity around the globe. Its supporters cite a record of success in many areas: The U.N. helped keep the Cold War from turning hot, its peacekeepers routinely monitor post-conflict zones, and it has promoted economic development, education and better health for hundreds of millions of people. But critics say the U.N. is an ineffectual colossus made up of 193 bickering member nations, overseen by a bloated and inefficient bureaucracy whose operations are plagued by corruption. Reform is needed at both the governing and bureaucratic level, they say, to ensure the organization remains relevant in the new century, and the Security Council — dominated by the United States and four other big powers — needs to expand to include more permanent members representing emerging nations such as India.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
United Nations
Jun. 24, 2016  Reforming the U.N.
Sep. 04, 2012  Millennium Development Goals
Mar. 20, 2012  Assessing the United Nations
Apr. 2007  World Peacekeeping
Feb. 27, 2004  The United Nations and Global Security
Aug. 18, 1995  United Nations At 50
Jul. 27, 1990  A Revitalized United Nations in the 1990s
Oct. 04, 1985  United Nations at Forty
Aug. 29, 1975  United Nations at Thirty
Oct. 05, 1966  Future of the United Nations
Aug. 19, 1964  United Nations Peacekeeping
Sep. 18, 1963  Afro-Asians in United Nations
Mar. 07, 1962  United Nations Financing
Sep. 12, 1961  United Nations Reorganization
Jun. 20, 1960  United Nations: 1945–1960
Jan. 09, 1957  Policing by United Nations
Mar. 28, 1952  Treaties and Domestic Law
May 28, 1948  Revision of the United Nations
Sep. 18, 1946  Veto Power in United Nations
Jun. 12, 1945  National Sovereignty
Apr. 05, 1945  San Francisco, Yalta, and Dumbarton Oaks
Civil Wars
Cold War
Conflicts in Africa
Conflicts in Asia
Economic Development
General International Relations
Global Issues
Humanitarian Assistance
International Economic Development
International Law and Agreements
Middle East Conflicts
United Nations
War and Conflict
World War II