GS 2- International Relations: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate


     The United Nations completed 75 years. In order to commemorate the historic moment, world leaders come together, at a one-day high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly.Theme:‘’The Future We Want, the UN We Need: Reaffirming our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism”.



  • The League of Nations was created in June 1919, after World War I, as part of the Treaty of Versailles.
  • When the Second World War broke out in 1939, the League of Nations closed down and its headquarters in Geneva.
  • Remained empty throughout the war.
  • In August 1941, American president Franklin D. Roosevelt and British prime minister Winston Churchill held a secret meeting aboard naval ships in Canada.
  • Discussed creating a body for international peace effort and a range of issues related to the war.
  • They issued a statement that came to be called the Atlantic Charter.( paved the way for the creation of the United Nations(UN)).
  • Declared the realisation of certain common principles in the national policies of their respective countries 
  • They based their hopes for a better future for the world.
  • The United States joined the war in December 1941 and for the first time the term ‘United Nations’ was coined by president Roosevelt
    • to identify those countries allied against the axis powers.
  • The United Nations finally came into existence on October 24, 1945 
    • ratified by 51 nations
    • five permanent members (France, the Republic of China, the Soviet Union, the UK and the US)
    • 46 other signatories.
    • First meeting of the General Assembly took place on January 10, 1946.

Four main goals:

  • Maintaining international peace and security.
  • Developing friendly relations among nations.
  • Achieving international cooperation in solving international problems.
  • Center for harmonising the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.


  • At the time of its formation, the UN consisted of only 51 member states
  • Independence movements and de-colonisation in the subsequent years led to an expansion of its membership. 
  • At present, 193 countries are members of the UN.
  • Expanded its scope to resolve over a large number of global issues. 
    • health
    • environment
    • women empowerment
  • Passed a resolution to commit to the elimination of nuclear weapons in 1946.
  • In 1948, it created the World Health Organisation (WHO) to deal with communicable diseases
    • smallpox
    • malaria
    • HIV.
    • Corona Virus(At present)
  • In 1950, the UN created the High Commissioner for Refugees to take care of the millions ,displaced due to World War II.
  • In 1972, the UN environment programme was created.
  • In 2002, established the UN criminal court to try those who have committed 
    • war crimes
    • genocide
    • other atrocities.


  • In 1994, for instance, the organisation failed to stop the Rwandan genocide.
  • In 2005, UN peacekeeping missions were accused of sexual misconduct in the Republic of Congo,Cambodia and Haiti.
  • The UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan was unsuccessful in eliminating the bloodshed caused in the civil war in 2013.

Need for Refoms:

  • UN represents a larger world and has only 5 permanent members in its body.
  • Composition of the Security Council represents the post World War II realities and is not in pace with the changing balance of power in the world.
  • The regions like far East Asia, South America, Africa have no representation in the permanent membership of the council.

Way Forward

  • Power of veto is a major problem as the P5 members often influence the resolutions making those countries to suffer, which rather need a platform to grow.
  • Member states that have demonstrated credibility and capacity to shoulder the responsibilities of the principal UN organ should have a presence to ensure the legitimacy of the council.
  • Semi-permanent” seats if properly structured, could ensure legitimacy without preventing flexibility for a changing world.
  • At the time of the formation of UNSC, big powers were given privileges. This was necessary for its proper functioning.(to avoid the failure like that of the organization ‘League of Nations’.)
  • Rise of fora like G4 (India, Brazil, Germany, and Japan) as important economies and emerging world powers are pushing after quick UN Security Council reforms.


      At the time of its foundation, it was primarily tasked with the goal of maintaining world peace and saving future generations from the evils of war. The next 10 years,designated as delivery for sustainable development, will be the most critical of our generation. It is important as we build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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