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Role of the United Nations in resolving issues of international peace and security as well as environmental issues.

Table of contents Abstract Introduction to UN Role in international peace and security Importance of United Nations role Success and failures UN experienced Role in environmental issues

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Since from a long time people from various countries had idea to have a universal entity that could control the world. Nevertheless, it failed due to asymmetric ideologies from peoples from various region. This concept again fuelled by the First World War and its consequences. The predecessor organization the UN was the League of Nations set after the occurrence of First World War and established in 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles to promote international cooperation and to achieve peace and security. However, the League of Nations did not fulfil its objectives and re-emerge of another world war led people to think more comprehensive and versatile international organization that would help to secure the world peace and human rights. As the biggest global forum, it has biggest challenges to face with international peace, Security, human rights, economic development, healthcare, disaster relief, and refugee aids, environmental issues and so on. This research paper will discuss Role of the United Nations in resolving issues of international peace and security as well as environmental issues.


Introduction to the UN

Since from a long time people of world had an idea to have a Supra universal body that they can contribute in to control and to be supervised. The idea was flourished in 1945 when majority of world nations came together to sign UN Charter. There are 196 sovereign states in the world and 193 countries are members of this origination. Therefore, this organization globally accepted and it has its jurisdiction over the world. The forerunner organization of the UN was the League of the Nation started under the Treaty of Versailles, after First World War in 1919 and its failure to prevent Second World War caused to death of that organization. A former US president Franklin D Roosevelt first used the word United Nation in the declaration prepared to bring 26 nations fight against Axis powers in 1942. Representatives of 50 countries including superpowers met in San Francisco at the United Nations Conference on International Organization to draw up the United Nations Charter specially focused on human rights in 1945. Those delegates mooted based on proposals worked out by the representatives of China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States at Dumbarton Oaks in United States in August-October 1944. The representatives of the 50 countries signed the Charter on 26 June 1945, later. Even if Poland was not represented at the Conference, it signed the UN Charter later and became one of the original 51 Member States. The Former secretary general of United Nations, Kofi A. Annan once said, So it is in international affairs. Why was the United Nations established, if not to act as benign police officer or doctor? Our job is to intervene: to prevent conflict where we can, to put a stop to it when it has broken out, when neither of those things is possible-at least to contain it and prevent it from spreading. That is what the world expects of us ,even though-atlas-the United nations by no means always lives up to such expectations The United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, when the Charter had been ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States and by a majority of other signatories. Hence, United Nations Day is celebrated on 24 October each year. By now. It has a membership of 193 countries, one observer state i.e. the Holy See, one observer entity, i.e. Palestine and several hundred observer organizations. There are 6 organs of United Nations.

General Assembly Security Council Economic and Social Council International Court of Justice Secretariat Trusteeship Council


They are:1. General Assembly This is the main body of the United Nation and this is very similar a world parliament. Each member has an equal vote (nonbinding) irrespective their size of economic stability. Once a year members of the United National are convoked to discuss or to cast votes for special issues on international peace and security, terrorism or any other issues. Elections of members to UN organs, draft resolutions, approval of budget etc. are other duties perform by this general assembly. 2. Security Council This is the main organ of the UN which is responsible for maintaining international security and peace. It has a power to issue binding resolution according to UN charter article 25. It is comprising of five permanent member countries and elected members for two years. The presidency of the Security Council rotates alphabetically each month. 3. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) The main objective of this organ to promote international economic and social co-operation and development in the world. (ECOSOC) comprises fifty-four members elected from the General Assembly for a term of three years. The president is elected for a one-year term and chosen amongst the small or middle powers represented on ECOSOC. ECOSOC has one annual meeting in July, held in either New York or Geneva. There are many NGOs and UN agencies are advised by (ECOSOC) in relation to issues connecting to indigenous peoples. As an example, the United Nations Forum on Forests, which coordinates and promotes sustainable forest management; the United Nations Statistical Commission, which coordinates information-gathering efforts between agencies; and the Commission on Sustainable Development, which coordinates efforts between UN agencies and NGOs working toward sustainable development. 4. Trusteeship Council This has been suspended by now due to the necessity. This was formed according to resolutions adopted the League of the Nation to manage to colonial possessions. This was shut down after independence of Palu the last territory in 1994. 5. International Court of Justice ( World Court) The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the primary judicial organ of the UN located in The Hague, Netherlands. (ICJ) was established in 1945 by the UN Charter, the Court began work in 1946 as the successor to the Permanent Court of International Justice. The ICJ is composed of 15 judges who are appointed by the General Assembly to serve 9-year terms. The ICJ's primary purpose is to adjudicate disputes among states. The court has heard cases related to war crimes, illegal state interference and ethnic cleansing, among others. The ICJ can also be called upon by other UN organs to provide advisory opinions. Therefore, this organ is very important to maintain world peace, law and order. 6. Secretariat This is the administrative body of UN headed by the Secretary-General. It provides studies, information, and facilities needed by United Nations bodies for their meetings. It also carries out tasks as directed by the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social 4|Page

