Solutions to Violent Conflict

The Security Council Must Act!

In United Nations on November 16, 2015 at 3:29 pm

Peter Wallensteen

Peter Wallensteen is Richard G. Starmann Sr. Research Professor at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and Senior Professor in the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Sweden’s Uppsala University. His most recent research focuses on quality peace and regional organizations as well as the use of targeted sanctions.

After the Cold War the UN, and particularly the Security Council, finally took a central role in international affairs. During the Cold War the Council was excluded from conflicts that Cold War parties defined as their domain, exemplified in the lack of deliberations on the U.S. war on Vietnam or the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

The end of the Cold War changed this. The UN was activated. Where the superpowers earlier had intervened in favor of one side, the UN now came in with a balanced approach. Although it had limited resources, the UN acted with remarkable effectiveness. As the UN became more engaged, a number of ongoing conflicts—as reported by the Uppsala Conflict Data Program—declined.

The United Nations at 70

In United Nations on November 16, 2015 at 3:29 pm

United Nations Headquarters. Photo: United Nations Photos (Flickr)

Robert Johansen

Robert Johansen is Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Peace Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. He specializes in issues of international ethics and global governance, the United Nations, and peace and world order studies.

The United Nations’ 70th anniversary prompts us to reflect on the reasons for its creation and current utility. Arising from the devastation of World War II and a hard-headed appraisal of national interests, the UN Charter expressed the wisdom of the U.S.-led wartime alliance, known as the United Nations: “We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war. . ., [and] to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights. . ., do hereby establish . . . the United Nations.”

Why Setting Development Goals Works & the UN Should Do It

In United Nations on November 16, 2015 at 3:29 pm

Sara Sievers

Sara Sievers is Associate Dean of Policy and Practice at Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs and former Senior Director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute. She has extensive experience in advocacy, policy, and governance issues pertaining to development.

In 2000, the United Nations held the fifty-fifth session of its General Assembly, designated “the Millennium Assembly of the United Nations,” and convened a Millennium Summit. During that session the United Nations adopted, with limited attention and fanfare, a set of targets for the first 15 years of the new century to reduce extreme poverty and its consequences.

These Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as they became known, included such broad-ranging priorities as strengthening the rule of law, taking action against international drug trafficking, and promoting “peace, security, disarmament, and the rule of law”—all intended to meet the needs of people in developing countries and countries in transition.


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