According to UNICEF's own report (located at the very bottom of the linked page):
* Increasingly, wars are fought in precisely those countries that can least afford them. Of more than 150 major conflicts since the Second World War, 130 have been fought in the developing world. The per capita gross national product (GNP) of war-torn countries in 1994 included: Afghanistan (US$280), Angola ($700), Cambodia ($200), Georgia ($580), Liberia ($450), Mozambique ($80), Somalia ($120), Sri Lanka ($640), the Sudan ($480).
* Since the 1950s, more wars have started than have stopped. By the end of 1995, wars had been running in Afghanistan for 17 years, Angola, 30; Liberia, 6; Somalia, 7; Sri Lanka, 11; Sudan, 12.
* The global case-load of refugees and displaced persons is growing at alarming speed. The number of refugees from armed conflicts worldwide increased from 2.4 million in 1974 to more than 27.4 million today, the report notes, with another 30 million people displaced within their own countries. Children and women make up an estimated 80 per cent of displaced populations.
Here Is the Preamble to the United Nations Charter
* To save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and
* To reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and
* To establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
* To promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
Unfortunately with minor exceptions, the U.N. has completely failed this mission for almost 60 years. It's relevancy in the 21st century as it is now is questionable.
The above should give us pause for thought. It should give us pause for thought because what alternative is there? The "Might Is Right" cause is as arcane as one country being the leader of world peace. What government would accept that? I am making the assumption that no country on earth has the moral high ground, that the reliance on one government is inherently doomed for failure.
I am not suggesting that the United Nations hasn't achieved some success and I am not suggesting that the United Nations is trying to establish a "One World Government". What I am suggesting is that the United Nations should be either dissolved or reorganized into a modern, 21st century peace keeping body. It's time to start over. The United Nations is obsolete as it stands today. It has become an ineffective highly bureaucratic nightmare. It has a rare opportunity to reorganize into a viable and relevant organization for world peace. An opportunity it most likely will let go by.
The UN came into being at a time when the world was without an Internet and a global economy had yet to emerge. The immediacy that is common place today did not exist when the UN was founded. Much of the activities of the UN were not known to most of the world. This is why in the first 40 years sanctions by oppressive governments were largely ignored.
Although there has not been a world war since the founding of the UN there have been quite a number of wars since its founding. The first being the Korean war. The next war that size will not be fought like any other war ever has. The U.S. tried it in Iraq twice and though it won a conventional war there it quickly evolved into the war of the future: terrorism.
On the second mission statement; "...to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights..." this has not been affected by the UN in the least. Yes, the UN affirms human rights but abuse of human rights are as prevalent as ever. This is not because of lack of effort. However, the track record is less than spectacular. A good example was the "Food For Oil" scam perpetrated on the world.
The third point, "to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other source of international law can be maintained." which with exceptions, has also been a miserable failure. Most countries ignore this when convenient and embrace it when convenient. The result being a gigantic gap in credibility. In short, the UN in this regard is largely ignored.
The one area the UN has been somewhat successful is the promotion of social progress and better standards of life. The World Health Organization a UN sponsored effort has made great efforts in world health that otherwise would have been ignored.
One Way To Fix It
* Abolish the Security Council. Can anyone seriously suggest that the People's Republic of China, Ghana and the Republic of Congo adheres to the same principles of human rights as Belgium, Italy and United Kingdom do? In practice the People's Republic of Chine, Ghana and the Republic of Congo do not. Even though the principles of human rights should be universally attainable and understandable, most countries in the world couldn't care less about it. The result is that nothing meaningful gets accomplished in this area. Amnesty International does a better job.
* The UN has never accomplished its goal of abolishing war. It hasn't even come close. It should abandon this. Instead it should have an open forum available to all countries and with equal weight. Passing meaningless resolutions against Israel, China, Russia, most of Africa and the U.S. with political agendas attached, serve no purpose except to expose all the UN's weaknesses, faults and soft political underbelly.
Instead of focusing so much on the political aspects of the UN which should be given a back seat, pour the money into world education and health, something the UN does very well when well funded. Tying humanitarian actions to political sanctions only breeds spite and brutality from oppressive countries.
The UN was designed to prevent the occurrence of another global war. Making the United Nations a more viable organization, more non-political and more relevant for the 21st century is essential for its survival and relevance in a modern world. Otherwise it should be relegated to the bone yard where its present course is now headed.