Council, and other UN bodies. The Secretary-General acts as the de facto spokesperson and leader of the UN. The Secretary General is the Commander in Chief of the peacekeeping forces. The position is defined in the UN Charter as the organisation's chief administrative officer elected from the General Assembly for a term of five years. The position has evolved into a dual role of an administrator of the UN organisation, and a diplomat and mediator addressing disputes between member states and finding consensus to global issues. The Charter also empowers the Secretary-General to bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter, which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security. According the UN charter, The UN can set up special institutions, which are entrusted to perform special tasks. E.g. UNDP, UNICEF, WHO, UNHCR, UNEP etc.


Logos of various special organization under the umbrella of the UN

Role in International Peace and Security

Importance of United Nations role
The very reason for the existence of the UN is maintaining International peace security as we can observe through historical perspectives. It cannot defy its main cause to which The UN strictly adhere. Failures of forerunner organizations to prevent world war one and two inspired to have forge a most versatile intergovernmental organization. The aims of the UN are

to promote world peace to protect human rights to help developing countries by funding to promote better relations between countries to promote social, economic and cultural development to facilitate international law to facilitate international security

Therefore, world peace and international security are prime objectives in line with obligations of the UN. No other organization can be comparable to UN due to its representative and authoritative power. This universal organization has shown their vital contribution in various opportunities since then to world and its communities in various manners with special thrust on democracy, world peace and reconciliation. The UN Charter was determined to provide comprehensive guidance to conflict resolution, use of force and provide collective security of the members. Various odds and ebbs in the international peace and security context always result in chaotic situation in the world. The absolute magnitude of attempts of peacekeeping made by the UN in conflictual instances varied up on situations. There are lot of failures, and successes in the history while it minimizing the possibilities to most destructive Third World War up to this moment. The UN role at the intersection of democracy, peace and security is essential to maintenance the balance of the power of world. The UN is not only having or facilitating for a peace talks but also it would take preventive measures by improving Human Rights, democracy, poverty, international laws while supressing Nuclear arm race and small arm proliferation that has led to chaos in various region of the world. Therefore, the strategic position hold by the UN is the main point to maintain peace, security, law and order of the world even if it goes not only with current generation but also with future generations. UN has shifted its reactive position to proactive position by taking measurements to address root causes, which have propensity to be formed as conflicts in future before it happens. The new concept of R2P (responsibility to protect) is presented to the world in relation to engage in situations of concern prevailing over overly technical approach before the situation become worse. By formulating various plans and policies to address every detail, relating to the issue for ceasing conflicts is the main responsibility of the UN. The UN has highlighted has its stronghold in preventing conflicts international political context in most of aspects. Conflicts among countries frequently emerge from claims for resources and territories. Meanwhile, conflicts within a nation usually emerge from other kinds of misunderstandings caused by the race, the religion or lack of knowledge or the imbalanced distribution of resources etc. Poverty, the scarcity of the natural resources of countries, the brittleness of political entities, and other abusive 6|Page

