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21st century challenges United Nations: Useful or self-serving entity?

After nearly 70 years, the United Nations continues to provide its 193 members a forum for debate as part of its mission to promote peace and human rights. But is the UN with the veto given to the permanent members of the Security Council fit to face 21st century challenges?

UN supporters point to the importance of the General Assembly and the UN’s independent agencies, which among other things safeguard health and education and human rights, promote environmental protection and provide humanitarian aid. Critics argue that the UN has badly managed international conflicts and is a bloated organisation, and say the UN Security Council is held hostage by its five permanent members.

But as a former UN secretary-general, Dag Hammarskjöld, once said: “The UN was not created to take mankind to heaven but to save it from hell.” Have expectations of what the UN can do been raised too high? Which side do you take in the UN debate, and why?

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