Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Role of United Nations in Social and Economic Development

International development

The UN is also involved in supporting development, e.g. by the formulation of the Millennium Development Goals. The UN Development Programme (UNDP) is the largest multilateral source of grant technical assistance in the world. Organizations—like the World Health Organization (WHO), UNAIDS, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria—are leading institutions in the battle against diseases around the world, especially in poor countries. The UN Population Fund is a major provider of reproductive services. It has helped reduce infant and maternal mortality in 100 countries. The UN also promotes human development through various related agencies. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), for example, are independent, specialized agencies, and observers within the UN framework, according to a 1947 agreement. They were initially formed as separate from the UN through the Bretton Woods Agreement in 1944.

Millennium Development Goals

The Millennium Development Goals are eight goals that all 192 United Nations members states have agreed to try to achieve by the year 2015. The United Nations Millennium Declaration, signed in September 2000, commits the states to: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and develop a global partnership for development.


In recent years there have been many calls for reform of the United Nations. But there is little clarity, let alone consensus, about how to reform it. Some want the UN to play a greater or more effective role in world affairs, others want its role reduced to humanitarian work. There have also been numerous calls for the UN Security Council’s membership to be increased to reflect the current geo-political state (that is, more members from Africa, South America and Asia). Renewed calls for reform came in 2004 and 2005, after allegations of mismanagement and corruption of the oil-for-Food Programmes for Iraq under Saddam Hussein.


The UN has been accused of bureaucratic inefficiency and waste. During the 1990s the United States, currently the largest contributor to the UN, gave this inefficiency as a reason for withholding their dues. The repayment of the dues was made conditional on a major reforms initiative. In 1994 the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) was established by a ruling of the General Assembly to serve as an efficiency watchdog. A reform program has been proposed, but has not yet approved by the General Assembly.


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