actions are some of the usual reasons why conflicts emerge internally and in international political context. Therefore, conflicts that affect international peace and security are multifaceted due to various origins, consequences and impacts. The UN found, controlling those factors might create ineffective and unconducive environment for conflict to upsurge. For that reason, methods to reconcile are also various and complicated and after deliberate study would assist map the path to reconciliation. There are popular methods adopted by The UN to address conflict or chaos such as mediation, soft and hard diplomatic power, preventive diplomacy etc. These methods are used according to situations prescribed by the UN advisors. Even if there is, no direct provisions to deploy peacekeeping operations in UN charter in association with chapter V, VI, VII in the UN charter specifically, peacekeeping operations are inextricably linked with Pacific settlement of disputes in chapter VI. The UN, as the guarantor international peace and security has been empowered to take every measures to ensure international peace and security in capacity of mandating the deployment of UN, peacekeeping forces (UNPKF) comprising military personnel (Army, Navy and Air Force), Police and civilian staff. From the beginning, the UN has conducted 68 peacekeeping operations and currently it has 15 active peacekeeping missions conducted by DPKO (Department of Peace Keeping Operations) with a huge budget. It is apparently significant that what the UN has done from its beginning for international peace and security is perceptible as a whole. By retrospective study would help us to identify trends and pattern and it certainty in international peace and security where The UN dealt. Due the dedication and the efficacy of the UN, The UN has shown in this great deal that they won the world Nobel Prize for world peace in 2001 and United Nation peacekeeping force in 1988. According to the latest fact sheet provided by the UN, MONUSCO (United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) is the biggest while the UNMOGIP (UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan) is the smallest among Peace keeping missions. However, United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) have been stationed in the Middle East since 1948, the longest-running active peacekeeping mission According to article 39, the UN charter, in any moment, if the Security Council of The UN finds any occurrence that affects the international peace and security they may decide as a measurement for restoring or maintaining the peace whether peacekeeping mission is established after the approval of members. Then only the UN send peace keeping force to the place where the incident is occurring. This is not an easy process to implement as we think. Because, this decisions may jeopardize sovereignty of a country and this reason always remained as crucial and controversial fact. Most of the time, the Security Council have to meddle with intrastate conflicts e.g. Pakistan and India border conflict, Kuwait and Iraq clashes and so. The UN does not have its own force and therefore they will take military and police forces voluntarily provided by member states.

Success and failures that UN experienced

By looking in to the UN charter, we would be able to determine how far the UN achieved and whether we fulfil the aspiration of the ancestors of the UN. As a comprehensive document, the UN charter provides a set of guidelines in order to protect equity of the member states by ensuring the rule of law. Imperfection is not only common to humans but also common to organization controlled by the people. It is a norm to talk about plus points before minus points. By analysing those points, we would be able to be obvious whether the UN is committed to its basic principles. The UN is considered the de facto sole protector of powerless states and voiceless people because it was designed and empowered by the world to do so. 7|Page

United Nations (UN) peacekeeping has grown enormously since the end of the cold war. Within the cold war period, the division between USA and USSR paralyzed most of the operations of the UN allowing only cases far from interventions from those superpowers. Nevertheless, there are noteworthy successes achieved by the UN. As an example, the Security Council passed a resolution to repulse North Korean invasion in South Korea in 1947 notwithstanding the objection by USSR. The UN managed to perform as a glue to bind those rivals (supporters of USA and USSR)to take actions where it was necessary and were success in cases including cases of Namibia, Cambodia, El Salvador, and Mozambique. However, there were failures in cases of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rwanda and Somalia. It is very important to say that The UN has succeeded in every aspect of minimising possibilities of emerge Third World War by being active in maintenance of power of balance. Origins of World War are complicated and multifaceted in every manner and attempts those are also made to contain situations deemed intricate due to the nature of the conflict that might change according to borders of states. The UN should be applauded how it shows its achievement by initiating and facilitating successful peace talks and deployed 68 peacekeeping mission since its inception. In each case, the UN missions responsibilities included initiating an expeditious process of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration; encouraging political reconciliation; holding democratic elections; and overseeing the inauguration of a new national government. The UN has led its members to multilateral treaties more than 500 throughout for securing the world peace, human rights, rule of law, social and economic rights. It played a Significant role in disarming the world and making it nuclear free. Various treaty negotiations like Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty' and 'nuclear non-proliferation treaty' have been signed under UN. By way of those treaties, he UN would act as partial deterrents of emerging nuclear wars. The death of colonialism, imperialism and apartheid systems were encouraged by the UN through UN sanctions behind them. The UN acted as precursor for the protection of human rights of the people of the world, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948. Therefore, the UN has taken every measures through United Nations Human Right Commission (UNHRC) to protect, promote, and develop Human rights of the world. The UN setup war crimes tribunals for cases of war crimes in former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Hence, this world body was also instrumental in institutionalization of international laws and world legal framework. There are many conflicts resolved by The UN through peacekeeping missions proving success of the efforts in African continent. In Arabs- Israeli conflicts, the UN provided a forum to participants of the war to prepare a sustainable peace accord ended in peaceful solutions. It has successfully controlled the situation in Serbia, Yugoslavia and Balkan areas. There are some failures in The UN efforts observed by the world since its beginning in spite of its dedication to peace and security of the world. There are some sarcastic critics against The UN due to tits failure in various situations where the UN must act uprightly and effectively. In Fact, the Cold War itself was also a failure of the UN because the UN did not go against atrocities done by Stalin disregarding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Even though a number of nations tried to fight with USSR rulers those people were crushed with iron fist. Within the Cold War era, due to dichotomy between the countries of Warsaw pact and countries of NATO pact create a situation to oppose each other. Hence, the UN was unable to take crucial decision where it was necessary. Unilateral force was used by USA against Suez, Libya, Dominican Republic and Grenada as well as USSR against Afghanistan, Czechoslovakia and Hungary without the 8|Page

permission of The UN. The UN failed contain the situation within its limits. They were no proper and substantial solutions to control offensive behaviour of Israel in the region for beginning of the crisis and yet to receive peaceful solution for the long-run conflict between Israel and Palestine. The nuclear non-proliferation treaty was signed by 190 nations, including five nations that admitted to owning nuclear weapons: France, England, Russia, China, and the US in 1970 but many countries including India, Pakistan, and Israel developed nuclear weapon in spite of that treaty. Terrorism is a biggest problem of the world because there are no states who did not face terrorism. There were no productive measurements taken by the UN against terrorism except a statement of condemnations. After the 9/11, attack the UN took actions against only Taliban and Al Qaeda disregarding states aided terrorist groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and Mossad. Up to this point UN did not even have plan to cope with the problem and at least, a universally accepted definition. Thus, the UN has to go more and more to address the issue. We can found a lot of inactions and inertia at many instances when it need more deliberate actions to control situations. In the case of genocide in Rwanda, the UN did not pay its attention to early warnings. Approximately, one million Rwandans were killed in the genocide, amounting to twenty percent of the population. It took unnecessary period to deploy peacekeeping force and ineffective protection of the peacekeeping force were a gross blunder the UN had ever committed. Over the decades, there have been dozens of incidents where the organization has failed to act at all or act swiftly enough to prevent crises. A number of controversies such as the Child Sex Abuse controversy involving peacekeeping forces in Bosnia, Cambodia, Haiti, Kosovo, and Mozambique have cast doubts about the success of the organization. Even in Darfur of Sudan, The UN showed same typology of actions and they did not take proactive actions against Janjaweed militias group aided by the state but a statement of mere condemnation. After the outburst of militias attack on public, The UN urged to the African Union to intervene. In seven years, an estimated 300,000 Sudanese civilians were killed but UN failed to take any effective action to control the situation. Due to unprepared and ill-equipped peacekeeping force could not to control the situation in Serbia and left a Serbian massacre of about 7800 people. The worst blow to the UNs image in recent times was the Oil-for-Food scandal that broke in 2004. The UN Oil for Food program allowed Iraq to sell its oil to buy humanitarian supplies for its people. Instead of using the oil money to buy food and medicine for suffering Iraqis, Saddam Hussein skimmed billions from the program. UN officials were implicated in profiting from the theft as well. 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, mutual distrust has worsened, and now, UN seems to be clueless. Most of the time, veto power of permanent members of United Nations Security Council seems divided. One of permanent member would veto resolutions adopted by UNSC due to political agendum. Especially, within Cold war period the UN was paralysed due to the Tug of war among Security Council members. Recently, UNSC divided on the matter of Syrian crisis because Russia and China vetoed economic sanction against Syria leaving about 60,000 civilians killed. Situation of the Iraq and Afghanistan is worsening due to anarchy and The UN does not have a plan to restraint situation to bring specific solution. The absence of rule of order, human rights lead more chaotic situation; ultimate result would be a massacre or similar situation. Therefore, it is essential to have proactive actions rather than reactive actions. The negligence of the UN in atrocities such as


in Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam crisis were mistakes done by the UN as an organization dedicated to secure world and protect Human rights.

Role of the UN in Environmental Issues

The Necessity to protect the environment arose just after the period of industrialization because people started to comprehend that this unique eco system was vulnerable and some natural resources were unregenerate. In the wake of Second World War, people felt that there might be radiations due to nuclear weapons and peoples horrendous activities would jeopardize life and nature with not only short run effects but also long run effects. World came to know the effects of pesticide and weedicide which were used for agriculture sector. Ideologies for sustainable use of earth and its resources bred across the world. Under auspices of the UN, we should note some important waypoints in environmentalism. The UN initiated to convene, for the first time, the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, in Stockholm in 1972 according to decision taken in 1968. This conference was the blueprint of current environment manifesto comprising of twenty-six declarations on environment and development. This is widely recognized as the beginning of modern political and public awareness of global environmental problems. 113 representatives of member countries came together and discussed in relation to how to address the challenge of preserving and enhancing the human environment. Because of this conference, The Europe Union had influence of the conference on their environment policies as well as this conference lead to explore special environment threats such as global warming and its impact that led to Kyoto protocol. Stockholm Conference prepared an action plan for the first time. Based on its conclusions, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) was created, to become the worlds leading environmental agency in 1972 and has its headquarters in the Gigiri neighbourhood of Nairobi, Kenya. After this giant leap, the world expanded the environmental activists in line with economic and social development in environmental decisionmaking. UNEP has lead in formulating and developing environmental conventions, dissemination of information relating to environmental issues. This has a huge burden of taking proactive measures before things becomes irrevocable mistakes such as Greenhouse effect, Global warming and chemical pollutions. Continuous monitoring of environmental issue around the globe and assessing the impact of those issues are of main concern of UNEP. UNEP work with NGOs and governments in order to strengthening institution for wise management of environmental resources. Most notable institution affiliated with UNEP are The World Meteorological Organization, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol and the United Nations Development Group. The International Cyanide Management Code, a program of best practice for the chemicals use at gold mining operations, was developed under UNEPs aegis as well. The second waypoint was the Establishment of World Commission on Environment and Development in 1983. This was expected to revitalize the previous conference of Stockholm. The outcome of this event was the Our Common Future, also known as the Brundtland Report emphasising the multilateralism and interdependence of nations in the search for a sustainable development path. This report had special thrust to integrate development with the environment in the political context. Twenty-six years ago, the Brundtland report defined sustainable development as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (WCED 1987). In this report, the world was warned that global trends already underway climate change, desertification, forest degradation, water scarcity, 10 | P a g e

declining biodiversity, and increasing dependence on dirty and dangerous sources of energy. This reports really paved the way for convening of the 1992 Earth Summit and the adoption of Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration and to the establishment of the Commission on Sustainable Development. After a few years, the World Summit, UN Conference on Environment and Development, took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. In that conference, Members of UN adopted three principles; thus, corporate environmental responsibility, environmental stewardship strategy and engagement platforms climate change and water. In addition to that members basically contributed in the Rio Declaration enunciating 27 principles of environment and development, Agenda 21, and a Statement of principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests, which were all adopted by consensus (without vote) by the conference. A set of 27 legally non-binding principles (the Earth Charter) designed to commit governments to ensure environmental protection and responsible development and intended to be an Environmental Bill of Rights, defining the rights of people to development, and their responsibilities to safeguard the common environment.

Waypoints in world environmentalism


2012, 20 years after the Earth Summit, world leaders reconvened on 13-22 June in Rio de Janeiro for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), or Rio+20, to review progress since 1992. Rio+20 was the largest and most participatory UN conference ever. What they discussed were drafted in to document called The Future We Want that chalk out the next leap into the sustainable development and the environment in future. Most vital aspect of this agreement was to integrate Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in to Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In 11 | P a g e

this Rio + 20 conference, world leaders acknowledged the fact that sustainable development can only be achieved through a green economy. The outcome of Rio+20 signals a broad understanding that the systems and behaviour that led to the current state of the environment can and must be changed. In 1989, Montreal Protocol came in to force. In the last 20 years, through implementation of the Montreal Protocol, consumption of Ozone-depleting substances has been reduced by over 98 per cent. This most successful story The UN in environmental protection endeavour. Since most of these substances are potent greenhouse gases, a significant contribution has also been made to protecting the global climate system. Reductions achieved to date leave hydro chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) as the largest group of substances remaining to be phased out under the Protocol. Kyoto protocol is a protocol the agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adopted at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005. This protocol sets biding obligations to industrialized countries to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses. Its first commitment period started in 2008 and ended in 2012. Agreement on Kyoto Protocol: Signed Parties to reduce their overall emissions of six greenhouse gases (GHGs) by average 5 per cent below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012 (first commitment period).But, there were criticisms against this protocol because most industrialised countries such as USA and Canada even if they ratified, they did not comply with it. On the other hand, Canada, Japan and Russia stated that they would not take on further Kyoto targets in 2011. Milestones in progress on the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol

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Therefore, the UN cannot keep those highly industrialised countries on the real track. The viability of the protocol is an important factor that leads participant to comply with it. If the agreement were not viable, the agreement would be a mere policy document. Financial position, Political and social background most of the time restraint to comply with those agreements. In environmentalism, most of agreement, protocols are non-binding and therefore, some countries can act haphazardly and this would pave the way to Sound management of chemicals requires co-operation among countries, including sharing of information and experience, adoption of common chemicals control policies, and strengthening capacity. Chemicals are currently addressed in 18 multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). The Stockholm Convention on POPs, for example, regulates some of the chemicals that present the greatest risks to humans and wildlife. Other MEAs whose purpose is to reduce exposure to hazardous chemicals include the Basel Convention, the Rotterdam Convention, and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. A new legally binding treaty on mercury (Minamata Treaty) has just been agreed. Recent conferences on climate change, for example, were hosted in a circular movement covering four continents, from Berlin in 1995 to Geneva, Kyoto, Bonn, Buenos Aires, The Hague, Marrakech, New Delhi, Milan, Buenos Aires, Montreal, Bali, Poznan, Copenhagen, and in 2010 Cancun. However, the UN failed to generate a universal consensus to protect the deteriorating world climate, even at Copenhagen in 2009. The UN is facilitating member states to formulate their future direction towards sustainable development with economic, social and environmental objectives simultaneously. However, these objectives should be achieved through higher level of commitment and efforts. Those prerequisites (commitment and efforts) depend on the country and its social, cultural and financial positions. There is no criteria to measure those things against a standard level; this is a failure that the UN should rectify in order to evaluate current performance of a country. It is essential to move forward and double member countries efforts honestly to get the future we want.

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